Sunday, May 8, 2016

New Review! Flying Away by Caroline A Gill, 3.5 - 4 Cranky Stars


When Iolani Bearse was five years old, she lost her father to war. When she was nine, her mother died in a freak car accident. When Lani was fourteen, eerie green lights invaded, tearing her from the only home she had left. 

Living as a runaway, dragging a horse and her cousin Eleanor across the countryside, Lani must learn to survive. Now Lani is the only person between the horrible, greedy lights and the last bit of family she has left. Her own heart is barely beating, but powerful memories pull her to Malcolm St. John. She fights what she feels, buried deep within her shattered soul. 

Malcolm St. John always held his feelings in, especially about Iolani. So when she shows up on his doorstep, desperate and determined, Mal must decide if the wild tales she spins are the fragments of insanity or the last hope for a dying nation. This Lani is different from the child he knew. Something is coming for her, for him, and will not be stopped 

If the cousins and Malcolm can’t escape the grasping hunters who hound them, the future of a broken America will be destroyed. Everything Lani has ever loved will burn with them. Somehow, she must find a path through friendship and loyalty to save them all.



I described this book to someone as wonderfully strange and I say that in the best possible way.

Flying Away is more magical realism than paranormal. At times, it’s abstract and written in an almost poetic way.

The story centers on Iolani “Lani” Bearse – a fourteen year old orphan who lives with her grandparents in a rural area. She lost her father to war and her mother to a car accident. One night she wakes to discover her cousin, Eleanor, heading to the Lake. Lani follows and what unfolds is horror, setting off a chain of events.

In a fight to save her family, what is revealed to Lani is magic and also, conspiracy. I particularly enjoyed the symbolism of ‘who’ the corrupters were, especially in a world where economics often rationalizes the lack of humanity and advances the idea that everything can be bought.

As someone from the Antipodes, I have to say I struggled with the ‘magic bringers’. Full confession: I, too, have unwittingly swallowed a ‘magic bringer’. It did not, however, bring me any magical powers but, instead, a feeling of grossness.

I thoroughly enjoyed this story and cannot wait to read the sequel. I found Lani a heroic, smart, and caring female lead character. Malcolm was also a wonderful secondary character and even though this is a young, clean read – I’m a shipper.

One of the reasons why I’ve rated this book 3.5 to 4 is because there are parts where this book lagged and parts could have been condensed to move the story along.

Conversely, there is a lot going on it. I felt the main plot often got subordinated by the subplots and there was a “then this happened” aspect to the narrative.

The closer we got to action and danger, the author and by extension, her characters, were at their strongest. I found this story utterly compelling and highly recommend it for lovers of YA and magical realism.

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