Monday, January 22, 2007
Fly by Night
Hardinge, Frances. 2006. FLY BY NIGHT. New York: HarperCollins. ISBN 0060876271 [Suggested Grade Levels 5-9]
Kept locked up in an old mill by her cruel uncle, twelve-year old Mosca Mye doesn’t have very much to call her own—only her pet goose Saracen who bites anyone in his path, her love of words, and her ability to read. When she sets fire to the mill and rescues con man Eponymous Clent, she sets out on a grand adventure. The two of them tangle with men out to tar and feather Eponymous, discover secret societies, follow shady characters, hide on floating coffee houses, meet deranged dukes and scheming duchesses, and double cross double-crossers. In doing so they endanger their lives and the lives of those around them as they try to save the country from the war over vying religious beliefs in a world where books are banned.
The novel, rich in characters, humor, dialogue, and plot twists, is not an easy read with its complex politics, history, and religion. Mosca—and Hardinge—are fascinated by words, wonderful words, and this shows in the richness of the language. Loosely based on England at the beginning of the eighteenth century, the story is a great “What do I read next?” for lovers of the writing of Cornelia Funke and Phillip Pullman.
This would be an excellent book to use to introduce Banned Books Week and a discussion of what would it be like if no one was allowed to read books.
Other fantasy novels dealing with books and learning:
Funke, Cornelia. INKHEART. ISBN 0439531640
Funke, Cornelia. INKSPELL. ISBN 0439554004
Pullman, Philip. HIS DARK MATERIALS TRILOGY—THE GOLDEN COMPASS, THE SUBTLE KNIFE, THE AMBER SPYGLASS. ISBN 0439994799
By Janet Hilbun