Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Review: Kaimira The Sky Village by Monk and Nigel Ashland

The Sky Village is the soaring debut to Monk and Nigel Ashland’s new young adult series, Kaimira. The Ashlands take the reader to a futuristic world where humans, animals and intelligent machines called meks have been fighting for decades.

In China, twelve-year-old Mei Long’s mother has been kidnapped by meks. Her father sends her to live in the Sky Village, an intricate web of hot air balloons that flies high above the earth, while he remains on land to search for his wife. He entrusts Mei with the care of the Tree Book. Mei’s mother would read to her from the Tree Book each evening, telling her fantastic tales of children with names like Breaker and Lizard Girl. Her father warns her not to open the book, but Mei, desperate for a way to find her mother, disobeys him. She soon discovers that the Tree Book is no ordinary book. The children from the stories are real, and Mei’s book allows her to communicate with Breaker, a teenage boy whose real name is Rom. Rom knows Mei as Dragonfly from his own parents’ stories.

Rom lives in the ruins of Las Vegas, where the beasts roam freely and humans have been forced into hiding. Rom’s younger sister, Riley, has been kidnapped by beast-mek hybrids known as demons. Rom enters the seedy Las Vegas underground where he is forced to learn the art of demonsmithing to save his sister. Rom’s father was a master demonsmith, and Rom shares his father’s natural abilities. The demonsmiths conjure beast-mek hybrids for elaborate fights to entertain gamblers in the underground.

Mei and Rom discover that they share the mysterious kaimira gene – a gene that mixes beast and mek elements with their human DNA. The gene gives both of them power that they don’t fully understand and must struggle to control. Will this power enable them to save their loved ones? What might it cost them in the process?

I loved the imagery of the Sky Village. The colorful hot air balloons seemed so full of life that they made the contrast with the barren Las Vegas even more apparent. At first I was much more drawn to Mei’s story, but over the course of the book I really connected with Rom. His devotion to his sister and his determination to do anything to save her was very touching.

I did feel that the book lagged in some parts, while it seemed rushed in others. There is a lot going on in this book, and some elements aren’t explained as fully as they could be, which may be confusing to younger readers.

The Sky Village is a solid introduction to the series, and I am definitely going to pick up the next installment. I hope that we’ll get to meet some of the other characters mentioned in the Tree Book (particularly Lizard Girl) during the next four books in the series.

Rating: 7/10.

Buy The Sky Village:
Indiebound | Powell's | Amazon

5 comments:

  1. Beasts roaming las vegas? Sounds a bit twelve monkeys.

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  2. I haven't seen Twelve Monkeys, but after reading the plot synopsis on IMDB, there are some similarities there. Now I'm off to add the movie to my Blockbuster queue. ;)

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  3. I'm fascinated by the village of hot air balloons!

    This sounds like one I could read w/ my daughter.

    Thanks for the review.

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  4. The Tree Book sounds intriguing!

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  5. I wanted this so badly on Library Thing Early Reviewers! I did get another book, but this would have been my first pick ;-)

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