Daughter of the country’s Governor, spirited teenager Cat hates the stifling privileges of her upper-class life. Prompted by her mother, who knows how wicked Cat’s father really is, she runs away and sneaks aboard a skyship bound for foreign lands. It’s not long before she’s found by a handsome boy called Fox, and she in turn discovers she’s stowed away with good-hearted smugglers. But what she really uncovers is a hidden truth – that her homeland is not at war with other countries, as the elitist government is telling its starving, rationed commoners. Which makes Cat wonder: what then is happening to the children being rounded up from commoners to supposedly fight in this fictional war? Cat convinces her new friends to find and free the children – and kickstart a revolution in the process.
While the book features an interesting steampunk world peppered with imaginative ideas, the plot itself moves in fits and starts, with too sudden romances and rebellion, and repetitious sequences that don’t fulfil the potential of the intriguing premise. The author, who wrote this book at 16 years old, is clearly one to watch as her writing develops and strengthens, but maybe wait until a couple more books down the line.