While my little helper Hayley’s personal library isn’t quite a one-man show (and we will be posting on books by more writers soon), it’s fair to say that the work of Aussie author Anh Do does dominate. Hayley’s already talked a couple of times here about her love for the Wolf Girl series, and there’s plenty more where that came from, with the prolific Do having come up with a number of different worlds for young readers. We actually bought the first book in a new series for our little bookworm for Christmas, so when the second part came out recently, she was very excited to see a copy drop through our letterbox, courtesy of Allen & Unwin – and here she is to tell you all about it 🙂
What’s the name of the book, and who is it by?
The book is called Skydragon 2: Fly Free, and it’s written by Anh Do and illustrated by James Hart.
What’s it about?
It’s about a girl called Amber who can control insects, and people from the government are trying to get her.
Did you like it? Why (not)?
Yes, because there was lots of action, and (of course) insects! I also liked the fighting scenes 🙂
What was your favourite part?
My favourite part was probably when Amber had a sore foot, so she stayed in the forest and then tried to call all the insects to help her.
Was it difficult to read?
Not really, because there usually aren’t so many words on each page, and there are lots of pictures to help.
Would you recommend this book to other boys and girls? Why (not)?
Yes, especially if they love action, insects and drama!
Hayley, thank you very much 🙂
As you’ll find out when Hayley and I look at some other series, Do does like to write about young people with special powers, and Skydragon is another example of this genre. The first book, Take to the Skies, sets the scene as young Amber’s life is destroyed when a meteorite crashes into her house, killing her parents and putting her brother into a coma. Scarred and regarded as an outcast, Amber does her best to make her way through the days until she suddenly realises the new powers she’s developed since the incident, namely the ability to communicate with, and control, insects.
However, Amber’s not the only one to have developed new powers as a result of the meteorite, and it comes as little surprise when we learn that her brother Reggie is now awake, and wielding powers of his own. After the encounter with Firefighter, as he’s known, at the end of the first book, the second part sees our Skydragon on the run, with the truth about Firefighter’s identity starting to emerge. Alas, as it turns out, there are even more people with powers out there, and Amber’s insects won’t be able to save her every time…
Skydragon is a classic tale of superheroes and shadowy government organisations, and the villains of the piece aren’t really the ones using their powers, but those manipulating them from a distance. These people are led by Agent Ferris from the National Service, and if Firefighter initially believes that he’s helping society with his missions, he soon realises his mistake:
“So trust us,” said Ferris. “Trust me. Nothing is simple in running a government, or protecting one.” He walked around his desk. “I’ve spent my career making these sorts of decisions so that people like you don’t need to. You’re a powerful asset, Reggie. We’re not going to waste your talents.”
p.48 (Allen & Unwin, 2021)
Hmm. There’s nothing dangerous about the pensioner whose house the agents storm (in a nice touch, they’re after a hacker called E-Boy – who happens to be the hero of another Do series…), and the lack of care shown when controlling protesters at a rally finally shocks the confused Reggie into action.
Where Take to the Skies has a measured approach, slowly introducing Amber and her powers before climaxing in a superhero showdown, Fly Free is packed full of action from the start. Both Skydragon and Firefighter are in full control of their powers now, and they’ll have plenty of opportunities to use them, both on each other and against the agents of the National Service. You have to wonder, though, how long it’ll take Reggie to catch on that the teenager riding the skies on a dragon-shaped locust swarm is actually the little sister he was told perished in a house fire…
But, as you may have guessed, that’s a story for another day, and one Hayley’s already looking forward to. Skydragon is another wonderful series for young readers, and probably a step up from the Wolf Girl books in terms of both length and complexity, although Hart’s excellent sketches on most pages will help younger readers. I suspect there are a few twists and turns to come when the story continues – there’s a sense that the National Service’s true intentions have yet to be revealed, and that the conspiracy might be far greater than it seems. However it all turns out, rest assured that Hayley’s on the case, and we’ll be back to let you know all about it once part three arrives 🙂