Friday, March 7, 2014

Emilie and the Sky World (Emilie #2) by Martha Wells - Ashley's Review

*I received this book as an eARC from Strange Chemistry/Angry Robot on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

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Title: Emilie and the Sky World (Emilie #2)
Author: Martha Wells
Publication Date: March 4, 2014

My Emilie and the Sky World Pre-Reading
My Emilie and the Hollow World Review
My Emilie and the Hollow World Pre-Reading

A Girl’s Own Adventure in the spirit of Jules Verne

When Emilie and Daniel arrive in Silk Harbor, Professor Abindon, an old colleague of the Marlendes, warns them that she’s observed something strange and potentially deadly in the sky, a disruption in an upper air aether current. But as the Marlendes investigate further, they realize it’s a ship from another aetheric plane. It may be just a friendly explorer, or something far more sinister, but they will have to take an airship into the dangerous air currents to find out. 

Emilie joins the expedition and finds herself deep in personal entanglements, with an angry uncle, an interfering brother, and an estranged mother to worry about as well as a lost family of explorers, the strange landscapes of the upper air, and the deadly menace that inhabits the sky world.


Review: I thought that Emilie's adventures in the Hollow World were exciting and terrifying and fun and that it would be a little bit of a challenge to live up to them. But Emilie and the Sky World took all that and made it even better! Don't get me wrong - I loved the Hollow World and the Cirathi, but I really loved reading about the Sky World and learning about new creatures and a new world and the aether. 

The Sky World is actually pretty terrifying. Things are constantly changing, and you never know what's going to happen. There are humans and plant creatures and a mysterious thing that might be out to destroy whatever it meets... And Emilie and her friends are always finding themselves in some sort of trouble. I mean, Daniel starts off nursing an injury from Emilie and the Hollow World, so he wouldn't be very helpful in a fight anyway.  The crew has to be smaller since they're traveling skyward, so there's not any room to bring additional people to act solely as guards. And once again, it's up to Emilie to save the day and her friends.

I really admired Emilie, and I'm glad that she still had some room to grow after her experiences in the Hollow World. Since this book takes place shortly after the Marlendes and their crew return from the Hollow World, Emilie has barely had any time to adjust to being Miss Marlende's assistant She's still dealing with Daniel being shot, almost being killed, seeing some of her friends killed, and with everything that Lord Iver did. Even though she grew up and had to be brave and sly and witty in the first book, she has to come to an understanding with her younger brother. I really enjoyed the sibling relationships in this book, and I wish there had been even more in the first book. 

My favorite thing about this book was how it read very much like a Jules Verne novel, only more modern and more fantastical. In Emilie's world, there's magic and aether currents, airships and mysterious lands, and all sorts of things that I almost wish our world had. Her adventures and the characters are very much in the vein of Verne though, and I think that fans of his books would really like this duology. It also reads quite a bit easier than a Verne novel, since the language is more updated and more tailored to today's YA crowd.

Although this is a YA novel, Martha shows more things than she tells and doesn't shy away from science. I feel like there's a really heavy steampunk influence to these books intermixed with the fantasy, and I never felt like anything was "dumbed down." None of the science or the magic is complicated, per se, but Martha makes the reader feel like they're in on all of it and know exactly what she's trying to get across. I think that seeing things from Emilie's perspective really helps that, since Emilie's knowledge of the aether and the spells is pretty much on par with ours.

I don't want to ramble about this book too much, but I definitely think it's worth the read! If you enjoyed Emilie and the Hollow World, I would definitely recommend this sequel. It's everything the first book was and so much more! I would also recommend this book to anyone looking for a Jules Verne-type novel, or a fantasy with some sci-fi thrown in. Also, to anyone who wants a magical steampunk adventure. 4/5! 


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