It’s quite remarkable that I have had so few steampunk platters dropped off into my pantry. For such a diverse and popular style of cooking, I certainly expected to be overwhelmed with them when I first began this quest for fine literature! You must be able to imagine my delight to find this shiny, brass serving tray come up in line as my next treat to dissect. However, I’ve been betrayed before by genres I adore! Will this meal end in triumph or tragedy?
Before I answer that burning question, let us remember the Starving Review creed:
- I attempt to rate every book from the perspective of a fan of the genre
- I attempt to make every review as spoiler-free as possible
My favorite type of meal is one that entrances me so much with its flavor that it becomes effortless to slide through, no matter the complexity or intensity of the written word. It is the high mark that all literary cuisine should aspire to and Flight reaches those lofty altitudes. It’s hopeful, bright, optimistic, while never turning a blind eye to the thematic reality of dark things in the imaginative world the chef constructs for us.
The plot itself represents a prime example of what can be achieved through using a different blend of spices for your antagonists and conflict than the traditional choice. Though there are some ‘traditional’ antagonists, the primary thrust of Flight is the development and coming-of-age of the protagonist, In essence, this is very much like the classic origin story for our protagonist, constructing her and the world she lives in through an intriguing full-course meal. It gives time for the flavors to mix and permeate the pages, while not committing the grave sin of not having its own complete story to tell.
I mentioned the brightness of this meal, something that appeals quite a bit to me, and that feeling is expressed primarily through the quirky humor that is never far from the surface. It never overwhelms or distracts from the main plot, but it never failed to bring a smile, a chuckle, and, in one case, outright peals of laughter. The good kind of laughter: laughing with the book, not at it. It was a delightful meal and I feel better for having partook of it.
A last mention of world-building is in order here, mainly as it is quite skillfully handled. Creating a new world is hard and getting it across to a reader without boring them silly is even harder. Here again, the chef takes advantage of the scope of this origin tale to introduce the world through the travels of our young, inexperienced protagonist. It allows the world-building to fit properly in the pace of the novel, while also providing a proper device for that work to be done logically.
In summation, The Flight to Brassbright is a delightful steampunk repast introducing a finely crafted new world and characters! Any fan of steampunk or Victorian fiction should pick this up immediately, as well as something to give to any voracious YA reader. It spoke directly to the young man still residing in my heart. The only people I wouldn’t recommend this to is for those looking strictly for ‘serious’ or ‘dark’ tales, as this is certainly not dark in that sense of the word!
FINAL VERDICT: ***** (A delightful YA steampunk repast introducing a finely crafted new world and characters!)