It tells the story of Catherine Hunter, born into privilege, who to escape her regimented existence as the daughter of a government official in the land of Anglya, cuts her hair, disguises herself as a boy and becomes Cat, escaping her former life by stowing away on board the tyrium-powered skyship Stormdancer. She soon learns that what she has been told about the world beyond the borders of Angyla is a lie, and that she is the one who possesses the knowledge that could bring a crumbling and corrupt empire to its knees, if only she has the courage to initiate such dramatic change.
So far, so familiar, but the plot that develops - whilst being overwhelmed at times by the will-they-won't-they relationship of then two young leads** and lacking tension at others - is something unexpected, rich in world-building detail, politically complex, and full of twists and turns that will keep the reader gripped right up until the story's dark denouement.
The book's Steampunk influences are clear but, despite all the different interpretations of Steampunk that already exist in literature, they are given a new spin here by Saxon. And to have such a book as your first published piece of work is impressive indeed.
Thanks to those kind people at Bloomsbury Books, I have one copy of Take Back the Skies to give away. To be in with a chance of winning it, simply answer this simple question.
From where did Lucy Saxon take her pen name?
Simply email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your answer, your name and your address and you answer be put into the proverbial hat with all the other hopefuls. The draw will take place two weeks today, on Sunday 20 July 2014 at midday (BST).
Lucy Saxon signing at the London MCM Expo, May 2014.
* Many reviews make much of the fact that Lucy is 19, and was only 16 when she wrote the first draft of Take Back the Skies. I can only put this down to sour grapes. (My own first book, Spellbreaker, was published when I was 21.)
** But then this is a YA novel.