Source: Running Press
Paperback, 304 pages
On Amazon and on Kobo
Blackfin Sky by Kat Ellis is a roller coaster ride at the circus, complete with big top, illusions, and creepy mute-like clown/mime. In a town named for the whales off the coast of an eccentric town where everyone is just a little bit odd. Skylar Rousseau tells her story in the first person and as she unravels the mystery of her three-month disappearance, readers will be pulled into the underworld of a circus that thrived 16 years earlier. Ellis’ novel is atmospheric, creepy, and foreboding, as Sky reconnects with the friends who thought she had died while she thought she went on with her normal daily routines of going to school, studying for tests, and hanging out with her friends in a town where a weathervane is haunted.
“Sky shook her head. Madame Curio was well known in Blackfin, even though she was avoided by most.
‘How did you even get in there?’ The woods had been secured against intruders for as long as Sky could remember, the talk of roaming wolves and lightning trees that electrocuted passing children not being enough to keep out idle teenagers.” (page 70 ARC)
Skylar sets on a path to uncover what actually happened to her and where she went for three months with the help of Sean, her friend that she wants to be more. Along the way she uncovers secrets in Blood House, the family home, as it opens attic doors and pushes her in the right direction, learns things about her family and her mother that upend her world, and gets even closer to the truth through a series of unimaginable journeys. Ellis’ ability to create a believable world in which the circus becomes a prison and gifted people are anxious to leave but unable to do so is fantastic for a debut novelist. Beyond the darkness, however, Ellis sprinkles in the humor, making it easy for the reader to relate to these characters because they are not overly serious and the novel is not too dark.
“Sky joined him as he leaned against the back of the Jeep, looking out over the twisted townscape of Blackfin. The houses looked like precariously stacked playing cards, balancing against the hillside while they waited for a gust of wind to carry them off into the sea. From this height, Sky saw the thirteen black dots of the cemetery cats lazing on top of the tombstones lower down the mountain slope. Further still, the school teetered at the seafront, with Silas’s iron form spinning crazily on the roof.” (page 150 ARC)
Ellis balances characterization, atmosphere, and mystery well and Blackfin comes to life with all of its quirky characters. She bends the light to reveal new dimensions and hues of the town, its residents, and its history, while maintaining readers’ interest and passion to find out how it all ends. From the mundane routines of going to school and hanging out with friends to the traveling to the circus for answers, Sky must find the strength within herself to accept her new reality and find a way to save herself and everyone she loves. Blackfin Sky by Kat Ellis is light refracted, speeding up and slowing down, as Sky uncovers her own truth.
About the Author:
Kat Ellis is a young adult writer from North Wales. Her debut novel, BLACKFIN SKY, is out now in the UK (Firefly Press) and the US (Running Press Teen).
59th book for 2014 New Author Reading Challenge.