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Sinéad O’Hart

Roll up! Roll up! The circus is in town; get your tickets and take a front row seat in the Big Top for an utterly captivating quest story that had me enraptured and enthralled from cover to cover. Hear the drum rolls crescendo, the thunderous applause from the audience and feel the adrenaline pulsing through your veins in heart-stopping scenes.

The story will have you oooing and aaahing and gasping like the audiences of the circus tent. Bursting at the seams with steam punk vibes, an eclectic cast of circus folk, death-defying acts, airships, a lost city and so many secrets…it is unputdownable!

Ringmaster and tyrant Cyrus Quinn’s circus has seen better days. Since the death in the ring of star performer Esther, who enchanted audiences with her perrilous ‘Dance of the Snowflakes’ ariel routine, crowds are dwindling.

But for Bastjan, the circus is home. After the tragic death of his mother, he has been raised by his circus family of acrobats, animal handlers and tumblers. He shares a caravan with Strong Man Crake who is like a father to him and the warmth and love of this relationship for me was an ongoing highlight of the story throughout. This huge beast of a man with an even bigger heart shows such tenderness and care for the young orphan and then runaway Alice when she joins the adventure.

But can Crake protect Bastjan from the evil ringmaster? Quinn is convinced Bastjan must have inherited some of his mother’s talent and forces him to take to the skies to perform a routine so dangerous, his life literally hangs on the bar of a trapeze. But Bastjan isn’t Esther and when he takes too long to draw in the crowds, Quinn becomes impatient. He makes a deal with a mysterious man by the name of. Dr Bauer

Bauer wants a box that belonged to Bastjan’s mother and came from her birthplace – the faraway land of Melita. Bastjan is desperate to keep the only momento of his mother and as the circus moves on from town to town, he discovers more about the strange objects contained within it…he realises it’s not only the circus that’s in terrible danger and he and Crake are forced to go on the run to pursue the villainous Cyrus Quinn.

Along the way, the pair meet Alice, an upper-class runaway with a distinctive scarlet firemark on her face. Alice joins them on their quest but Cyrus has his circus spies or ‘rousties’ everywhere. Can they rescue the box and preserve the secrets within?

O’Hart’s world-building is faultless; the characters are so effortlessly developed they leap off the page and as a reader I became so invested in their quest I read the book greedily in a matter of hours.

Skyborn is a thoroughly entertaining adventure with excitement, mystery and suspense st the turn of every page. It is a must read this summer.

Skyborn was published on the 10th June by Little Tiger books and I count myself very privileged to have been invited to read a copy in advance and be a part of the Blog Tour.

Please do check out the other fantastic stops on the tour for reviews, readings from the book and exclusive interviews.

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