Take Back the Skies by Lucy Saxon Review: Blame the government for everything

June 20, 2014 by Jeann @ Happy Indulgence | 1 star, Books, Reviews

Take Back the Skies by Lucy Saxon Review: Blame the government for everythingTake Back the Skies by Lucy Saxon
Series: Take Back the Skies #1
Published by Bloomsbury Australia on June 5, 2014
Source: Publisher
Genres: Action & Adventure, Steampunk, Young Adult
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Catherine Hunter is the daughter of a senior government official on the island of Anglya. She’s one of the privileged – she has luxurious clothes, plenty to eat, and is protected from the Collections which have ravaged families throughout the land. But Catherine longs to escape the confines of her life, before her dad can marry her off to a government brat and trap her forever.

So Catherine becomes Cat, pretends to be a kid escaping the Collections, and stows away on the skyship Stormdancer. As they leave Anglya behind and brave the storms that fill the skies around the islands of Tellus, Cat’s world becomes more turbulent than she could ever have imagined, and dangerous secrets unravel her old life once and for all . . .

If you enjoy being told one very repetitive message throughout a book, only to have the heroine backflip and go against everything she believes in the last few pages, then go ahead and pick up this book.

For everyone else however, you have been warned.

Take Back the Skies has a very feminist message throughout, with the heroine Cat escaping from her oppressive father so she won’t need to sit around in dresses and be married off to someone who she doesn’t like. She pretends to be a boy so she can do what boys do – go out on adventures and help out on a ship. You will be told, over and over throughout the book that Cat is as capable as a boy is, and isn’t an incapable, weak minded and incompetent girl who likes cooking and shopping.

The main love interest is Fox, a handsome, guarded mentor who also happens to be sexist and chauvinistic, which comes out when he discovers that Cat is a girl. And proceed to treat Cat like a weak, useless girl who can’t handle things on her own, which she tries so hard to prove that she isn’t. With some weird turn of events, the two develop a budding romance together where their first kiss will be over the dead body of someone she should care about, but doesn’t one bit.

Last night I found out that not only are you a girl, but you’re a government girl. Excuse me for reacting badly to that information. – Fox 

The second love interest (I shouldn’t really call it that, because he’s a non event) is the arrogant lost Prince James, whose annoying nagging and jealousy over Cat and Fox will grind throughout the book. He will throw himself at Cat and tell him his thoughts about their relationship at every single scene he’s in.

Aside from the annoying characters, there’s also an ever-present threat throughout the book, the government. The government is blamed for everything from their miserable lives, to how women are treated, to taking their children away and fabricating a war between themselves. The government is so evil that they take people’s children away during the collections and mutilate children, in a messed up experiment to combine human with machine. With Cat’s dad as the government figurehead, he’s pretty much evil by association, even though we don’t find out why she hates him so much until later in the book.

You say enough to prove that you’re never going to trust me. I don’t know why I bother any more. I’m just as capable as you, girl or not. – Cat

What really threw me off however, was the middle grade style of writing throughout. The book is very focused on the adventure, as Cat and the crew break into top secret government facilities including a ship. The writing along with Cat’s feminist behaviour throughout the book kind of makes me think this book might be more for children, until you encounter the darker parts of the book with gore, blood and mutilation.

I have to really commend the author for writing this book while she was 16, which is an impressive feat for any author.


I really wanted to like this book but unfortunately, the annoying characters, the incessant government blame, the inconsistent writing and Cat’s repetitive message throughout was too much for me. Take Back the Skies is enjoyable if you like an action adventure, but be prepared to encounter an ending which will pretty much wipe out everything Cat’s character stood for, and deem the whole book as pointless.

Rating: 1.5 out of 5


Thank you to Bloomsbury Australia for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Jeann is an Aussie YA blogger and mum who loves to read and recommend books! You can usually find me fangirling about books on my various social media channels including Twitter @happyindulgence, Instagram and Youtube.

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54 responses to “Take Back the Skies by Lucy Saxon Review: Blame the government for everything

  1. oh wow, I haven't read a 5 star review for this book yet unfortunately. It's such a shame because I would really like to support the young author! Yeah, Cat doesn't return James's feelings but there's a bit of a twist which was rage worthy. No problems Megan, sorry for the late reply!

  2. Vivien

    Oh no! It's really disappointing to hear it didn't work for you. Although, I did end up feeling the exact same way. It was just rather young for my tastes.

  3. It did definitely feel more like a MG except for some of the darker stuff with the kids I think. Yeah, it was a really risky move for a young debut author I think. It doesn't make for a pleasant reading expeirence at all.

  4. I know what you mean, I wanted to read it soon before all of the negative reviews put me off even further. Blaming everything on the government just kept on popping up repeatedly which really grated.

  5. I know, I was really hoping it wouldn't come to that for me but now I can see why. It's great that she wrote a book at 16 and got it published, that is an excellent achievement and you can't take away from that though. But yeah, there were heaps of things that annoyed me about it.

  6. Yes, yes, yes to everything here! I also hated how everything fell so smoothly and easily for Cat. Convince a group of smugglers to help her jumpstart the revolution, despite telling her they've given up already and it's hard to do it? It's okay, just tell them a line or two of encouragement and they'll want to start the revolution soon after they land! It was ridiculous. Plus, that writing was just so amateur-ish for me… definitely felt writing-wise it was better for grade schoolers.
    Faye @ The Social Po recently posted…ARC Review: In The End by Demitria Lunetta – RANT ALERT!My Profile

  7. I have not seen good reviews of this book much and I kind of understand why more and more when I read reviews from you guys. This will not be for me. Kudos to the author for writing this at 16 but I am not a fan of blaming everything on one entity and a repetitiveness will just annoy the hell out of me. Also, this sounds like another HORRIBLE love triangle. Nope. Not for me. The cover is really pretty though.

    Awesome review Jeann!
    Amir recently posted…FacePalm Moment: I forgot our 1st Blogoversary (…but hey, #giveaway!)My Profile

  8. Yeah, this is not the first negative review I've read for this one, but it's cementing my opinion of not reading this one AT ALL!

    I don't like repetitive messages thrown to my face, I don't like big flip flop contradictions and overly simplified motivations by blaming the goverment? Not my thing, so not my thing!

    Thanks for the very honest review, Jeann!
    Pili recently posted…Showcase Sunday #38!My Profile

  9. GAH. I'm supposed to read this, and I just don't want to. I don't like repetitive messages, and I especially don't like them when they're arbitrarily contradicted. Also not a big fan of MG writing, or blaming every, single friggin' thing on the gov't. I don't wanna. You think I could get away with telling NG, "you can't make me"?
    Jessica @ Rabid Read recently posted…Review: Chasers of the Wind by Alexey PehovMy Profile

  10. I completely agree with your entire review. I absolutely hated the ending of the book with a PASSION! And the Prince hardly even noticed her until his mother said that she had hoped that those two would get married before everything happened, then BAM, it's like love…… Just no. I definitely think that they should have marketed this book for like a mature middle grade (if that makes sense). Plus, I hated how easy everything was, it was really really annoying. I think I could go on and on about everything wrong with this book. But I did like the whole world that it was set it. Are you going to be reading the next books in the series? They are set in the other countries, so hopefully better characters, plot etc.
    Gina @ Behind the Pa recently posted…Stacking the Shelves (15)My Profile

  11. *sigh* I'm sorry this one wasn't for you Jeann! I have heard a few things about this one in the blogsphere and they haven't been all that positive! Hopefully your next read is more enjoyable!

    Lily recently posted…Through To You: ReviewMy Profile

  12. Brilliant review! I am so happy I decided not to get a review copy of this one now, it sounds awful. This is the 3rd or 4th review for this book that I have seen, and none have praised the book at all. I know the author was 16 when she wrote it, which is impressive, but it doesn't sound like a book I am going to enjoy very much. I don't think I could stand the second love interest, I feel he would really bug me as a character. Thanks for the warning, I definitely won't be picking this up any time soon.
    Reviews from a Bookw recently posted…My Weekly Book Haul: The Unstacking Edition 20/06/2014My Profile

  13. Annnnnd another blogger this book did not impress. I had such high hopes for this book, but Cat honestly ruined the whole thing. She was so juvenile, and it definitely read more like a MG than a YA. I think it would have resonated a lot better if it was marketed as a MG. So much potential, but that ending. I applaud Lucy Saxon for her bravery but it makes Cat do a 180. Just, ugh.
    Joy @ Thoughts By J recently posted…Book Review: Dead Ends by Erin LangeMy Profile

  14. Eh, I saw a five-star review for this book just the other day and was starting to feel super excited for it, but now… not so much. :/ The narration sounds uber annoying. Okay, I get that the author may be trying to convey the message that girls are equal to boys and blah blah blah and while I appreciate that, this repetition is something that will probably grate on my nerves, a lot.

    And noooo — is that a love triangle I sense?! Maybe not love triangle, since I was told that Cat doesn't return James' feelings, but the romance still sounds like shit, especially with Fox as the love interest. I really hope Cat didn't do a 360 personality change into a weak, helpless girl once she fell in love with Fox — happens a lot these days. Girl goes from kickass to guys-are-my-life-support. -__-

    Even though this sounded really interesting when I first read the blurb, I doubt I'll give this a go. Sounds like it'll give me a freaking migraine with the irritating characters and the repetitiveness. Thanks for warning be away from this one, and fab review! 🙂
    Megan (Adrift on Vul recently posted…For Once, the Romance Wasn’t Bad: These Broken Stars, Meagan Spooner & Amie KaufmanMy Profile

  15. This sounded like it tried so hard to be a dystopian ya book that can be comparable to The Hunger Games but it failed. So much. Too bad the blurb sounded good and it looked promising. But after reading your review and seeing Faye almost dropped this book, I am staying away far away from this one. Thanks Jeann for the warning.
    Ella recently posted…Review: Perfect Kind Of Trouble by Chelsea FineMy Profile

  16. This book sounded like it had potential and it sucks that it didn't live up to the expectation. I didn't request because it didn't sound like my cup of tea and I'm sort of glad I didn't. Woah I didn't realise the author was 16 so she does get a round of applause. It shows you can be any age to write a novel which I find inspirational. Great review but I don't think I'll be reading this book anytime soon.
    Francoise recently posted…{Movie Review} The Fault in Our StarsMy Profile

    • Yeah I really wanted to like it because she was 16 and had gotten a published book, but sadly there were many things that turned me off it throughout. It is kind of inspirational isn't it?

  17. Oh no, I was really hoping to enjoy this one. It reminds me a bit of These Broken Stars and Throne of Glass mixed in. It's almost as if the characters and plot line were to much to bare. So I can see the annoying-ness of the book alongside the feminist angle, which I have nothing against! Lovely honest review though, Jeann! 🙂
    Emma @ Never Judge a recently posted…ARC REVIEW – ON THE FENCE by Kasie WestMy Profile

    • There were a lot of intriguing elements actually but I think the author needed to polish the book up a bit. The feminist angle was fine, but just getting into a romance with THAT guy was just going against it. Thank you EmmA!

  18. Not really a fan of repetitive everything =/ "The main love interest is Fox, a handsome, guarded mentor" sounded great until I read the rest of the paragraph >.< Ugh, a love triangle? Please no. I'm so sorry this wasn't a good experience for you, lovely! Here's to hoping the next book you read will be!
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