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Rebel Skies

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Teen fantasy adventure set in a world of flying ships and sky cities, where chosen ones have the ability to bring paper to life and work as Crafters - people who hunt wild paper spirits called shikigami. Inspired by Asian culture and exploring themes of empire, slavery and freedom. Kurara has never known any other life than being a servant on board the Midori, but when her Teen fantasy adventure set in a world of flying ships and sky cities, where chosen ones have the ability to bring paper to life and work as Crafters - people who hunt wild paper spirits called shikigami. Inspired by Asian culture and exploring themes of empire, slavery and freedom. Kurara has never known any other life than being a servant on board the Midori, but when her party trick of making paper come to life turns out to be a power treasured across the empire, she joins a skyship and its motley crew to become a Crafter. Taught by the gruff but wise Himura, Kurara learns to hunt shikigami - wild paper spirits who are sought after by the Princess. But are these creatures just powerful slaves for the Crafters and the empire, or are they beings with their own souls - and yet another thing to be subjugated by the powerful Emperor and his Princess?


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Teen fantasy adventure set in a world of flying ships and sky cities, where chosen ones have the ability to bring paper to life and work as Crafters - people who hunt wild paper spirits called shikigami. Inspired by Asian culture and exploring themes of empire, slavery and freedom. Kurara has never known any other life than being a servant on board the Midori, but when her Teen fantasy adventure set in a world of flying ships and sky cities, where chosen ones have the ability to bring paper to life and work as Crafters - people who hunt wild paper spirits called shikigami. Inspired by Asian culture and exploring themes of empire, slavery and freedom. Kurara has never known any other life than being a servant on board the Midori, but when her party trick of making paper come to life turns out to be a power treasured across the empire, she joins a skyship and its motley crew to become a Crafter. Taught by the gruff but wise Himura, Kurara learns to hunt shikigami - wild paper spirits who are sought after by the Princess. But are these creatures just powerful slaves for the Crafters and the empire, or are they beings with their own souls - and yet another thing to be subjugated by the powerful Emperor and his Princess?

30 review for Rebel Skies

  1. 4 out of 5

    RoshReviews

    In a Nutshell: Outstanding magic, superb world-building, flat character building, abrupt cliffhanger end. Story: Kurara, a servant on board the Midori, doesn’t remember much of her life prior to her life on this flying ship. When she is spotted turning paper in magical creatures, Himura, a skilled Crafter, takes her under his wing to train her for hunting shikigami – magical paper spirits who are sought after by the Princess Tsukimi. However, things aren’t as they appear and soon Kurara finds hers In a Nutshell: Outstanding magic, superb world-building, flat character building, abrupt cliffhanger end. Story: Kurara, a servant on board the Midori, doesn’t remember much of her life prior to her life on this flying ship. When she is spotted turning paper in magical creatures, Himura, a skilled Crafter, takes her under his wing to train her for hunting shikigami – magical paper spirits who are sought after by the Princess Tsukimi. However, things aren’t as they appear and soon Kurara finds herself questioning everything around her – the people, the shikigami, and even herself. This is the first book in a planned trilogy. Where the book worked for me: 😍 The book falls under what is called ‘silkpunk” – an SFF blend genre with elements of East-Asian mythology – and it does perfect justice to its genre. Japanese words and components of their folklore add authenticity and depth to the plot. There is a glossary at the end to help with the terms. 😍 The author’s Goodreads bio says that she loves worldbuilding more than anything. This is very apparent in the book. Flying ships, sky cities, paper magic - every element feels wonderfully fantastical, as if we have entered a whole other realm. This would work well as a Studio Ghibli movie. 😍 Separate point dedicated to paper magic! We all have heard of Origami but to take that simple concept of paper folding and create an entire plot revolving around paper magic is just awesome. I loved every mystical element in the story. (See the outstanding cover art for a glimpse of paper magic!) Where the book could have worked better for me: ☹ The characters somehow don’t end up making a place in your heart. Most of them feel quite flat. The secondary characters are sorely underutilised. (Maybe because they are in reserve for the two planned sequels.) There are also too many characters but not enough of a back story. ☹ There is no closure at all. In multi-book series, there is always at least one story track closed well even if there is a cliffhanger ending. But this book creates multiple story arcs and closes none. ☹ The writing style felt, for the lack of a better word, clunky. The words don’t flow smoothly and my attention kept wandering away because of the wordiness and bland characters. This is still a pretty good debut, and with more experience, the above problems will be ironed out. This isn’t a typical “chosen one” kind of story, but it looks like that is the direction the sequels will take. Time will reveal more about this. Meanwhile, this is supposed to be a teen fantasy adventure so I recommend it only for its target age group (13-18 years). 3.25 stars from me. My thanks to Walker Books and NetGalley for the DRC of “Rebel Skies”. This review is voluntary and contains my honest opinion about the book. *********************** Join me on the Facebook group, Readers Forever! , for more reviews, book-related discussions and fun.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Ellie

    the world-building and magic system in Rebel Skies is just *chefs kiss* perfect Ghibli vibes and I am enchanted also I very much need answers about the shikigami

  3. 4 out of 5

    Natasha Ngan

    A magical debut that reads like a Ghibli film, brimming with imagination, action and heart. Kurara is just the kind of bright, determined heroine that has you rooting for her from page one, and I loved following her as she grew in strength whilst learning to wield her powerful paper magic in the face of terrifying origami creatures, cumulous whales, burning sky-cities and treacherous secrets that threaten to tear apart life as she knows it. It’s been a long time since I’ve been so immersed in a A magical debut that reads like a Ghibli film, brimming with imagination, action and heart. Kurara is just the kind of bright, determined heroine that has you rooting for her from page one, and I loved following her as she grew in strength whilst learning to wield her powerful paper magic in the face of terrifying origami creatures, cumulous whales, burning sky-cities and treacherous secrets that threaten to tear apart life as she knows it. It’s been a long time since I’ve been so immersed in a fantasy world.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Shealea

    Reading Rebel Skies felt a lot like traveling through time - in the sense that it was as if I was transported back into my younger reader self. I saw everything through the curious eyes of a child, brimming with fathomless wonder and amazement. In contrast to many YA fantasy series, Rebel Skies reads much more low-key, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. While many stories try to reel in readers through fast-paced plots and high-adrenaline action scenes, this unassuming novel captivates through Reading Rebel Skies felt a lot like traveling through time - in the sense that it was as if I was transported back into my younger reader self. I saw everything through the curious eyes of a child, brimming with fathomless wonder and amazement. In contrast to many YA fantasy series, Rebel Skies reads much more low-key, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. While many stories try to reel in readers through fast-paced plots and high-adrenaline action scenes, this unassuming novel captivates through its characters and the unique vividness of its magical world. In many ways, Rebel Skies has the delightful atmosphere of a Studio Ghibli film. Definitely a charming debut that's full of heart and imagination. Recommended! * I received an ARC of this book from its publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are mine. 🌻🍃 More bookish content on Shut up, Shealea 🍃🌻 instagram • pinterest • twitter • ko-fi

  5. 5 out of 5

    John Moore

    This is THE BOOK I won’t shut up about for the next year. It’s paper magic, PAPER MAGIC! Think Kubo and the Two Strings meets Mortal Engines. Truly an excellent read from start to finish and can’t wait to share it with you all. Out March 2022.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Lauren James

    [Gifted] An intricately constructed ode to papercraft and Japanese culture. I fell in love with this world of airships, cumulous whales and floating cities. Pure magic.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Aislinn O'Loughlin

    Look, I mislaid my ARC of this fantastically crafted, beautifully imagine Teen Fantasy Adventure for just over a week when I was three chapters in and I was NOT OK, because I was already heavily invested in the rebellious main character Kurara (a servant girl/crafter with the power to make paper come to life) and her adorkable best friend Haru, who could charm his way into anyone's heart - and I needed to know they were going to be okay! Rebel Skies is the sort of gorgeously executed story that p Look, I mislaid my ARC of this fantastically crafted, beautifully imagine Teen Fantasy Adventure for just over a week when I was three chapters in and I was NOT OK, because I was already heavily invested in the rebellious main character Kurara (a servant girl/crafter with the power to make paper come to life) and her adorkable best friend Haru, who could charm his way into anyone's heart - and I needed to know they were going to be okay! Rebel Skies is the sort of gorgeously executed story that pulls you in from the first line (which, by the way, is "When Himura was nine years old, his home town was attacked by a giant tortoise" - see? Told you it pulls you in). A Studio Ghibli-esque, silk-punk adventure set in a land of flying cities, skyships and wild paper spirits called shikigami who can be as loyal as they are dangerous, Rebel Skies is a highly original, gripping and occasionally heart-wrenching adventure with a high-stakes quest and intriguing mystery that keeps the story rocketing along. Alternating in POV between Kurara, Himura and a far more sinster third character, Ann Sei Lin succeeds in doing for us what both Kurara learns to do throughout the book - bring pages to life in a way that is magical, exciting and jam-packed with so much heart & soul. Kurara is a wonderfully strong, self-reliant main character - her ability to step back and question the status quo (even when it offers HER the purpose and belonging she craves) makes her a wonderful role-model, and endlessly relatable/aspirational for young readers just starting to try to find their own place and purpose in our own world. The ending was perfect for the first book in a series, wrapping up just enough thread to make this a satisfying stand-alone read (if, for some strange reason, you decided NOT to read the rest of the books) but also with enough intrigue and opened-possibilities to leave you chomping at the bit more Book 2 (and 3 and - I'll take as many as I can get, honestly!)

  8. 4 out of 5

    Katja

    This book was such a pleasant surprise! It kept my entertained from the first page until the last one, and I just had to read it in one sitting! Rebel Skies is like the plot of a Studio Ghibli movie. We follow Kurara, who ends up with a crew of shikigami hunters and the Crafter Himura. Shikigami are creatures made of paper, while Crafters can control paper and form it into anything they want. On top of it all, there are flying cities, rebels, royals with an agenda and so many secrets, twists and This book was such a pleasant surprise! It kept my entertained from the first page until the last one, and I just had to read it in one sitting! Rebel Skies is like the plot of a Studio Ghibli movie. We follow Kurara, who ends up with a crew of shikigami hunters and the Crafter Himura. Shikigami are creatures made of paper, while Crafters can control paper and form it into anything they want. On top of it all, there are flying cities, rebels, royals with an agenda and so many secrets, twists and turns! The story comes to life on the pages thanks to the very fluid writing style that flows perfectly in tune with the pace of the plot. Honestly, I want to read more. I want to explore more of this world and dive deeper into the history of all the characters, their motives and drive. Rebel Skies is a brilliant debut and the start of a trilogy I will definitely continue reading.

  9. 5 out of 5

    kate

    A fun start to a new fantasy series that will be perfect for younger YA readers or those new to the fantasy genre. Although this gave me major Ghibli vibes, overall I was a little underwhelmed by it and it struggled to capture my attention but I have to give props to the author for her imagination, as the paper magic was fascinating!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Maria Cohut

    I was fortunate enough to receive an arc of this, and boy did this book deliver! Rebel Skies tells the story of Kurara, a girl who has the special ability of controlling paper, who finds herself thrown into the midst of all kinds of (mis)adventures in the Sky Cities. The world of Rebel Skies has it all: sentient magical creatures made of paper, sky dwellers, suspenseful fights, heartbreak, and sweet scenes of friendship and loyalty. This book is a fast-paced page-turner, and there is so much I l I was fortunate enough to receive an arc of this, and boy did this book deliver! Rebel Skies tells the story of Kurara, a girl who has the special ability of controlling paper, who finds herself thrown into the midst of all kinds of (mis)adventures in the Sky Cities. The world of Rebel Skies has it all: sentient magical creatures made of paper, sky dwellers, suspenseful fights, heartbreak, and sweet scenes of friendship and loyalty. This book is a fast-paced page-turner, and there is so much I loved about it. It doesn't shy away from important themes such as those of oppression and discrimination in a deeply divided society. And each chapter has beautiful haiku and tanka epigraphs that offer further glimpses into the complexities of Rebel Skies' world. I was sad to reach the end, but luckily, Rebel Skies is only the first volume of a planned series.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Coral Davies

    Bloody brilliant. Shame this isn't even out yet - means the wait for a sequel will be even longer 🥲 For fans of Studio Ghibli, an ingenious YA fantasy novel about origami come to life. Love it love it love it. Bloody brilliant. Shame this isn't even out yet - means the wait for a sequel will be even longer 🥲 For fans of Studio Ghibli, an ingenious YA fantasy novel about origami come to life. Love it love it love it.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Mairi Chong

    For fantasy fans, this will surely be a stand-out triumph of a series. Rebel Skies is the first book in a trilogy in which Ann Sei Lin creates a world of delight that can only inspire awe and wonder, immersing any young reader in a kaleidoscope of beauty. With vivid descriptive imaginings and a moral-driven plot, Kurara, a girl with the power of controlling paper, navigates her origami-filled surroundings with grace and intelligence. This is a genuinely fast-paced delight of a book. Highly recom For fantasy fans, this will surely be a stand-out triumph of a series. Rebel Skies is the first book in a trilogy in which Ann Sei Lin creates a world of delight that can only inspire awe and wonder, immersing any young reader in a kaleidoscope of beauty. With vivid descriptive imaginings and a moral-driven plot, Kurara, a girl with the power of controlling paper, navigates her origami-filled surroundings with grace and intelligence. This is a genuinely fast-paced delight of a book. Highly recommend it to young adults (and older fantasy fans too!)

  13. 5 out of 5

    Catherine Yardley

    Origami comes to life in this stunning teen fantasy novel. With excellent world building and a superb grasp of tension and pace, Rebel Skies grabs you by the throat and does not let go. Rebel Skies is beautifully written and leaves you in completely awe. Ann Sei Linn has an incredible imagination and we are all lucky that she is sharing it with us. Even better, this book is the first in a trilogy. I cannot wait for the others. Adults can love this book too. The characters are great and there are Origami comes to life in this stunning teen fantasy novel. With excellent world building and a superb grasp of tension and pace, Rebel Skies grabs you by the throat and does not let go. Rebel Skies is beautifully written and leaves you in completely awe. Ann Sei Linn has an incredible imagination and we are all lucky that she is sharing it with us. Even better, this book is the first in a trilogy. I cannot wait for the others. Adults can love this book too. The characters are great and there are many funny moments on top of the awesome and exciting world-building.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Lizzie Huxley-Jones

    Rebel Skies is the first in a new fantasy adventure trilogy by Ann Sei Lin! Set in a world of skyships and paper spirits, Rebel Skies follows servant girl Kurara, whose talent of bringing paper to life turns out to be a treasured power in the Empire. Sought out by Himura, a talented Crafter, she leaves to learn how to hone her skill and join a crew to hunt wild Shikigami, paper spirits brought to life. But quickly things go off track, and Kurara is faced with many tough realisations about the li Rebel Skies is the first in a new fantasy adventure trilogy by Ann Sei Lin! Set in a world of skyships and paper spirits, Rebel Skies follows servant girl Kurara, whose talent of bringing paper to life turns out to be a treasured power in the Empire. Sought out by Himura, a talented Crafter, she leaves to learn how to hone her skill and join a crew to hunt wild Shikigami, paper spirits brought to life. But quickly things go off track, and Kurara is faced with many tough realisations about the life she thought she was living. To put it lightly, Rebel Skies is absolutely brutal. Not just the world itself which is a cutthroat place filled with beautiful monsters, but Ann Sei Lin also has a real penchant for twisting the knife — there’s a bit early on that I couldn’t stop thinking about. Lush world building that conjures the steampunkier end of Ghibli, mixed with the ruthlessness of Iron Widow and fast past action. It’s out on Thursday in paperback so if you’re into rich fantasy worlds with intriguing magic, fast paced action and brutal twists, I think you’ll be well in for Rebel Skies! Thank you to Walker for the early proof copy!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sifa Poulton

    If you enjoy Miyazaki films (Howls Moving Castle, Spirited away, etc), then this UKYA fantasy debut is a book to read. There is a wonderful whimsy and magic to the world - floating cities, skyships, origami-based magic and monsters made of paper. A world can do so much to create tone and really managed it here - it really did feel like floating through one of the Miyazaki films where all these ideas you might not think to combine come together so well. The story itself is a mix of quests accident If you enjoy Miyazaki films (Howls Moving Castle, Spirited away, etc), then this UKYA fantasy debut is a book to read. There is a wonderful whimsy and magic to the world - floating cities, skyships, origami-based magic and monsters made of paper. A world can do so much to create tone and really managed it here - it really did feel like floating through one of the Miyazaki films where all these ideas you might not think to combine come together so well. The story itself is a mix of quests accidentally knocked off path by a rebellion, hidden (personal) histories, and monster hunting. I really liked the fact that Kaurara is not directly involved in the rebellion. She's just trying to save her friend, and it just so happens that there are rebels whose plans are going to intersect with hers. This separation of the ideas, rather than the heroine being a part of the rebellion/finding her way to it, did make this book feel very different as it didn't take the path I was expecting when the rebellion was introduced. As Kaurara doesn't become part of the rebellion, the intricacies of what was happening there were told through another POV, one that makes up the interludes. You really get a sense of what's happening, the tensions and different loyalties conflicting within the country, through these interludes despite there being only about a half-dozen of them. There is also a third POV in the book, who narrates about as much as the interlude POV (thus ensuring the focus stays on Kaurara in the book.) It is her new teacher, Himura, who has his own goals - and a deep-seated belief about the correct place for the origami creatures. He gave a different perspective on things, and it lets you understand why certain events happen (even if you don't like them!) This is the first book in the series, and I'm very interested to see where it's going to go, as the ending leaves several possibilities open and also doesn't quite leave Kaurara (and those with her) where you might expect physically or emotionally.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Becky (Blogs of a Bookaholic)

    *Advanced Reader Copy supplied in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Walker Books UK!* This was such a wonderfully creative action-packed YA novel, with definite Last Airbender, Studio Ghibli and Pokemon vibes thrown in! The story follows Kurara, a servent aboard the Midori, a floating sky city. Her whole life all Kurara has known is its lavish ways, its staff, and her best friend Haru. Kurara has always made sure to follow orders, keep her head down, and most importantly, hide her magical a *Advanced Reader Copy supplied in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Walker Books UK!* This was such a wonderfully creative action-packed YA novel, with definite Last Airbender, Studio Ghibli and Pokemon vibes thrown in! The story follows Kurara, a servent aboard the Midori, a floating sky city. Her whole life all Kurara has known is its lavish ways, its staff, and her best friend Haru. Kurara has always made sure to follow orders, keep her head down, and most importantly, hide her magical ability to make paper come to life. But when the city is attacked by a dragon shikigami (a wild paper spirit creature) Kurara and Haru are forced to flee and aided by a mysterious stranger, end up aboard a skyship with a motley crew of shikigami hunters. Kurara is taken under the wing of Crafter Himura, where she learns to hone her paper crafting skills and embarks on a quest for knowledge. But the more Kurara learns the more questions she has. If shikigami are mindless creations that need to be tethered to masters lest they go mad, why does Kurara feel so bad about destroying them? How are shikigami made? Why are they in decline? And if shikigami have no thoughts, feelings or desires of their own, why do they seem to feel pain and emotions? This book was so wonderfully creative! I adored the worldbuilding inspired by Asian culture as well as the magic system inspired by the art of origami and paper crafting. Lin slowly adds more and more layers and complexity to the magic system that had me turning the pages as keen as Kurara to find answers. The moral side as to whether shikigami could have minds and wills of their own really drew me in. This novel is an action-packed whirlwind from the first couple of chapters and continues to provide high energy scenes right to the end. Rebel Skies also had so many twists and turns which wasn't something I was expecting, and some I definitely didn't see coming! There are other big parts of the plot that were incredibly intriguing but I don't want to mention them here as I'd definitely class them as spoilery! Kurara is an easy protagonist to follow, she wears her heart on her sleeve and isn't afraid to stand up for what she believes in. She did feel like a bit of a Mary Sue initially and sometimes made some rather naive decisions, but her character developed as the story went on. There is also a central mystery about Kurara's childhood and the gaps she has in her memory which became more and more intriguing as the story unraveled. There's also a fun cast of side characters, Haru, Kurara's cheeky friend who is fiercely loyal and playful. Himura, Kurara's gruff and serious teacher and his shikigami fox companion, Arkane who was absolutely adorable. I did feel like some of the other members of the skyship could have used some further development as Kurara's friends Tomoe and Sayo seemed to have potential, but I never really felt I had the chance to connect with their characters properly. Hopefully we will see more of them in book 2! It is worth noting if you are looking to pick this up that Rebel Skies does read on the younger side of the YA bracket, but if you're looking for a fresh magic system, a good adventure story and a sweet cast of characters this may be the book for you!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Andiewrites

    If you like Studio Ghibli films like Laputa: Castle in the Sky, Japanese culture and fantasy then this is the perfect book for you. There are floating cities, origami creatures that come to life, a heartless imperial family ruling over oppressed peoples and at the centre of it Kurara, a lowly kitchen worker who has the power to create shapes out of paper which come to life. After her home is destroyed by a living origami dragon (these creatures are called shikigami) Kurara joins a ragtag crew of If you like Studio Ghibli films like Laputa: Castle in the Sky, Japanese culture and fantasy then this is the perfect book for you. There are floating cities, origami creatures that come to life, a heartless imperial family ruling over oppressed peoples and at the centre of it Kurara, a lowly kitchen worker who has the power to create shapes out of paper which come to life. After her home is destroyed by a living origami dragon (these creatures are called shikigami) Kurara joins a ragtag crew of mercenary shikigami hunters, hoping to hone her own paper-crafting skills. As she learns more about the world around her and the mysterious shikigami themselves, she comes to realise there's a huge injustice at the heart of society - and that her best friend has been keeping a devastating secret. It's non-stop adventure in a world conjoured as effortlessly as one of Kurara's creations. My only frustration was that I need part two now. please! Thanks to Netgalley for my early reading copy.

  18. 4 out of 5

    USOM

    (Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.) more like a 3.5 TW: torture I could go on about how much I loved the magic in Rebel Skies. From the premise alone, I knew I would be enchanted. I love the idea of bringing life to paper, of using it as a weapon, as a defense. We have this idea that paper is so flexible and to see it in different forms was so fascinating. Furthermore, Sei Lin brings some intriguing ethical dilemmas. (Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.) more like a 3.5 TW: torture I could go on about how much I loved the magic in Rebel Skies. From the premise alone, I knew I would be enchanted. I love the idea of bringing life to paper, of using it as a weapon, as a defense. We have this idea that paper is so flexible and to see it in different forms was so fascinating. Furthermore, Sei Lin brings some intriguing ethical dilemmas. With these paper spirits - how much agency do they have? This theme ended up being my favorite element. If someone is bringing us to life, how much loyalty do we owe them? How much of ourselves do we retain? Lose? As Rebel Skies progresses, this theme is only complicated and folded in on itself. Seriously. There is a wealth of ethics I want to discuss, but can't! My second favorite element has to be the mystery. Rebel Skies is a fabulous series starter. The intrigue - trying to unravel these hidden secrets - is fascinating. We are trapped in the dark just like Kuara. full review: https://utopia-state-of-mind.com/revi...

  19. 5 out of 5

    Holly Race

    This teen fantasy is STUNNING. A lyrical, colourful romp through a Studio Ghibli-esque world of origami creatures, steampunk ships and sky-bound cities. It doesn't pull its punches either - I both read the book and listened to the audiobook and there's a particular moment that had me weeping, in public, on both occasions. I can't wait to see where Ann takes Kurara and her friends (and enemies) next. This teen fantasy is STUNNING. A lyrical, colourful romp through a Studio Ghibli-esque world of origami creatures, steampunk ships and sky-bound cities. It doesn't pull its punches either - I both read the book and listened to the audiobook and there's a particular moment that had me weeping, in public, on both occasions. I can't wait to see where Ann takes Kurara and her friends (and enemies) next.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Gritnay

    3.5* Very cool magic system, interesting world building, some nice beginnings for character development. Ending felt very rushed and with so few answers given..

  21. 4 out of 5

    Les McFarlane

    What a ride! Fast paced, unusual setting & concept, characters I cared about - this book had it all!

  22. 5 out of 5

    andra

    this was more like a 4.25 to me... i adore this book so much. rebel skies is set in a world where chosen ones have the ability to bring paper to life and work as crafters - people who hunt wild paper spirits called shikigami. i was interested because the magic system but after finishing this, not only did i fell in love with the world but also with the characters. it definitely has that Studio Ghibli vibes which I really adore!! the fantasy is light and magical, and like most Studio Ghibli movie this was more like a 4.25 to me... i adore this book so much. rebel skies is set in a world where chosen ones have the ability to bring paper to life and work as crafters - people who hunt wild paper spirits called shikigami. i was interested because the magic system but after finishing this, not only did i fell in love with the world but also with the characters. it definitely has that Studio Ghibli vibes which I really adore!! the fantasy is light and magical, and like most Studio Ghibli movies, this also has friendships and characters that are so easy to root and love for. i think this is targeted for teens/YA, but i also think it's also suitable for middle grade readers as well! the writing is very easy to follow but still very much full of plot and ideas. definitely would recommend y'all to add this to the tbr if you're looking for a light hearted fantasy to pick up. thank you to netgalley and walker books for providing me with an e-arc. so glad i decided to request this one hehe i had so much fun! release date: May 5th 2022

  23. 5 out of 5

    Leigh Turner

    An astonishing feat of imagination. "Rebel Skies" opens with the words: "When Himura was nine years old, his home town was attacked by a giant tortoise". You know you are in for a wild ride of rich fantasy set in a Japanese-influenced world of sailing space-ships, origami masters and terrifying, unpredictable monsters. Through this incredible, thrilling chaos Kurara, a kitchen maid in a floating city, must fight her way to freedom, aided by her best friend (or is he?) Haru, and fighting the evil An astonishing feat of imagination. "Rebel Skies" opens with the words: "When Himura was nine years old, his home town was attacked by a giant tortoise". You know you are in for a wild ride of rich fantasy set in a Japanese-influenced world of sailing space-ships, origami masters and terrifying, unpredictable monsters. Through this incredible, thrilling chaos Kurara, a kitchen maid in a floating city, must fight her way to freedom, aided by her best friend (or is he?) Haru, and fighting the evil ruling family and their henchmen. In the course of her journey she finds out more about Haru, and herself, than she - or the reader - has imagined possible, in a series of stunning revelations. The surreal, unpredictable world of Mikoshima reminded me of the movie "Spirited Away" and of Roger Dean album covers from the 1970s. It's a rich, fulfilling mix - I hope it will be filmed as soon as possible!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Peter

    Ann Sei Lin has written an enthralling and unique story suitable for readers of all ages. The story centres around the friendship between Kurara and Haru and their search to be free, in a story where everything is not as it first seems. In this world, based around Asian culture, Crafters can magically manipulate paper to change form into amazing origami animals, weapons ,shields and so much more. There are twists and turns in this fantasy adventure story that pull the story forward at a fast pac Ann Sei Lin has written an enthralling and unique story suitable for readers of all ages. The story centres around the friendship between Kurara and Haru and their search to be free, in a story where everything is not as it first seems. In this world, based around Asian culture, Crafters can magically manipulate paper to change form into amazing origami animals, weapons ,shields and so much more. There are twists and turns in this fantasy adventure story that pull the story forward at a fast pace. I was sorry when I reached the end of the book. I can't wait to see what comes next. This book should be a definite on every fantasy readers list.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Aria Harlow

    A childrens book with mythology - um hell yeah!!!! This book was well written, with a fascinating and engaging storyline and well developed characters. It explored some really important topics and they were explored incredibly well, sensitively and yet creatively. I loved the Asian cultural elements that are infused within the plot and I loved the front cover. This is a book that if they dont already love this genre, may make young readers start to fall in love withh the genre. I can't wait for A childrens book with mythology - um hell yeah!!!! This book was well written, with a fascinating and engaging storyline and well developed characters. It explored some really important topics and they were explored incredibly well, sensitively and yet creatively. I loved the Asian cultural elements that are infused within the plot and I loved the front cover. This is a book that if they dont already love this genre, may make young readers start to fall in love withh the genre. I can't wait for more.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Gabriela Pop

    Magic, origami and steam-punk intersect in this one girl's attempt to save her best friend - what else could sound more exciting? This one truly is for you fans of fast-paced, plot driven stories with intricate worldbuilding and internal conflict. There is something about it that gives me Ghibli energy Magic, origami and steam-punk intersect in this one girl's attempt to save her best friend - what else could sound more exciting? This one truly is for you fans of fast-paced, plot driven stories with intricate worldbuilding and internal conflict. There is something about it that gives me Ghibli energy

  27. 5 out of 5

    Dane Brinkmeier

    This is a truly imaginative and wonderful first book from author Ann Sei Lin. She really knows how to make the reader visualize the settings and feelings of the characters. I’m eager to see where the characters and story go after this one. A must read for fans of the fantasy genre

  28. 4 out of 5

    Aria

    Review can also be found at Snow White Hates Apples. A strong debut that reminds of me Studio Ghibli’s films, Rebel Skies tells the tale of Kurara, a young servant girl who later becomes a Crafter on a flying ship to hunt wild shikigami in a world that also has sky cities and paper magic. There are so many things that I love in this book. The first of which is obviously the amazing magic system and the blending of Asian culture and mythology. We’ve Crafters who are born with the ability to bri Review can also be found at Snow White Hates Apples. A strong debut that reminds of me Studio Ghibli’s films, Rebel Skies tells the tale of Kurara, a young servant girl who later becomes a Crafter on a flying ship to hunt wild shikigami in a world that also has sky cities and paper magic. There are so many things that I love in this book. The first of which is obviously the amazing magic system and the blending of Asian culture and mythology. We’ve Crafters who are born with the ability to bring paper to life, and shikigami which are conjured paper beings that can potentially go wild. Though we don’t learn entirely of the rules to the paper magic, I think its introduction here allows the reader a solid enough understanding while leaving room for future learning and for the magic system to grow (both of which I’m hoping for as Rebel Skies will be part of a trilogy!). Another aspect of the book that I love is definitely the rich imagery that brings the Rebel Skies world to life. Every part of it feels magical here and you can easily tell how much love and effort has gone into the worldbuilding. However, I’m sad to write that this doesn’t extend to the characters. Although we’ve a wide cast of characters with distinct personalities and characteristics, they, unfortunately, don’t develop or change much throughout the story. The characters and consequently, the relationships between them, fall flat in comparison to the lush worldbuilding, acting much like caricatures just to bring the story forward. Sure, I did feel for them, especially when it came to the unexpected revelations and betrayals, but other than that, I didn’t care much for them. Nevertheless, there are still two other books left in this trilogy so I hope that the characters will grow, become more complex and have more depth and realism later on. As mentioned earlier, Rebel Skies is a strong debut. It has potential to be better with its upcoming sequels and I have high hopes for the sequels. If you’re a fan of Asian-inspired fantasy, I’d recommend giving this book a read, though definitely keep in mind that this book is targeted towards teens/the younger side of the Young Adult category so the ‘sound’ of the narrative reflects that. Thank you so much Pansing for sending me a copy of this in exchange for an honest review! Rebel Skies by Ann Sei Lin is available at all good bookstores.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Bex

    I feel like I am the only person on the planet who doesn't typically enjoy Studio Ghibli, and I'm sad about it because what else tends to happen is that books which have similar atmosphere or themes to that concept don't usually work for me either. I don't know why, frankly, because magic, folklore, animal friends and special abilities are everything I want in a fantasy world, but somehow it still doesn't work - it's the purple prose, I think. With that said, I suspected Rebel Skies might not be I feel like I am the only person on the planet who doesn't typically enjoy Studio Ghibli, and I'm sad about it because what else tends to happen is that books which have similar atmosphere or themes to that concept don't usually work for me either. I don't know why, frankly, because magic, folklore, animal friends and special abilities are everything I want in a fantasy world, but somehow it still doesn't work - it's the purple prose, I think. With that said, I suspected Rebel Skies might not be for me but the premise sounded so good I couldn't pass it up. Kurara is a servant on a flying ship who gets caught turning pieces of paper into magical creatures - a highly coveted talent she soon receives formal training in (see what I mean - what's not to like?). The setting is a beautiful East-Asian mythological world with a sprinkling of folklore and glorious world building; the world is without a doubt one of the most imaginative I have seen in a really long time. To be fair, it would be a pretty beautiful Studio Ghibli movie I'm sure! But, I didn't care about any of the characters, only the magical creatures (and don't imagine this to be Fantastic Beasts, Niffler level cute - more like cute magical origami). I guess the story just didn't really take off, because I didn't feel invested enough in the characters to worry about where they were going. In truth, they don't go particularly far and it becomes apparent quite quickly that we are building the foundations of a much larger series, instead of developing a successful standalone (this may be personal preference, but I do like to feel as though the first book in a series stands comfortable alone before I invest in a wider series built solely on guessing it's going to get better with each book). A strong debut for a younger teenage audience I think, and certainly imaginative and beautifully crafted, but the characters needed the level of attention the world building was so apparently given. ARC provided from the publishers in exchange for an honest review.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sam Bakos

    ✨Review time✨-Rebel Skies I picked this up just because the cover was pretty to be honest, but I am pleasantly surprised that this was actually really good. Kurara is just a girl working in the kitchens of one of the floating cities. Secretly she is a crafter, or someone who can manipulate paper with their mind. Soon the city is attacked by a paper dragon and Kurara has to escape with the help of a stranger and set out on a quest to help her friend. The world is really interesting, you have several ✨Review time✨-Rebel Skies I picked this up just because the cover was pretty to be honest, but I am pleasantly surprised that this was actually really good. Kurara is just a girl working in the kitchens of one of the floating cities. Secretly she is a crafter, or someone who can manipulate paper with their mind. Soon the city is attacked by a paper dragon and Kurara has to escape with the help of a stranger and set out on a quest to help her friend. The world is really interesting, you have several cultures that each feel very real and seem to make sense. There is flying cities and ancient knowledge lost to time as well as paper beings called Shikigami. I thought that sometimes we needed a bit more description to things and there is a glossary of what some things mean or look like at the back of the book but I feel like this should've been in the book as it would only add to the experience. And I'm not talking about describing what a kimono is but a description of what a qipak, kuhane or what the dragon looked like would've added to the story. The characters are also very good and I felt a lot towards them, the book gets darker as it goes on and it was a bit too dark at the end for my taste but it was still fun to read. The plot seems to be extremely fast and I kinda like that but I would also enjoy this if it was longer, but it doesn't need to be it's perfectly good as it is. There is a toxic boy in the book and the main girl doesn't immediately fall for him :o YASS more of this pls The struggles in this book feel very real and the world is whimsical and interesting to read about. I would recommend to anyone looking for good fantasy as this is more than just a pretty cover. Looking forward to the next one.

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