blackfin sky blog tour (review + giveaway)

Wednesday, August 27, 2014 |
Do you like smart, sassy heroines with magical mysteries to solve?  Kat Ellis' debut novel Blackfin Sky may be the book for you.  It will be released by Running Press on September 2, 2014.  Check out the end of the post for your chance to win a copy!

Have you considered the elements that pull you into a story lately?  I am always partial to a beautiful book cover, but I’ve noticed my reading taste changing, too.  I am beginning to adore atmospheric magical mysteries, for one thing, and I’ve never thought of myself as a ‘mystery’ person.  Before I read the summary of Kat Ellis’ debut Blackfin Sky, I had NO intention of signing up for a book tour.  And then, somehow, I was hooked (like a fish on a line, she says, pun intended).  Good thing, too, because another one of my weaknesses is humor, and this book is strangely compelling AND funny.

blackfin sky by kat ellis book cover
Just like any other morning, Skylar Rousseau is late for school, but when she is greeted by a blanket of silent stares upon entering Blackfin High, she discovers that the whole town thought she fell from the pier and drowned on her sixteenth birthday three months earlier. However, Sky remembers the last three months living her life as normal, and since she is a full, living breathing human being, she has no idea whose body is buried underneath her tombstone. Everyone seems reluctant to help except her steadfast friend and crush, Sean... and a secretive man who draws her to a mysterious circus in the woods.

Sky must wade through impossibilities and lies to discover the truth about what happened to her, which proves to be a bit difficult when someone is following her every move with the intent to harm her. And Sky's only hope of finding the answers she seeks may have already been turned to ashes.

Skylar (or Sky, for short) is running late for school one morning when she notices that EVERYONE is acting weird.  Her friends, her family – it’s as if they’ve seen a ghost.  In fact, the entire town believes that Skylar fell off the pier three months ago on the night of her sixteenth birthday and died.  Skylar doesn’t know how or why everyone is under this delusion, but as Blackfin’s normal level of strange amps up, it’s up to her to unravel it all: her supposed death, the crazy fortuneteller’s odd pronouncements, the friend who went after her the night she died, her parents’ silences, and the odd circus in the woods. Blackfin’s citizens may be used to the town’s oddities, but they may also be in danger…

Skylar has never ventured far beyond the borders of Blackfin, but even she knows that the town is full of freaks.  And she counts herself as one of them – after all, she’s been enduring stares ever since she can remember.  Her unrequited crush on relative town newcomer Sean notwithstanding, life seems ideal.  Ideal until she wakes up one morning and everyone believes she has somehow returned from the grave.  Much of Skylar’s emotional energy in the first chapters is spent dealing with echoes of grief and open rumors of what happened on the night of her birthday. While the dialogue is snappy and it’s quite a hook, the main character’s very real confusion does not lend itself to immediate reader understanding.  In other words, the book gets off to a somewhat baffling start.

That said, things quickly pick up, as Sky’s intelligence, wit, and charm come to her aid in unraveling Blackfin’s mysteries.  It’s a fun, weird, crazy-in-a-good-way ride.  The sassy banter between Sky and her friends Bo and Cam is a major highlight, as is Sky’s relationship with her parents.  And of course we can’t forget her budding will-they-won’t-they-admit-their-feelings thing with Sean (it’s adorable too).  The supernatural/fantastical elements were done well, although I would love to one day see a diagram (or glossary of powers!) on paper.  It’s light contemporary fantasy with a twist of sci-fi for good measure.

If we’re going to talk cons, I must again point to the slow-ish start, and also to the overabundance of odd characters in Blackfin.  Which included a haunted weathervane named Silas and Sky’s home, aptly called Blood House (and an almost-sentient structure).  Yes, they add a charming dose of quirkiness, but I did, on a couple of occasions, wish there weren’t quite so many strange tendrils of story to keep track of.  At the same time, I couldn’t easily eliminate any one thing, so that kept the mystery intact. Net result = neutral-to-positive.

In the end, this is an engrossing story about a girl everyone thought was dead, and a legacy of creepy and freaky happenings that make her reappearance seem almost like one of Blackfin’s everyday occurrences.  It’s also young adult romance with snappy dialogue.  Basically, good fun.

Recommended for: fans of Gina Damico’s Croak and Sarah Rees Brennan’s Unspoken, and anyone who likes contemporary young adult fantasy with humor, quirky heroines, and writing to pull off a combination of the two.

Interested in reading the book for yourself?  You're in luck!  Running Press is graciously allowing me to offer one copy to a lucky winner.  To enter, simply fill out the FORM.  Giveaway open to US addresses only, will end on Friday, September 5 at 11:59pm EST.  Winner will be selected randomly and notified via email.  Good luck!

Fine print: I received an ARC of this book for review consideration.  Giveaway prize provided by the publisher. I did not receive any compensation for this post.


Kristen M. said...

Just from your summary, I want to know what happened during those three months. That's a good thing. :)

Liviania said...

That is a really interesting premise. I'm going to have to pick a copy of this one up! (As I do love quirky heroines and contemp fantasy with humor!)

Heather @ Simple Wives said...

Oh, it sounds intriguging! I love the cover, too. (=

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