Sunday, April 10, 2016

Review: The Stillness of the Sky by Starla Huchton

Jack had the chance to leave home with her mother when she was nine, but she chose kindness instead, staying to care for her cruel father. Now, life has become unbearable, and for her own well-being, she has to leave. Finally on her own, she finds herself at the base of a gigantic beanstalk. Unable to stay her curiosity, she climbs, only to wind up caught in a war between her king and the giants. She's found the missing prince, and with him, her own talents. Jack has a destiny and the gift of being a Bard. But will her newfound talents and her dedication to kindness be enough to stop the war?

That's my summary. Here's the one I pulled from the author's website
Once upon a time, my life was certain: it was insignificant, and it was cruel. But I refused to let it define me, no matter how great the cost. Once upon a time, I made a wish. The world I knew grew wider than the sky and higher than the stars, and I listened to the voice within me, reaching out for freedom. Once upon a time, my wish became my fate, and my destiny the hardest lesson to learn: kindness may be the most difficult path, but it can save entire kingdoms.

The Stillness of the Sky is a gender-flipped retelling of the story Jack and the Beanstalk.

You can find my perceptions of Huchton's writing style in my other reviews of her work. I've done several over the last few years.

My Thoughts
This is the second of Huchton's flipped fairy tales I've read, and at least the eighth book of hers I've read. I've yet to be disappointed with anything of hers I've read, which is saying a lot for her. That said, this is not my favorite of her works. Was this book bad? Not at all. Did it not live up to her other works? Again, the answer is no. This one, oddly enough, just didn't quite resonate with me like some of her other works did. I enjoyed it very much, but it seemed to wander a little too much for me. That could very well be a reflection of the main character, Jack. It was just a little too meandering for me in some ways. There was still a great sense of drive and purpose. Frankly, I can't quite nail down exactly what felt off to me, but I had a harder time zooming through this book than I have with Huchton's writings in the past.
I loved the direction Huchton took, expanding what was at the top of the beanstalk, and making the story stem from it (no pun intended). Maybe the fact that Jack never returns up there is what bothered me. The journey to the clouds happened so early in the story, it was more the cause than the journey. I think maybe I was expecting more activity above the ground, so I was thrown off by never going back. Sorry if this review is spoilery.

Was the book good? Yes, very! Not my favorite of Huchton's work, but it was definitely a unique take on the original story.

Would I Recommend This Book? Yeah! While I thought it wandered a little further from the inspirational material than I would have liked, it's still a great story! Huchton's plot went some places I didn't expect, which kept me intrigued. I give The Stillness of the Sky a selfish 4 of 5 stars.

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