Mosca Mye has spent her life in a miserable hamlet, where her father was banished for writing inflammatory books about tolerance and freedom. Now he is dead, and Mosca is on the run, in search of a better life. With Eponymous Clent, a smooth-tongued swindler, she heads for the city of Mandelion, living by her wits among highwaymen and smugglers, dangerously insane rulers, secret agents, and radical plotters.
But the city is in uproar, for someone is once again printing seditious material, and no one is quite what they seem. With suspicion and peril at every turn, Mosca uncovers a shocking plot to force a rule of terror on the people of the Realm, and all too soon merry mayhem leads to murder.
Funny, surprising and fantastical, with an unforgettable cast of characters, Fly By Night contains at its heart an inspiring truth: that the power of books can change the world.
© Frances Hardinge; (P) Macmillan Publishers Ltd
A colorful cinematic created with well timed descriptions and vibrant dialogues. It's thought provoking plot involving the importance of "Names" was really enjoyable.
This book is one of two that I consider the best of audiobook entertainment. It is one of a few that I return to over and over to reread when I can't find something new. The narration is perfect.
Even though Mosca Mye is a orphan child, she becomes embroiled in an adult conspiracy that dates back to her father's past. She travels with two companions, a goose (Saracen) and a con-man (Eponymous Clent). The goose is her protector; the con-man is her albatross. The plot unfolds into a real world conspiracy of national importance without hint of contrivance.
It is an adventure comparable with Huckleberry Finn. The plot is engaging and satisfying. We are treated to a spunky preteen girl who is a complete person. She doesn't whine, she doesn't procrastinate, she just gets on with things. She makes mistakes; she is getting by with incomplete information, but she doesn't stop to worry. Life hasn't been kind to her so she deals with it. How refreshing. She could be compared to Pipi Longstocking, but she is more grounded.
The world building is superb. History, fable, and religion are fleshed out to provide a complete and satisfying back story. Names of people and places are entertaining in their own right, providing the perfect atmosphere of mythic importance.
Don't miss the crocodile that protects the evil princess.
I enjoyed this book when I read it, although I find all Frances Hardinge's books take a while to get into. The plot is complex, twisting and turning, Mosca is a satisfying heroine, and her world is imagined in full and often terrifying detail. I found the narration irritating at times, though - a bit too exaggerated in some voices (one would have thought it impossible to over-exaggerate Eponymous Clent, but the narrator achieves it!), and rather too mournful in between.
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