Fledgling by Lucy Hope
Fledgling is a book that I’d been looking forward to reading for a while. The debut novel by Lucy Hope, published by Nosy Crow has had phenomenal reviews and I sometimes worry when this happens that a book may not live up to the hype when I finally read it. However, wow, Fledgling was amazing!
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Quirky and Eerily Good
The setting is eerie, yet quirky. Those who love understanding how things work will admire the incredible devices and contraptions that Cassie’s (our protagonists) Great Grandfather constructed in their far from ordinary house. It really made me think about Mr Shaha’s Marvellous Machines – another book I love – you can find my review here.
To begin, the owls in the owlery seem very central to story. Cassie’s father is a taxidermy beginner; following in the footsteps of their ancestors. The subtle, dark touch of the book begins here when we don’t get a warm sense in the description of the setting and are left feeling like we haven’t got the full picture.
One stormy night a strange creature flies into Cassie’s room. With the help of her friend Raphael they determine the creature to be a celestial being, a cherub. We begin to believe that Raphael may know more that he is telling. Do have a listen to the wonderful Lucy reading her first chapter – you will be hooked!
The characters in the book are just as fascinating as the house and setting. It’s interesting that only looking back now I realise that I never truly warmed to any of the other characters, but you are absolutely rooting for Cassie. You certainly feel there are many facets that you don’t yet know about with other characters.
I felt that the first half of the book kept drawing me in, further and further, darker and darker. I certainly got to a point where I was just desperate to find out what was happening and had so many questions that I wanted answered. Just as I got to the point I thought I could take no more the answers start coming, tidal wave after tidal wave. I literally could not put this book down for anything from page 204, I had to read to the end and finally know everything! An incredibly clever book and truly unique.
It’s definitely got a dark undercurrent (which I loved) and for this reason I would recommend it for upper key stage 2+.
You can find some lovely activity sheets on the Nosy Crow website here. The activity pack includes:
- Draw a cherub
- Learn Morse code
- Write your own spooky scene with writing tips