Book Review of Skyborn: Sparrow Rising
The Children’s Book Review
Written by Jessica Khoury
Ages 8+ | 288 Pages
Publisher: Scholastic Press | ISBN: 9781338652390
What to Expect: Friendship, magic, orphans, and social justice.
In this original and magical fantasy novel, Khoury presents a world in which the magical dream of being able to fly is a reality.
Ellie lives in a world where everyone is born with wings, but not everyone can fly free. Some, like Ellie, live in tight-knit clans, bonded together for protection against the sky-dwelling stone gargols who wait in every cloud to rip them to pieces. Others lack even that protection as outcasts from clandom and are forced to earn a living through theft and trickery, hunted by gargols and the king’s soldiers.
Ellie wants nothing more than to become a Goldwing—one of the elite fighters who fight against the gargols. Unfortunately, there’s a strict hierarchy among the clans, and a lowly Sparrow like her is not considered worthy. Determined to join anyway, Ellie runs away from her clan and becomes entangled with a gang of outcast thieves. Whether they are friends or enemies, she’s not sure, but they have a lot to teach her about right, wrong, heroism, and worthiness.
As well as offering a believable and enchanting fictional world, the story mirrors troubling issues like our own, including unearned privilege and class inequality, poverty, child abuse and neglect, and state-sanctioned violence. Ellie is an engaging protagonist, too stubborn for her own good but still open-minded enough to see the point of view of others. Readers can learn alongside her as she grows to understand what it means to be an independent thinker and actor in the world.
This first book in the Skyborn series is well-written, exciting, and magical—a harbinger of more good stories to follow.
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About the Author
Jessica Khoury is the author of many books for teens and young readers. Her stories have been translated into over a dozen languages and have been finalists for awards like the South Carolina Junior Book Award, the Ignyte Award, the Maine Student Book Award, the Oklahoma Sequoyah Masterlist, the Amelia Bloomer Project, and many more.
Dr. Jen Harrison reviewed Skyborn: Sparrow Rising. Discover more books like A Brief History of Life on Earth by reading our reviews and articles tagged with Friendship, Magic, Orphans, and Social Justice.