The Sailweaver’s Son by Jeff Minerd is a new fantasy introducing readers to a world where airships sail the skies, humans live on mountains and Gublins haunt the ground. Amid all this, Tak just wants to figure out how to get away with following another royal ship as he avoids helping his father in the silk-weaving business. I love seeing a fantasy/steampunk setting that deftly weaves in actual science to make the setting more believable and intriguing. So many doors are opened when the atmosphere of the world is heavier than our own, including room for dragons and airships!
Note: This is an expedited review, meaning I was paid to read and review this book and the author chose for this review to be published. See my review policy for more information.
The Sailweaver's Son by Jeff Minerd
Published by Silver Leaf Books on Sept. 28th, 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Steampunk, YA
Page Length: 306 pages
How I got my copy: Author
Purchases made support this blog
In The Sailweaver’s Son, when fifteen year-old Tak rescues the survivor of an airship destroyed by one of the giant flammable gas bubbles mysteriously appearing in the sky of Etherium, the authorities react like a flock of startled grekks.
Admiral Scud accuses Tak of sabotage. Tak’s father grounds him for reckless airmanship. The King’s advisors declare the bubbles are weapons devised by the Gublins, a race of devious—and dangerous—underground creatures. To clear his name, solve the mystery, and prevent a misguided war, Tak must visit the Gublins and find out what they know. When the odd and beautiful wizard’s daughter asks Tak to venture to the underworld with her, he reluctantly agrees.
The adventure will take Tak from the deepest underground caves to a desperate battle on Etherium’s highest mountaintop. It will force him to face his worst fears, and to grow up faster than he expected.
- I love it when an author takes a small(ish) difference between our world and the world of a book and explores all the ways that difference could manifest in the culture of the book. Airships aren’t a particularly unique thing to find in a fantasy story, but the details about Tak’s culture clearly reflect a society that took a different path with the ability to build flying ships.
- The possibility of taking to the air early on in technological development was made possible because the atmosphere of Tak’s world is thicker than what we are used to, and therefore can support flight more easily than our own. I loved all the ways that this appeared, such as the color of the sky being different than what we are used to and the various creatures that evolved to take advantage of the ability to float through the sky.
- There is a wizard in this story, but he is not the kind of wizard you are probably thinking of! Instead of spells, he talks a lot about germs and thermodynamics :D. I really love the idea that advanced science will look like magic and I really want to know more about how this wizard has learned so much without the rest of society catching up.
- There is often a problem with young adult stories that the adults need to be conveniently absent or idiotic in order for the teenager to carry out their adventure. I was happy to find Tak’s story to be much more believable, in that he had to go to a fair amount of work to slip away from adult supervision and at times only played a small role in the large events that happened around him.
- The creatures that the humans are on the brink of war with are called Gublins. This word made it really difficult for me to take the story seriously at times, since it sounds like what a toddler would call Goblins before they could use proper pronunciation.
- Despite there being a brave female secondary character, there were still a lot of gender stereotypes that the characters fell into and that was reinforced by the narration. General statements about what all girls are like and what all boys are like just annoy me.
The Sailweaver’s Son is a solid fantasy/steampunk hybrid and perfect for a younger teen looking for a fun adventure. I appreciated the realistic world-building despite the fantasy setting and found it easy to keep turning the pages.
Have you read this one? What did you think? Are you excited for it if you haven’t gotten to it yet?
The Sailweaver’s Son by Jeff Minerd
© 2016, Anya. All rights reserved.