The Sky Village (Kaimira Series #1)

( 3 )

Overview

From a village made of hot-air balloons to a subterranean battle arena, two young people struggle to discover who and what they are — and how to use the astonishing powers they share.

High over China, twelve-year-old Mei arrives at the Sky Village, an intricate web of hot-air balloons floating above an Earth where animals battle machines for control. Deep below the ruins of Las Vegas, thirteen-year-old Rom enters a shadowy world where he is commandeered to fight, ...

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Overview

From a village made of hot-air balloons to a subterranean battle arena, two young people struggle to discover who and what they are — and how to use the astonishing powers they share.

High over China, twelve-year-old Mei arrives at the Sky Village, an intricate web of hot-air balloons floating above an Earth where animals battle machines for control. Deep below the ruins of Las Vegas, thirteen-year-old Rom enters a shadowy world where he is commandeered to fight, gladiator-style, against hybrid demons for the entertainment of a mercenary crowd. Mei and Rom have never met, but they share a common journal — a book that allows them to communicate with each other and reveals that they carry the strange and frightening Kaimira gene, entwining aspects of human, beast, and machine within their very DNA. In this thrilling, intricately plotted novel, Mei and Rom must find the courage to balance the powers that lurk within — and overcome outside forces that seek to destroy them — if they are to survive and save the ones they love.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Sky Village

Hundreds of hot-air balloons bobbed in the wind, their baskets tied together with long stretches of rope. From the ground, the Sky Village looked like a giant net, poised to capture the clouds as it drifted far above. Mei strained her eyes to make out the figures painted on the two closest balloons-a dragon and a phoenix, both symbols of power.

Mei had glimpsed the Sky Village only a few times in her life as it passed high over Luo Ye Village, like a parade of upside-down teardrops gliding across the sunrise. Now it was making a rare descent, on her account. But Mei did not want this special honor. She wished a sudden great gust of wind would blow the whole village high into the sky, far away from her and the home she wasn't ready to leave.

She and her father stood on the peak of the highest mountain in the region, the lowest point to which the sky villagers were willing to descend. Mei's father squeezed her hand as he glanced nervously at the trees just beyond the clearing. Mei hadn't seen the meks chasing them, but she'd heard them clanking through the trees. She and her father had lost them by scrambling up a pass that was too steep for their metallic bodies.

Mei could see the woven bamboo of the baskets, and laundry hung on lengths of rope, flapping in the wind. The few sky villagers who were awake this early in the morning waved greetings to Mei as they walked across ropes from one basket to the next. They seemed completely unconcerned about the dangers on the ground.

A small balloon near the front suddenly dropped below the rest. A woman wearing a feathered vest unhooked the ropes connecting her balloon to the others and let go of all but one. She appeared to be in her early twenties, with four beauty marks under her left eye in the shape of an animal footprint. She adjusted the flame until the balloon hovered just above the ground. She smiled and nodded at Mei and her father. Mei summoned the cold frown she had been practicing for this moment as her father greeted the woman.

"You've grown up, Ai-ling," he said.

"And you've grown old, Kai." She laughed, then turned serious. "You promised you'd look after Pei-shan."

"I'll find her," Mei's father said. "But there's no time to talk now. The meks are right behind us."

"Don't worry," Ai-ling said. "We never touch ground for long. Say your good-byes."

How could her father be so polite at a time like this? Yes, he had asked the Sky Village to take Mei away for safekeeping, but he was losing valuable time. Every moment he spent in conversation with these people, the farther away the mek army took her mother. Besides, Mei didn't need safekeeping;
she needed to help find her mother! Since that morning, when Mei's father braided her hair into a neat rope, there had been near silence between them. Now, as he kissed her on the forehead and rested his hands on her shoulders, Mei tried to fight off tears. It was no use. She wanted to hug her father just as much as she wanted to pound on his chest for making her go. She wiped her eyes with her sleeve.

Mei's father's hands were strong and warm, and they made her feel safe. Maybe she could still convince him! But she knew her father never changed his mind.

"Mei, you'll be safer in the Sky Village. You were born here. These are your mother's people."

"I was only a baby when we left," Mei said, looking into his eyes. "They won't even remember me."

Her father turned away, shaking his head. "Father, I should come with you," Mei said. "I can help you track those machines."

"You're going to fight meks? I've made too many sacrifices to keep you safe. You're my little dragonfly."

"But I'm not little anymore," Mei insisted. "Mother needs me. You need me."

Ai-ling turned away while they argued. At least she was decent enough to mind her own business, Mei thought. Perhaps she could see what Father couldn't-that sending Mei away was a terrible mistake.

"Dragonfly," her father said, "you can help me from the safety of the sky. The sky villagers are information traders. Learn from them, and help me find your mother."

"But how? Why can't I just go with you?"

He looked at her a moment, with an intensity she'd never seen in his eyes. He pulled a small book out of his pocket and held it out to her.

"The Tree Book," Mei said. It was the book of faraway stories her mother had read to her every night as far back as she could remember. She'd never allowed Mei to touch it or look inside its pages. Mei reached for it, but Kai pulled it away.

"Pay attention. There's a reason we could never let you touch this book. But there's no other option now. You have to guard it. But Dragonfly, you must not open it. You aren't ready yet."

"It's just a book. I won't break it."

"It's not just a book. Guarding what's inside this book is the most important thing you will ever do."

VOYA - Lynne Farrell Stover
Across the planet from one another, in a post-apocalyptic world fraught with constant peril, Mei and Rom fight for survival. Mei, hovering over China's desolate landscape in a community of refugees living in hot-air balloons, struggles to find her purpose in her world's highly ritualistic social order. Rom, fighting to save his sister in the caves under what is left of Las Vegas, must learn the complex rules of a decadent and demented society. These two exceptional young people find comfort when they discover they can communicate with each other through the assistance of the magical Tree Book, which holds sinister secrets of its own. The theme of balance threads together the tales of the two complex protagonists. Mei must learn to balance her physical body as she maneuvers herself on the ropes that weave together the Sky Village. Rom's challenge is to balance his emotions as he conjures his inner demons (literally) into reality in order to survive in the vile underground gambling arena. Much what these compelling heroes work to control, however, is internal. They both carry the unique kaimira gene that connects them and allows for communication with the world's warring factions, the maverick machines (meks) and the packs of ferocious, fearless beasts. With strong characters of both genders, terrifyingly unpredictable villains, frightening futuristic settings, and wonderfully written action sequences, this book, first in a planned series of five, should have crossover appeal for fans of adventure, science fiction, and fantasy. Reviewer: Lynne Farrell Stover
Kirkus Reviews
This dull post-apocalyptic fantasy opens a new series. Beasts (wild animals, all working together) and meks (robots originally created to serve humans) roam free and violent across the globe, while humans struggle to survive. In decrepit Las Vegas, 13-year-old Rom scrambles for scraps of food for his sister Riley. When their father shows up having gone "beast"-humans sometimes melt down by becoming similar to beasts or meks-Rom and Riley obey his order to fetch an object from underground. They find the Demon Caves, where slave-owning gangster Diamond Teeth imprisons Riley and forces Rom into deadly, demon-channeling coliseum fights. In China, 12-year-old Mei unwillingly leaves Luo Ye Village to join Sky Village, a community held continuously aloft by hot-air balloons. Mei and Rom meet from afar via the Tree Book (a dystopic, graceless version of Barbara Lehman's 2005 Caldecott Honor-winning Red Book). Both have the rare Kaimira gene-they're genetically mek and beast as well as human. Mediocre prose with vague mechanics; steer sky adventurers to Kenneth Oppel's Airborn (2004) instead. (Fantasy. 10-13)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780763635244
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 7/8/2008
  • Series: Kaimira , #1
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 1,166,895
  • Age range: 10 years
  • Lexile: 780L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Monk and Nigel Ashland are writing partners and longtime fans of fantasy fiction and anime who have done research on the intersection of kids and technology. This is their first book. They live in Chicago.

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Read an Excerpt

Sky Village

Hundreds of hot-air balloons bobbed in the wind, their baskets tied together with long stretches of rope. From the ground, the Sky Village looked like a giant net, poised to capture the clouds as it drifted far above. Mei strained her eyes to make out the figures painted on the two closest balloons-a dragon and a phoenix, both symbols of power.

Mei had glimpsed the Sky Village only a few times in her life as it passed high over Luo Ye Village, like a parade of upside-down teardrops gliding across the sunrise. Now it was making a rare descent, on her account. But Mei did not want this special honor. She wished a sudden great gust of wind would blow the whole village high into the sky, far away from her and the home she wasn't ready to leave.

She and her father stood on the peak of the highest mountain in the region, the lowest point to which the sky villagers were willing to descend. Mei's father squeezed her hand as he glanced nervously at the trees just beyond the clearing. Mei hadn't seen the meks chasing them, but she'd heard them clanking through the trees. She and her father had lost them by scrambling up a pass that was too steep for their metallic bodies.

Mei could see the woven bamboo of the baskets, and laundry hung on lengths of rope, flapping in the wind. The few sky villagers who were awake this early in the morning waved greetings to Mei as they walked across ropes from one basket to the next. They seemed completely unconcerned about the dangers on the ground.

A small balloon near the front suddenly dropped below the rest. A woman wearing a feathered vest unhooked the ropes connecting her balloon to the others and let go of all but one. She appeared to be in her early twenties, with four beauty marks under her left eye in the shape of an animal footprint. She adjusted the flame until the balloon hovered just above the ground. She smiled and nodded at Mei and her father. Mei summoned the cold frown she had been practicing for this moment as her father greeted the woman.

"You've grown up, Ai-ling," he said.

"And you've grown old, Kai." She laughed, then turned serious. "You promised you'd look after Pei-shan."

"I'll find her," Mei's father said. "But there's no time to talk now. The meks are right behind us."

"Don't worry," Ai-ling said. "We never touch ground for long. Say your good-byes."

How could her father be so polite at a time like this? Yes, he had asked the Sky Village to take Mei away for safekeeping, but he was losing valuable time. Every moment he spent in conversation with these people, the farther away the mek army took her mother. Besides, Mei didn't need safekeeping; she needed to help find her mother! Since that morning, when Mei's father braided her hair into a neat rope, there had been near silence between them. Now, as he kissed her on the forehead and rested his hands on her shoulders, Mei tried to fight off tears. It was no use. She wanted to hug her father just as much as she wanted to pound on his chest for making her go. She wiped her eyes with her sleeve.

Mei's father's hands were strong and warm, and they made her feel safe. Maybe she could still convince him! But she knew her father never changed his mind.

"Mei, you'll be safer in the Sky Village. You were born here. These are your mother's people."

"I was only a baby when we left," Mei said, looking into his eyes. "They won't even remember me."

Her father turned away, shaking his head. "Father, I should come with you," Mei said. "I can help you track those machines."

"You're going to fight meks? I've made too many sacrifices to keep you safe. You're my little dragonfly."

"But I'm not little anymore," Mei insisted. "Mother needs me. You need me."

Ai-ling turned away while they argued. At least she was decent enough to mind her own business, Mei thought. Perhaps she could see what Father couldn't-that sending Mei away was a terrible mistake.

"Dragonfly," her father said, "you can help me from the safety of the sky. The sky villagers are information traders. Learn from them, and help me find your mother."

"But how? Why can't I just go with you?"

He looked at her a moment, with an intensity she'd never seen in his eyes. He pulled a small book out of his pocket and held it out to her.

"The Tree Book," Mei said. It was the book of faraway stories her mother had read to her every night as far back as she could remember. She'd never allowed Mei to touch it or look inside its pages. Mei reached for it, but Kai pulled it away.

"Pay attention. There's a reason we could never let you touch this book. But there's no other option now. You have to guard it. But Dragonfly, you must not open it. You aren't ready yet."

"It's just a book. I won't break it."

"It's not just a book. Guarding what's inside this book is the most important thing you will ever do."

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 7, 2008

    Awesome book!

    This was an awsome book with thrills, action, and tension. It was funny in many parts and had great characters. The only thing that bothered me was that the ending left me wanting more. I can't wait till the next book comes out so I can satisfy that need for more!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2010

    Recommemded by Language Arts teacher

    This book was recommeded by my granddaughters Language Arts teacher. I have not read it and She has not had an opportunity to finish it with school going on at this time.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 29, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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