*Cover picture from Goodreads.com
I read this trilogy years ago when I was teaching young adult novels, and the series was new. I had a student recommend it to me. I had a hard time when that happened because, while I could read something I did not love and match it to a kid who would, kids would often try to recommend a book to me that I just knew I did not want to read (and would probably not be able to recommend to many other kids). I had trouble reading something just because I did not want to hurt a student's feelings! This book was one of those recommendations. A teenage boy said, "You HAVE to read these books!" Because of who the student was, and because I was between books at the time, I reluctantly checked out this first one. I loved it. It is a hard book to describe, and I think it only works for an audience who has a creative mind, likes fantasy books that are a bit out there and kind of historical, and a reader who can handle the "girl masquerading as a boy" situation found in it. Deryn is in the British Air Force, but this is a time period (World War I-ish) when there are two groups of people: those who use machines and those who alter animals to use as weapons and machines or sorts. She ends up helping Prince Aleksander, running for his life, as she hides who she really is in this world of men. It sounds so far out there, but the best way I can describe it is that it is just neat. It's a really different trilogy that is creative and fresh and has adventure that I had no issues picturing as I read. It also has fantastic illustrations that will appeal to young readers.