Fledgling - Lucy Hope; | Foyles Bookstore
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Fledgling (Paperback)

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A dark, gothic adventure set deep in a Bavarian forest, with angels and owls and magic and a boy who isn't all that he seems to be...

A cherub is blown into Cassie Engel's bedroom during a thunderstorm, triggering a series of terrifying events. Cassie must discover if its arrival was an accident or part of something more sinister.

With a self-obsessed opera singer for a mother, a strange taxidermist father, and a best friend who isn't quite what he seems, Cassie is forced to unearth the secrets of her family's past. As the dark forces gather around them, can Cassie protect all that she holds dear?

The fantastic debut novel from Lucy Hope, with cover illustration by Anna Shepeta.

Children'sFiction & true storiesAdventure storiesThrillersChildren'sFiction & true storiesFantasy & magical realism Publisher: Nosy Crow Ltd Publication Date: 04/11/2021 ISBN-13: 9781839941887  Details: Type: Paperback Format: Books
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Lucy Hope grew up in North Wales, though now she lives in the Cotswolds. After jobs ranging from managing telecoms products to working in schools, she did a master's degree in Writing for Young People at Bath Spa university. Fledgling is her first novel.

More books by Lucy Hope

Customer Reviews

Cassie Engel lives with her parents in a peculiar house on the top of a rock, at the edge of the Bratvian Forest. Her mother Gabriele spends her days up in her tower music room, singing to the heavens in practice for her next role at the opera. Cassie’s father who has never been the same since the war spends his days doing shoddy taxidermy, and his nights deep in a bottle of schnapps. When a strange angelic creature is blown in Cassie’s window during a storm, suddenly everything is about to change. The only person she can trust is her best friend Raphael, but even he seems to be hiding something. Will she be able to figure out what’s going on before it’s too late? When I found out this book was a supernatural, gothic tale set on the edge of a German forest, I snatched it up immediately. I was excited by the odd idea of a cherub being blown in your window by a storm, and was intrigued about where this story was going to go - and anyone who knows me knows that I am a sucker for anything even vaguely Gothic. One thing I would have really benefited from realising before diving into this book is that it’s actually a kid’s book, aimed at ages 9+, where I had somehow gotten the impression that it was aimed at young adults. I had the distinct feeling through the first half of playing make-believe as a kid. The storytelling was so simple and straightforward, dot-to-dot-to-dot. The story is absurd and strange, but it’s so plainly told, It felt like a story my 5 year old niece might tell me – “an angel flew in my window, so I sent a message to my best friend on a secret code machine, and we went to the library to find out how to take care of it. We immediately found a book about angels (of course) but there were scary pictures of big storm-birds so we stopped looking. Also there were a lot of stuffed owls.” This is truly a very strange book, which is not necessarily a bad thing. It felt like the Addams family (although the Addams family is somehow far more functional) meets a steampunk fairytale. I think it would make a fun cartoon. The writing style was not my absolute favourite, it was rather simplistic and had a vibe I didn’t quite get on with. However I really rate the imagination involved, and the wild plot points that came out of nowhere. It’s been a while since I read something so peculiar, so this book gets kudos for that. I would recommend this book for imaginative kids who love stories like the Series of Unfortunate Events, Artemis Fowl and fairytales. I am not sure if I would recommend this to a nine year old, I may say it was more suitable for 11 or 12 years and up. There are frequent references to alcohol abuse, as well as some fantasy violence which involves blood, and there is a featured disfunctional marriage.

- 03/02/2022
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Wow I liked reading this book so much and I am definitely planning on reading more books written by this author! My favourite genre of book is usually psychological thrillers therefore this book was a welcomed break from this theme. The cover of the book was eye-catching and the title also got my attention straight away as I was wondering what 'Fledgling' meant. Moreover sometimes when I read fantasy books I get confused with all the new terminology that is included, however I did not find I had this issue with this book which was fantastic. The book kept talking about secrets within the family and this kept me wanting to read more so I can find out what the secrets were all about. I have already recommended this book to family and friends and hopefully they will enjoy this book as much as I have and I look forward to discussing the storyline with them.

- 01/12/2021
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I loved this book! This is a wonderfully gothic-fantasy Middle-Grade tale for all ages. Cassie Engel's life is turned upside down when a cherub is blown into her bedroom during a storm, and with the help of her friend Gabriel, it's up to her to discover what danger is gathering in the dark. The action kicks off right from the very start, and the story doesn't let up throughout. I picked this one up for the setting and plot, and stayed for the characters. They were fully fleshed out, and so well developed. I adored going on this adventure with them, and they touched my heart. This is a poignant tale of family and friendship, of bravery and of loss. What a treasure of a book, I highly recommend. This was my first book from this author, but I will be looking out for what they write next. Thanks so much to Nosy Crow for the advance copy in exchange for an honest review.

- 06/11/2021
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Lucy Hope’s debut novel is an atmospheric gothic adventure set in Bavaria in 1900 where Cassie Engel’s lives in a rather idiosyncratic house originally built by her great-great-grandfather on top of a rock that overlooks the small town of Edenburg and the forest. Cassie doesn’t have the easiest home life with a distant and self-obsessed mother who is an opera singer and an alcoholic taxidermist father who has never recovered from the war. Her grandma is seriously ill and reliant on a morphine pump to ease her pain and even the family maid is elderly, meaning most of the running of the house falls to sensible Cassie, including caring for a collection of stuffed owls. Life gets ever more complicated for Cassie when during a treacherous thunderstorm a cherub is blown through her bedroom window. The story is written from the first-person perspective of Cassie which works well as it gives the reader a real understanding of Cassie’s frustration at her mother, bemusement at her father and worries about what the cherub’s arrival might mean. Her gentle best-friend, Raphael, joins her to scour the library for more information about the cherub but even he is acting oddly. When Cassie is attacked in the forest by a menacing vulture-like creature with foul breath called a Sturmfalken, she believes it is the growling cherub that she has to thank for protecting her. When Cassie and Raphael meet an old woman in the forest with a bizarre story about Raphael’s birth and he reveals to Cassie what has been worrying him, it leads to an emotional second half. To be honest I felt like the story took a few too many detours without offering much in the way of clarification or pointers in the right direction and leaving it right until the denouement to tie everything together in a rather disquieting manner. I certainly wouldn’t give this book to my middle grade age niece and I am in two minds about whether to give it to my sensitive 13 year-old niece. Either way, the storyline has the potential to confuse and I didn’t feel there was much in the way of logical progression from one scene to the next. Admittedly the story does come together but in has the feel of a dark and unsettling fairy tale that may well leave middle grade readers with some serious questions. Both my nieces like fantasy novels but Fledgling definitely has a heavier feel than I can imagine either of them being comfortable with as well as several characters who are belatedly revealed as not all they first appear. Far and away the best thing for me about this novel was the vividly imagined house on top of a tall rock with a helter-skelter road blasted into the rock face and complete with owlery and a zip wire to move between floors. The descriptions of the features added by different generations of the family were well-drawn and engagingly told and I think I could have read a book about Cassie’s unique home alone!

- 30/10/2021
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