As Keith embarks on a journey to pick up his grieving cousig, he meets Malcolm, a self-important man who falls asleep and almost misses his stop. In the confusion, Malcolm accidentally takes Keith’s bag, so Keith tries to figure out how to find Malcolm to return his bag. After picking up Lulu, he decides to get off the train to swap bags. Incredibly, he finds Malcolm testing a flying device, but alas, Malcolm is too heavy and asks Keith to try it. Keith is amazed and deliriously happy when they ask for Keith’s help to share the device with his town, but when he considers how it is powered, he becomes troubled. Fossil fuels of all kinds were outlawed centuries before in order to save the dying planet, and Keith doesn’t want any trouble. He just wants to fly.
This book is simply not up to the standards of City of Ember, Prau’s previous classic. It is heavy-handed and preachy to a fault. While it is a quick read, its overall delivery is flat and lifeless. The characters are one-sided and simple. Reach for this one when there’s nothing else around.
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