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Fly By Night Paperback – Unabridged, 7 Jan 2011

4.3 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books; Reprints edition (7 Jan. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330418262
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330418263
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.6 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 29,263 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Everyone should read Frances Hardinge. Everyone. Right now. (Patrick Ness)

Book Description

From the winner of the Costa Children's Book Award 2015. Stunningly original, fabulously inventive and packed with humour and wit

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on 15 Oct. 2005
Format: Hardcover
I'd like to echo what Laura from Oxford has said. Fly By Night is a wonderfully lyrical, inventive book with witty dialogue and strong characterization. Children should find a magical historical world to inhabit while their Eponymous Clent-like parents will marvel at the language and ideas. Not since Philip Pullman's Lyra have I encountered such an engaging, feisty heroine - not to mention the goose. Very highly recommended.
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Format: Hardcover
Combines a very well-thought-out alternate 18th century with plenty of twisty intrigue, complicated and multilayered supporting cast, vivid description, witty and memorable dialogue, a powerful discussion of freedom of thought and a splendidly tough and sympathetic heroine. The goose is superb too. Thoroughly recommended for anyone over the age of twelve.
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Format: Paperback
My daughter (10) was given this book for Christmas. She reads extremely well but is not very sophisticated yet, perhaps. She struggled and stopped, so I tried instead...and was completely hooked: Fly by Night is a sizzling, exciting adventure-cum-detective story full of a complex blend of fantasy and history, written by someone who is clearly in love with words and books. I recommend it to young at heart adults, teenagers, and any child who is precocious enough to give it a go.
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Format: Hardcover
This is the story of a young girl born in The Fractured Realm, a fictional place vaguely resembling eighteenth century England. Citizens of the Realm worship a multitude of gods, named "The Beloved", individual "beloveds" being determined by the day and time of the person's birth. The girl is born at dusk on the sacred day of Goodman Palpitattle, He Who Keeps Flies out of Jams and Butter Churns, and because of this, she is named Mosca (The Fly) by her widowed father. Due to the lack of a son, her father teaches her the forbidden art of reading, thereby making the girl unique in this ability, and an endangered species later on in the story.

After the death of her father, Mosca goes to live in a watery town named Chough, doing the accounts and generally being a slave to her uncle. For company she keeps an aggressive goose named Saracen who doubles as a guard goose and body guard.

When she crosses paths with a man of many words but of dubious character named Eponymous Clent, she immediately feels a sort of kinship to him, and while saving him from the long arm of the law, she accidentally becomes an arsonist and fugitive.

The story follows this unlikely pair through a series of dangerous adventures, including the search for an illegal printing press, a secret subversive school, and interacting with various groups of influential people who are looking to increase their power by fair means or foul. On the subject of "fowl", Saracen also plays a vital role throughout the story.

The characterization in this book is superb, and the plot brilliantly imaginative, but it is a bit lengthy at 483 pages and complicated in its political intrigue for the average young reader. Never-the-less, for older readers and well-read children, this book stands out as being different to anything you've read before.

Rated 4.5 stars

Amanda Richards
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Format: Hardcover
Like many good fantasy books, the world of Fly By Night is rich with its own unique geography, religions and politics. All of this is carefully and consistently laid out, so that the readers are able to transport themselves to that other world, to see the action as it unfolds and to enjoyment exploring the new world as much the story itself.
But what sets Frances Hardinge’s work apart as truly exceptional is her obvious love of language and the talent she has to express that love so clearly through her writing. The book contains words like “mendacity” and “mellifluous,” and the instead of being gusty the “feverish wind sighed and settled.”
It is a joy to read a fantasy book written by someone who knows what a metaphor is and can use it to produce such vivid and entertaining images as the following:
“The path was a troublesome, fretful thing. It worried that it was missing a view of the opposite hills and insisted on climbing for a better look. Then it found the breeze uncommonly chill and ducked back among the trees.”
While there are signs that suggest that this is Frances Hardinge’s first major work, they are not imperfections as much as the growing pains of an artist maturing into her art. In the years to come I intend to read this work, and hopefully many more Hardinge classics, to my children in the hopes that some of Frances’s imagination and passion for language rubs off.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
BRIEF SUMMARY WITHOUT GIVING AWAY TOO MUCH: when the story begins, Mosca Mye, a twelve year old orphan living with her cruel aunt and uncle in a mill in the dreary village of Chough, burns down the mill accidentally (?) and escapes with her feisty goose, Saracen. She falls in with a mysterious man, Eponymous Clent, who is a poet and wordsmith, and it turns out possibly a spy for the stationers' guild. The world in which they live is like an alternative eighteenth century England, where people worship a multitude of small gods called 'The Beloved' (all with superb names). Some time previously, the country has been under the grip of the infamous 'Birdcatchers' (sort of like the Puritans) but it is now ruled by the various guilds, particularly the stationers and the locksmiths. Mosca travels with Eponymous to Mandelion , a big city, where there are floating coffee houses, a mad duke, a mysterious duchess, underground teachers, spies, animal fighting, political intrigue and a secret printing press...

As others have said on this site, Hardinge is a fine writer with a poetical style - there is a richness of imagery (particularly personification) which elevates her novels above the run of common-or-garden fantasy writers, though this in itself is of course a matter of personal taste. She allies this interesting style with an original imagination - she has created a convincing, if fantastical, world, derived like all fantasy from previously existing ideas but taking these to new places. The novel is well-paced, with a compelling plot, and though she herself describes it, slightly dismissively, as a 'yarn', it is better than many yarns I've read recently in the same genre. She tackles 'big ideas' for one thing - freedom of thought, freedom of speech, religious toleration.
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