‘TOWARD A SECRET SKY’: YA Contemporary Fantasy Set in Scotland

June 8, 2017 6 Comments

‘TOWARD A SECRET SKY’: YA Contemporary Fantasy Set in Scotland. Review of the 2017 YA fantasy from Blink YA Books. Text © Rissi JC

Maren Hamilton has had not one but two tough breaks in her short 17 years. First, the day she was born when her father died. And now, some 17 years later, her mother dies leaving her without her best friend. In the aftermath, Maren is sent to Scotland to live with the grandparent’s she’s never known – the grandparents who never approved of her mother.

As she tries to adapt to life with strangers let along the adjustment gap of a new country, Maren discovers secrets about her parents. Not only is she troubled with this, she also meets an otherworldly creature named Gavin, a handsome guy, who also has connections to this secret world.

Toward a Secret Sky, by Heather MaClean | Book Review

Though they’ve enjoyed immense popularity, I’ve not read any of the Shadowhunter novels by Cassandra Clare. I have seen the TV show and film based on the novels and read the YA fantasy Unblemished. The latter is, in my opinion, an example of what the Shadowhunter stories might have been. ‘Sky’ has similar vibes.

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‘TOWARD A SECRET SKY’: YA Contemporary Fantasy Set in Scotland #FWarchives #FantasyFiction #YALit Click To Tweet

Demons and angels are traditionally not my kind of story. I’m not a fan of that particular brand of good vs. evil battle.  That said, the adventure of ‘Sky’ does evolve into a unique, page-turning story. Readers’ race alongside Maren to learn about the secrets her family kept, and discover the implications and danger they pose to her future. The prose engages the reader from the start of this novel. It’s fast-paced and the heroine is immediately someone we sympathize with. Her plight is revealed in the first chapter which leads us to have a sense of her, and as the story progresses, to feel an emotional connection.

Though not a make or break fumble (in my opinion), this book does have a case of “insta-love.” Or perhaps that’s not the term so much as immediate fascination? Either way the results leaves Maren thinking about someone waiting for her as a groom, only to rebound by mentally chastising herself because she doesn’t know him. The story is docked a bit for me because the romance does spiral into a kind of unhealthy example of teen love. It goes from attraction to not being able to live without someone, and it doesn’t flow naturally.

Aside from the few flaws I felt hindered the story, this is a fun, easy-to-enjoy story. The end has a cliffhanger which leads me to believe a sequel is in the plans. Either way, it’s a story that begs for further exploration and resolution. Look no further for you sci-fi fix on that summer reading list. Pick up Toward a Secret Sky; it’s a story sure to make you flip pages long into the night.


(Disclosure: this post does contain affiliate links; if you buy anything through these links, I may receive a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you. Thank you to anyone who makes a purchase through these links. Read the disclosure page for details.)

Author: Heather Maclean
Publisher: Blink
Publication Date: 2017
Genre: Young Adult Fiction; Fantasy, Contemporary
Source: Publisher provided ARC – thank you!
Shop the Book: Bookshop.orgGoodreads
FIND the REVIEW ELSEWHERE: Amazon |  Goodreads 
Rating: ★★★ 1/2 out of 5

Sincere thanks to the publisher for providing a complimentary ARC.

About Rissi JC

amateur graphic designer. confirmed bookaholic. bubbl’r enthusiast. critical thinker. miswesterner. social media coordinator. writer.

Rissi JC

amateur graphic designer. confirmed bookaholic. bubbl’r enthusiast. critical thinker. miswesterner. social media coordinator. writer.

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  • Erica Hatch June 8, 2017 at 9:50 PM

    What a stunning cover! Bummer that is has some insta-love going on.

    • Rissi June 13, 2017 at 4:36 AM

      Right?? That always knocks down the rating. *sigh*

      I agree. This cover IS stunning, and I love the armchair adventure its pages hold.

      Thanks so much for stopping by, Erica! :)

  • Jordan @ForeverLostinLiterature June 9, 2017 at 3:32 PM

    This one sounds rather interesting, I hadn't heard of it before now. The insta-love aspect gets quite tedious, but there do seem to be some redeeming aspects. I'll have to look into this one more, I really enjoyed your review!

    • Rissi June 13, 2017 at 4:38 AM

      Thanks, Jordan! I enjoyed a lot about this, and honestly do like it better than Shadowhunters (TV show). I just couldn't get past some of the romance issues.

      Hope you enjoy this one if you read it. :)

  • Tarissa June 11, 2017 at 6:36 PM

    I always like to hear about new books set in Scotland. One of the dreamiest places on earth!!


    • Rissi June 13, 2017 at 4:40 AM

      I've never been, Tarissa, but if the photos or TV shows are any indication, I can only imagine it's beautiful. Perhaps someday I'll visit! :)

      Thank you for visiting.

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