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    A well crafted story in an exciting setting

    This novel is set on floating islands inhabited with cultures inspired by Renaissance Spain and France. It is a world where airship sail in uncharted skies and scientific thought is developing, but also where religion is still heavily involved in secular life and royal courts abound with intrigue. These themes are woven into the background of the adventures of the two main characters; Isabelle, a witty and eloquent scientist, and Jean-Claude, her jack-of-all-trades guardian. They unravel mysteries of the royal courts and fight to stay alive while doing that. I was impressed by the pacing of this novel: mystery and action are interspersed in such a way that neither gets tedious or overstays its welcome but both get satisfying development and conclusion. My only complaint is that Isabelle is too perfect. She is a very fun main character but it's a bit of a stretch that a recluse young woman can at the same time be an ingenious scientist, an eloquent diplomat and a quick-thinking schemer.

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