Book Review – Free Sky by Alex Kroy
Title: Free Sky
Author: Alex Kroy
No of Pages: 152 in PDF Format
Synopsis: Born and raised in a sterile genetics laboratory, Sky has never known love, nor laughter nor human kindness. She even had to name herself. Sky knows she was born different, special – And for much more than her twelve-foot, raven wings too. She is good-hearted and kind with big hopes and dreams all her own, but the scientists who oversee Sky only value her as an experiment.
One night, Sky is given the chance to slip her bonds and fly from Iclandu, the secretive, island research facility that has been her only home since birth. She is ecstatic about her newfound freedom, but soon discovers life on the outside among “normal” people is harder than she imagines. Sky must overcome prejudice, mistrust, and the hazards of middle school life as she tries to make a new start for herself in this very different and confusing world of texting, popularity, and math class. Will she ever be able to make friends and adjust?
At the same time, Iclandu is not about to allow Sky to simply fly away. To what extremes will the devious researchers resort in recapturing their prized experiment, and what will Sky be willing to sacrifice to keep herself and her new friends safe? Her future is by no means certain, and she is continually forced to ask herself – Will she ever truly become Free Sky?
Pros: For a youngster who is in the 7th grade, Alex Kroy displays a maturity in his writing that is way beyond his age. His book ‘Free Sky’ is a story of a genetically modified child or (Mismunand) narrated in the first person. Alex writes with an easy flowing style making the book eminently readable. I really liked the title of the book ‘Free Sky’ which is a phrase that relates to freedom or independence for which all of us crave. Think of the number of people in this world who have died fighting for freedom! In Alex’s book this elusive freedom is sought by Sky who has been incarcerated in iclandu which is a research centre where geneticists are busy experimenting with the DNA of young children.
In the very first chapter of the book Sky manages to escape from iclandu and the book is about her experiences in the outside world. Sky has the ability to fly thanks to her twelve-foot wide raven wings. Sky comes across as a really lovable child and makes you want to pick her up and cuddle her. Sky befriends Jenny who takes care of her after some initial hesitation. I liked the character of Jenny too. Jenny sends Sky to a school where Sky has problems adjusting as the other children are hostile. The scene where Sky is bullied by senior boys is very vividly described.
Though most of her classmates do not like her and convey their hostility in no uncertain terms, Sky befriends Piper who is another girl in the class. Alex definitely brings out the characters of the people described in his book with aplomb. You can easily relate to them. The snatches of dreams which reveal the horrors of Sky’s past are also described well. After reading the book I sincerely wished I had the ability to fly though I would prefer to acquire it through Darwinian evolution and not genetic modification .
I loved Blue the pet Budgerigar Jenny purchases for Sky. The humorous conversations (in Avi which is a language spoken by Budgerigars and which Sky can also speak) between Blue and Sky made me laugh. The way Jenny convinces Sky to go back to school, takes care of her when she is hurt and Sky’s escapade with Max are all brought out well. The book ends on a positive note though I am not sure whether Alex meant to write a sequel to this book or leave it open ended which is how it is now. Both ways the ending is fine.
Cons: I did not find anything I can point out as a defect in the book. The only thing I can say is Alex could make the book move slightly faster. One way of doing that is to end each chapter on a note of suspense so that the reader immediately wants to know what happens next. Another thing I would like to mention is that if Alex is planning to write a sequel to this book then this ending is fine. But if he plans to leave it open-ended as it is now, then maybe a few loose ends need to be tied up.
Advise for improvement: There are a few things Alex could do to make the book a bit more interesting. For example Alex could introduce a particular scientist from iclandu whom Sky fears more than the others. Even a robot from iclandu’s security who hunts for escapees might be a good idea. Alex could perhaps add an encounter between Sky and the robot.
Conclusion: I see a very bright future for Alex Kroy as a writer. I am not sure whether Alex plans to take up writing as a career but I would definitely advise him to keep that option open in mind. Alex is interested in robotics. So it naturally figures that Science fiction is his forte. But despite that I would advice Alex to try other genres also. At this young age I don’t think one needs to establish a niche in writing. So Alex can try thrillers, horror, supernatural, humour etc. The more the merrier.
Rating: This book is written by a youngster in the 7th grade. I have read many books written by adults who do not show the same level of maturity in their writing. I am going with a 4.5/5 for Alex Kroy’s ‘Free Sky’. It is a really entertaining and well written book.