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Fly by Night Paperback – February 19, 2008


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Series: Fly By Night
  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; Reprint edition (February 19, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060876301
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060876302
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 5.2 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #490,043 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Grade 5-9–Mosca, 12, and Eponymous Clent, a traveling wordsmith of dubious repute, become immersed in the intrigues of the city of Mandelion, where rival guilds vie for power with a pixilated Duke and his scheming sister. Initially awed by her confusing new surroundings, Mosca gradually pieces together important truths about the realm and her place within it. Through rich, colorful language and a sure sense of plot and pacing, Hardinge has created a distinctly imaginative world full of engaging characters, robust humor, and true suspense. Readers get to know the realm and its people through the interactions between Mosca and a well-drawn cast of supporting characters. While she tries to judge right from wrong within the complex plots that ensnare her, she finds that few of the people she meets are as simple as they first seem. Vying religious beliefs also play a part in the fate of the realm, and the details develop neatly as the adventures progress. Plot twists, lively dialogue, and the antics of Mosca's fierce pet goose add plenty of humor. The conclusion addresses the value of words in a satisfying manner. This sophisticated tale is not for everyone. Some readers may struggle to keep track of the complex politics, history, and religion in Mosca's world, but those who appreciate the inventive plots of Cornelia Funke and Jonathan Stroud or Lloyd Alexander's colorful prose should thoroughly enjoy this highly original adventure.–Steven Engelfried, Beaverton City Library, OR
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Gr. 6-9. Taught to read by her scholar father, orphaned book lover Mosca Mye is an anomaly in a culture where literature is highly suspect and tightly controlled. When silver-tongued poet-spy Eponymous Clent passes through her village, the word-starved 12-year-old stubbornly installs herself as his traveling companion, serving as his uneasy accomplice in a mission that exposes the cutthroat intrigues roiling the surface of her troubled fantasy realm. Plot elements featuring intellectual and religious oppression carry a cumbersome philosophical load, tempered by a richly constructed backdrop incorporating Mosca's belligerent pet goose, eccentric floating coffeehouses, and a folk religion honoring household deities such as "He Who Keeps Flies Out of Jams and Butterchurns." The relish for "words, words, wonderful words" sometimes seems more Hardinge's idiosyncracy than her protagonist's, especially as dense political upheavals begin to supersede Mosca's personal goals. Even so, the character's ferocity and authentic inner turmoil, both reminiscent of Philip Pullman's Lyra Belacqua, may buoy patient readers through this overlong but charismatic first novel. Jennifer Mattson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

I will be keeping this to read many times.
Mum to future
I think the author is as brilliant with crafting their words as their two main characters.
Skyfeather2
There are children out there who read voraciously.
E. R. Bird

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

72 of 78 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on February 23, 2006
Format: Hardcover
As I write this review, it is February 2006. The year, such as it is, is about a sixth over. There is plenty of time for original stories to be published, new works of fiction to pop-up overnight, and fabulous samples of writing to catch the eye. On some level, I know this. I accept it. But then I look down on my review copy of "Fly By Night" and my eyes practically fill with tears. I am looking, you see, at my favorite book of 2006. I already know this. Oh sure, back in January I was sure that my favorite book of 2006 was going to be Karen Cushman's, "The Loud Silence of Francine Green". But while my love for "Francine" is just as clear and concise as ever, Frances Hardinge's whopper of a first novel has truly stolen my heart away. Not since Philip Pullman has a book created such a finely wrought and delicately planned out alternative world. But unlike Pullman (who has his charms BUT) Hardinge's book has a distinct advantage over its competitors. It's brilliant, yes. Well-plotted, well-paced, and well-characterized, yes. But it is also drop dead funny. We're talking about a book in which a girl named after a housefly with a pipe in her teeth goes prancing across the country with her homicidal goose in tow. I haven't a clue if children will actually like this book. Quite frankly, I do not care. I love it as deeply as I have ever loved any title and you can put THAT in your own pipe and smoke it.

Mosca Mye didn't quite intend to burn up her aunt and uncle's mill while escaping from the overly sodden town of Chough. This much we know. She did, however, have every intention of freeing a rapscallion caught in the stocks that very night. The man's name is Eponymous Clent and he's a con man of the most florid degree.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Meerkat on October 27, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This is a sophisticated tale, full of atmosphere and adventure. The language is as rich as a fruitcake, so it won't appeal to reluctant readers. Kids with reading ages ahead of their years will find it a delight, however. There are too few books that cater for the other end of the spectrum - challenging language and complicated concepts,whilst remaining emotionally appropriate.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Amanda Richards HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 10, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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, June 11, 2006
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By C. Stephens on January 28, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Twelve-year-old Mosca Mye, orphaned by her exiled intellectual father, runs off in search of books and adventure. The books are hard to come by since most of them have been burnt in great bonfires (unapproved books are thought of as nasty things whose words crawl about in the brain until they drive one mad). Adventure, however, is found around every corner in this twisty, surprising story, which follows Mosca, her ferocious and heroic goose companion, and the questionable wordsmith Eponymous Clent on a quest for survival in the city of Mandelion. Unfortunately, Mandelion is a tinderbox of madness, corruption, plotting Guilds, and a kindling war just waiting for Mosca's unwitting spark to set it off. Mosca reminds me of a Philip Pullman's Lyra in that feisty "I'll do what I think is right even though everyone says no" sort of way--though she's not heroic in the ordinary sense. Frances Hardinge's writing style is a feast of vivid description, dead-on dialogue and the occasional portrait of human gestures that are both accurate and hilarious. In a world where religious intolerance and censorship are the norm, Mosca yearns for the chance to choose for herself what is right and discovers that maybe books aren't as dangerous as she's been told. An absolute joy to read, Fly By Night is the best intermediate fantasy novel I've read since Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials Trilogy.
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