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The Story of Cirrus Flux Hardcover – Deckle Edge, February 23, 2010


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This Book Is Bound with "Deckle Edge" Paper
You may have noticed that some of our books are identified as "deckle edge" in the title. Deckle edge books are bound with pages that are made to resemble handmade paper by applying a frayed texture to the edges. Deckle edge is an ornamental feature designed to set certain titles apart from books with machine-cut pages. See a larger image.

Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 840L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers (February 23, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 038573381X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385733816
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,019,629 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 4–7—In an alternate 18th-century London, 12-year-old Cirrus Flux is one of the oldest orphans at the foundling hospital and he is still waiting to be selected for an apprenticeship. He suddenly becomes the object of interest to members of the mysterious "Guild" because of a magical orb his father once possessed. At the same time, Pandora is sent from the foundling hospital to work for the mysterious mesmerist, Madame Orrery. The two orphans end up embroiled in intrigue surrounding the orb and try to prevent it from falling into unfriendly hands. They are aided by Mr. Hardy, who travels in a hot-air balloon kept aloft by a flame-feathered bird. This is a fast-paced, plot-driven story. The motivations of the characters are occasionally unclear and the world building a bit uneven. However, readers who are drawn into the action won't have a great deal of time to worry about these issues. Cirrus and Pandora are likable and self-reliant main characters. Unfortunately, the ending may feel like a letdown to some, since it's never clear exactly what purpose the power contained in Cirrus's orb could serve. Still, young readers who are looking for books like Eoin Colfer's Airman (Hyperion, 2008) and Philip Reeve's Larklight (Bloomsbury, 2006) and its sequels should enjoy Cirrus's adventures.—Kristin Anderson, Columbus Metropolitan Library System, OH
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Skelton (Endymion Spring, 2006) neatly weaves touches of fantasy into a late-eighteenth-century London setting. The story begins in the Antarctic Circle, where seaman James Flux discovers an ethereal substance known as God’s Breath. He unwittingly captures a bit of it in a small trinket, which years later he leaves with his newborn son, Cirrus, at an orphanage. The boy Cirrus becomes prey for a glacial woman determined to have what the keepsake holds. The nods to Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials series are evident, but with all his knack for crafting compelling details (a bird made of fire that creates lift for a hot-air balloon; an intricate system of lenses that enables a scheming invalid to see into every corner of the city), Skelton mostly turns the story into a whirl of characters pinballing about London, never fully mining what God’s Breath is all about. His literary sensibility and grubby atmospherics are strong enough to carry the tale, though readers may be left wondering if they aren’t missing a more interesting story somewhere in here. Grades 4-7. --Ian Chipman

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Customer Reviews

I recommend it to the tween audience!
C. Gruver
The action seemed just a bit distant from the characters.
B. Capossere
The characters are well developed and interesting.
LS

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jeanne Tassotto VINE VOICE on April 8, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is a 'Young Adult" novel aimed at the 9 to 12 year old reader. The story is set in an alternate reality based on the 18th century Age of Exploration. The story shifts from the main action in 1783 centering around a pair of orphans, Cirrus Flux and Pandora to flashbacks involving Cirrus' father. It seems that the elder Flux had come into possession of 'the Breath of God' while sailing near Antarctica. We later learn that he had to abandon his newborn son at the Foundling Hospital where he himself had been raised and left this mysterious Breath of God encased in a locket as a 'token' to reclaim the boy. Various forces are searching for this object and are convinced that Cirrus is the key to obtaining it. Cirrus is unaware of all of this, his only concerns are where he and his friends will be apprenticed. When another orphan at the Hospital, a slightly older girl named Pandora discovers that the woman who has just taken her as an apprentice has a disturbing interest in Cirrus she decides to return to rescue the boy.

This is an odd story. The descriptions of some of the locations are interesting and give an insight into this exciting period but the story is rather lacking. There is no explanation of just what 'the Breath of God' is or why so many are looking for it. There are several characters and events that are brought into the story for no apparent reason. This may be the beginning of a series and so the answers will be revealed in later books, but this novel does not conclude so much as just stop.

I also have some concerns about the suitability of some of the subject matter for the younger readers of the target audience. It is made clear that many of the orphans are abandoned because their mothers had been 'seduced and reduced', a theme that is a bit mature for 9 and 10 year olds.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By C. Gruver VINE VOICE on September 16, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I selected this book for my children's entertainment. They are 7 and 5, and were not interested in the story; I think about 8 to 12 years old would be the appropriate age for this book.

So, I read it myself and truly enjoyed it. While it does have flaws (more about those in the next paragraph), I found the writing style to be interesting, the history seemed to be accurate and was well-told, and the characters were either engaging and brave or evil and powerful -- in any event, very, very entertaining people! There was some fantasy in the tale -- specifically, a trinket that Cirrus receives indirectly from his father and a fire-bird. (I liked the story and intrigue around the trinket, but I did feel that the bird was (initially) hard to grasp and, ultimately, did not work in the plot.)

The things that I did not like about the book are not serious flaws. First, the book is poorly named. Pandora is almost as important a character as Cirrus, so it really is not just Cirrus's story. Second, there are two deaths in the book that are unnecessary. In my opinion, death can be handled appropriately in a children's book, but it should be essential for the plot. Third, some of the characters' motivations were not explained and/or their actions did not make sense. The director of the foundling hospital seems at times to be fairly cold and then very sentimental; his feelings toward Cirrus also were ambiguous at times. Another central adult character's actions were also confusing, especially at the beginning of the book.

All in all, it was a fun read. I recommend it to the tween audience!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Water Monkey on September 16, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I am reading this book (chapter-by-chapter) to my 10 year old daughter before bed. We are enjoying the story because it is set in a fantasy world, but rooted in historical England. The story jumps back-and forth between Cirrus being adopted from the Foundling hospital, and the story of his father. This can be confusing to kids because they are trying to follow one storyline and then each chapter switches back-and-forth. I have had to give much editorial to my daughter to explain we are changing storylines (which I almost never have to do with other stories), and also explain some words that she has not learned yet.

I am enjoying the story, and my daughter is also enjoying it. I would recommend this book just with the cautions I mentioned above. You may need to spend some time answering questions, which is not all bad.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By LS on July 15, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This was a quick paced book that made me wish it was a bit longer. Probably good for the 4th 7th grade set that is ready for a little tension in there reading material. The characters are well developed and interesting. Might also be a good book for some older kids with more difficult time with reading fluency. It is very visual and the author does a good job of giving the reader the look and feel of that period. I find that both myself and my kids love the more visual authors so this one was well liked in our house.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The initial premise of Matthew Skelton's THE STORY OF CIRRUS FLUX sounded good. Who wouldn't enjoy a story with daring chases, non-stop threats, and mysteries galore? Because when Cirrus Flux, an orphan boy living on the outskirts of London, inherits a strange sphere, suddenly everyone is after him and the sphere. From the evil Madame Orrery to the designs of the wretched Mr. Leechcraft, everyone is trying to get their hands on the power contained within Cirrus' sphere. And with the help of a young girl, Cirrus has to face his most dangerous adversaries and only hope to survive.

But... things don't go so well for the book in execution. While intriguing all along the way, THE STORY OF CIRRUS FLUX just never really delivers. It felt like someone was trying to shout, but could only ever whisper. The opening chapters come out very slowly, and I couldn't help telling myself, "It'll get better, just stick with it - soon the action will start in." But it never really did. Even to the finale, which I was hoping would really give me what I had been waiting for, came across anti-climatic and almost plain out dull.

The other factor here is the fact that the book is set in the world of the late 18th century London, and much of the book centered around explaining some different parts of the history of the times: from the beginnings of natural philosophy to mesmerism and foundling hospitals, there's quite a heavy dose of history that is interesting, but not quite helping the story move along.

There's also the strange twinge of fantasy that seeps throughout the book.
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