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Beyond the Starline: Book One in the Dark Sea Trilogy (Volume 1) Paperback – February 14, 2016
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About the Author
Austin worked for two decades in children’s theater and television, in the UK and Europe, before becoming a full time writer. Beyond the Starline, the first volume of his exciting Middle Grade/YA steampunk trilogy, The Dark Sea, has been highly praised. Austin divides his time between homes in Northumberland, England and Tuscany, Italy. You can find him locked in his laboratory of words dreaming up the next adventure, but it's probably easier to chat to him on Twitter. His handle is @AGHackney Fiction Genres: Adventure, Science Fiction, Steampunk, Fantasy, Middle Grade, Young Adult, Children's Books.
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Top customer reviews
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This coming of age story utilizes humor, action and beautifully written prose to whisk the reader away to another world in a fresh and original narrative. A great read for folks of any age. This universe has been meticulously crafted and full immersion takes place effortlessly. You can feel the machinery vibrating in the walls, taste the morning fog hanging over Lundoon. This visceral journey was one well worth taking and I highly recommend it to anyone who craves adventure and mystery or has ever looked up at the stars and imagined sailing the cosmos to distant worlds.
By Austin Hackney
A middle-grade steampunk adventure extraordinaire! What more could you ask for?
BEYOND THE STARLINE is the first book in a steampunk adventure trilogy targeted at a middle-grade audience. It is a fast-paced, adrenaline-rich mystery-adventure novel; one filled with a cast of vivid, three-dimensional characters, and a plot that will keep you reading long after you had planned to take a break to walk the dog!
Harriet Howland is our protagonist; a plucky young heroine who very suddenly finds herself thrown into the dodgy, fascinating, pseudo-Victorian city of Lundoon—a place filled with pirates, air balloons, a charming French-speaking monkey, sketchy characters, narrow escapes and near-misses. You will feel the grit on your tongue; your eyes will itch from the smog, and you will be rooting for Harriet right from Chapter One. She is a wonderfully authentic character: spunky, courageous and independent, yet still vulnerable and in some ways, very much a child.
Hackney is a very talented writer and a brilliant storyteller. There is a delightful cadence to his writing and his capacity for authentic dialogue is spot on. Read, for example, the following:
Harriet stood up. “No blinking way,” she said, flushing. “Betray me dad? I ain’t doing that. And remember them pirates killed me mum, too. Twice. Just hand it over? That ain’t no option, Professor!”
(I heard a thick Cockney accent running throughout this novel. In fact, I found myself craving a nice meat pie with mash half-way through.)
But don’t be fooled. Heart-racing adventure aside, Beyond the Starline is also a novel about real friendship and the tenacious nature of the human spirit.
I have not read a lot of middle-grade fiction in this genre, but I would say that BEYOND THE STARLINE will soon be right up alongside Canadian author, Kenneth Oppel’s bestselling steampunk MG novel, Airborn. Like Airborn, BEYOND THE STARLINE features a fast-paced plot, richly developed characters, a couple of twisty bits, and ultimately leaves the reader begging for more.
I’m thrilled to know Mr. Hackney is releasing two more books in this series. I, for one, will be first in line.
(I received a free copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.)
You will need some suspension of disbelief for this one. But isn't that what escapism fiction is all about? Talking, french monkeys? Breathable air in outer-space? Why not! The rules of this imaginary world are set up so well, and the plot is such a romp, that you will find yourself immersed easily. Not to mention, the characters are so down right lovable. Harriet and Sibelius are so distinct, yet compliment each other well. They are both three dimensional, having wants and personalities plain to see. Some of the side characters could use some growth, but we've got two more books to go.
All in all, this was a great read. Can't wait for book two!
*I received a free copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.*
Most recent customer reviews
Mr Hackney is truly a master story teller. He also happens to be a darn good writer too.Read more