The Ship of Cloud and Stars by Amy Raphael

Prepare yourselves for an incredible journey with new heroine Nico Cloud. Treated poorly and with very little love or empathy, Nico dreams of running away to join her famous aunt, Dr Hamilton, aboard the Anthos, a research vessel.

When she finally reaches the ship, it is as an accidental stowaway and Nico worries her aunt will send her home again. Working hard and thinking creatively, Nico plans to stay aboard the Anthos and convince her aunt of her plans to save the world.

Nico is a firm believer that “fossils are the past, but seeds are the future”. This belief is just the cause that her aunt, disguised as a man, holds true to her own heart. Intermingled with Nico’s escape from a poor life is the legend of The Tree of Hope, an old Sicilian legend featuring a tree, a flightless bird and a potential solution to world famine. Pieces of this tale are dotted throughout the story and the reader can’t help but feel hope and potential.

On board the Anthos, Nico befriends Etienne and Matteo, both forming brotherly bonds with her and affirming her decision to leave home. Her new kitten Astra also helps to bring joy to Nico’s life. The joy is short lived when trouble finds the crew and it becomes a race against time to save friends and the future.

A fantastic adventure taking the reader from England to Italy where legends live and hope can be found. Nico is brave, loyal and utterly determined to find her place amongst the scientists of her time. Inspired by her aunt but hopeful to avoid dressing as a man, Nico will use her theories and vast knowledge to help the world of paleobotany!

This is Amy’s second novel for MG aged readers and I think I love Nico best of all! I will happily read anything Amy writes!

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