Zeina Starborn and the Sky Whale by Hannah Durkan

This debut has so many adventurous elements and they all weave together into a fantastic story. Ravenport is a fantasy city divided in many ways….the aboves and belows, under the smog and the upper atmosphere.

Zeina is feisty and smart, wanting to prove herself in many ways. She longs for opportunities to help her father engineer on the airships, and she is hopeful of a chance to see a sky whale- a dangerous but beautiful creature. Humans have created hotels on top of these majestic whales, using technology to calm and relax them.

Zeina meets Jackson, an above, and they form an unlikely and tense friendship. When the pair are sent on the trip of a lifetime to the Willoughby Whale Hotel, Zeina is thrilled and seeks adventure and fun constantly. Jackson, suffers from airsickness and wants calm and quiet. When they meet explorer extraordinaire, Vivienne Steele, Zeina is mesmerised and agrees to accompany her crew on their next whale hunt.

Events conspire to bring truth to light in this book and readers are left guessing constantly about who to trust, where to turn and how to get home.

A wonderfully written debut and would be ideal for fans of Vashti Hardy! Brilliant world building, amazing modes of transport and the idea of saving whales; ones that sail through the sky! Wonderfully imaginative and inventive!

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