I bought this book in Poundland a while ago & it’s a book that I’ve thought about every time I’ve been in the situation where I need to pick a new read – and finally I gave in & picked it up. The Cloud Hunters has Terry Pratchett vibes & was a story, & world, that I fell completely in love with.
⚠️ A single use of a traveller slur, cultural/honour based self-scarring & references to hanging (doesn’t actually occur in the story) ⚠️
The Cloud Hunters is set in our future; a future where the Earth is no more & where humans live on small islands that surround a sun (I’m not sure if it’s our sun or not…). It is also an existence that doesn’t include much water – so what does that mean? Well, people swim in the air instead of in pools or the sea (unless you have the money to own enough water for a pool) & it means that the sea animals of Earth have had to adapt to living in the open air. It also means that some people are charged with searching the open air in boats that float on the air currents to find clouds & to collect the water released to help keep the human race alive. Being a cloud hunter is an interesting job, & is something that young Christien is fascinated by & when a young cloud hunter starts at his school, he finally has a chance to experience his dreams…
Well, I loved this story a lot! I loved how imaginative the world-building was, & even if the plot had been rubbish I would have enjoyed it just because it gave me the chance to explore this incredible universe. I loved how many details author Alex Shearer had thought about & how clever the whole thing was. The book was written with a tongue-in-cheek attitude, & I loved that about it. The writing style, & the world-building, made me think about Terry Pratchett & now that I’ve finished it, I’m heartbroken that it isn’t the start of a huge series like Pratchett created.
The plot itself was also wonderful; I loved travelling around this universe with Christien & Jenine, & felt connected to Christien because of how curious the pair of us were. There is an event at the end of the book that the whole of Christien’s journey was leading to, but to be honest the book would have worked just as well without it as it only actually took up a few chapters. Thankfully though, this didn’t act as an anticlimax & just felt like a roundabout way to end the book.
Something else that I thought was great about The Cloud Hunters is how many layers there were to the book – the characters had layers, the world-building had layers, & so did the writing. Under all of the smug, tongue-in-cheek humour & exciting events there were important messages that I really appreciated being included. The Cloud Hunters touches on class & race; people need the cloud hunters to survive but look down on them as barbarians. There’s division in this world, based on race & gender, but also on your background – & whether you carry the scars of a Cloud Hunter. I loved that this was included because it helps send out a message to young readers, in a relaxed & non-pressurising way.
This book was such a good read, I loved the short chapters, I loved the humorous writing, I loved the adventure & small hint of danger peppered throughout & the book has absolutely gone down on my 2019 favourites. I’m desperate to find a hardcover copy of the sequel to this, Sky Run (so if you know of where I can get one please let me know), but I’m also desperate for you to buy a copy of this book!
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