Fly By Night by Frances Hardinge


Fly By Night

Author: Frances Hardinge
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Amulet Paperbacks
Release Date: March 14, 2017 (first published 2005)
Page: 448

Author Website|Book Depository|Goodreads

Goodreads Synopsis: Twelve-year-old Mosca Mye hasn’t got much. Her cruel uncle keeps her locked up in his mill, and her only friend is her pet goose, Saracen, who’ll bite anything that crosses his path. But she does have one small, rare thing: the ability to read. She doesn’t know it yet, but in a world where books are dangerous things, this gift will change her life.

Enter Eponymous Clent, a smooth-talking con man who seems to love words nearly as much as Mosca herself. Soon Mosca and Clent are living a life of deceit and danger — discovering secret societies, following shady characters onto floating coffeehouses, and entangling themselves with crazed dukes and double-crossing racketeers. It would be exactly the kind of tale Mosca has always longed to take part in, until she learns that her one true love — words — may be the death of her.

Jen’s Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟

REVIEW: Mosca is full of want. To be more than what she is forced to be. In search of words that are unspoken and travels that are unending. What she gets is all that and more. She accidentally burns down her Uncle’s mill, who is just the worst, and becomes a fugitive in doing so. Saracen (her pet goose) is the only friend she has to keep her company. That is until she encounters Clent, a con of proportions who takes Mosca under his wing. Even though many tell her that he is not someone a girl should be in the company of, she ignores them all and stays near.

“Because I’d been hoarding words for years, buying them from peddlers and carving them secretly onto bits of bark so I wouldn’t forget them, and then he turned up using words like ‘epiphany’ and ‘amaranth’. Because I heard him talking in the marketplace, laying out sentences like a merchant rolling out rich silks. Because he made words and ideas dance like flames and something that was damp and dying came alive in my mind, the way it hadn’t since they burned my father’s books.”

Although Clent aids her in being a part of all the madness, he makes everything more interesting and fills the pages with plenty of action-packed adventures. Introducing Mosca to a variety of characters. Many with their own personal agendas, others they double crossed on the way, many she never though she would ever encounter. Including the Locksmiths and Stationers who are a part of an ever growing war, in hopes of taking over Mandelion and creating their own perfect society.

And lets not forget Saracen who is a goose full of craziness. A mind of its own, with no end in sight. He lets no one tell him where to go and how to be, let alone treat him as though he is the next thing on the dinner plate. There are many laughable moments because of him and  kooky antics. Mosca adores Saracen and holds him dear to her heart. And much aware that Saracen can defend himself if need be.

“At last she raised the broad bonnet brim and gazed cautiously out into the shop. The floor was awash with the chalky shrapnel of shattered leaves and slivered ribbons. Through the debris swaggered Saracen, trailing a hessian rug like a cloak, a sprinkling of stone dust across his orange beak. Farthingale had taken refuge behind the wreckage and was cupping one hand over his bloodied nose.”

For all book enthusiasts, this is a read that will genuinely be enjoyed. Knowing that even though books and reading were banned, this little girl found a way to bring all that back into her life and make the pages in her mind have meaning. With twists and turns at every corner, Fly By Night will keep you reading ’til the very last word.

***I received this copy from Amulet Paperbacks via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.***


  1. Thornton Rigg

    January 23, 2017 at 1:03 pm

    I love this book – and Twilight Robbery it’s sequel – so pleased they are being reissued !! Hurrah.

    1. Jenna

      January 23, 2017 at 3:19 pm

      Thanks Thornton! Wasn’t aware of Twilight Robbery, will definitely check it out.


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