Reviews for Story of Cirrus Flux

Booklist Reviews 2010 February #1
Skelton (Endymion Spring, 2006) neatly weaves touches of fantasy into a late-eighteenth-century London setting. The story begins in the Antarctic Circle, where seaman James Flux discovers an ethereal substance known as God's Breath. He unwittingly captures a bit of it in a small trinket, which years later he leaves with his newborn son, Cirrus, at an orphanage. The boy Cirrus becomes prey for a glacial woman determined to have what the keepsake holds. The nods to Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials series are evident, but with all his knack for crafting compelling details (a bird made of fire that creates lift for a hot-air balloon; an intricate system of lenses that enables a scheming invalid to see into every corner of the city), Skelton mostly turns the story into a whirl of characters pinballing about London, never fully mining what God's Breath is all about. His literary sensibility and grubby atmospherics are strong enough to carry the tale, though readers may be left wondering if they aren't missing a more interesting story somewhere in here. Copyright 2010 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2010 Fall
In eighteenth-century London, orphan Cirrus Flux inherits a sphere containing the Breath of God. His instincts for self-preservation kick in when mysterious strangers come calling. Help from an unlikely pair sees him through the plot's entanglements (the presence of so many dangling threads may portend a sequel). Skelton's storytelling--plot, characters, setting--is executed at a high level, and the prose is accomplished. Copyright 2010 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2010 #3
Skelton follows up his popular debut, Endymion Spring, with a solid effort that bears an uncanny resemblance, at times, to Pullman's His Dark Materials. In eighteenth-century London, Cirrus Flux -- orphaned and abandoned at the foundling hospital -- has inherited something from his father, a sphere that contains the Breath of God. The boy knows little of his father or this magical token, but his instincts for self-preservation kick into high gear when mysterious strangers come calling. Help from an unlikely pair -- the villain's apprentice (a girl) and his father's best friend -- ultimately sees him through the entanglements of the plot. While the book is not billed as part of a larger sequence, the presence of so many dangling threads and unresolved questions may portend a sequel. Aside from this lack of closure and an overly familiar milieu, Skelton has written another winning fantasy adventure. The storytelling -- plot, characters, setting -- is executed at a high level, and the prose is accomplished. A good choice for fans of Marie Rutkoski's Kronos Chronicles (see The Cabinet of Wonders, rev. 1/09). Copyright 2010 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2010 January #2
Set against the backdrop of 18th-century London and the Age of Enlightenment, Skelton's suspenseful fantasy adventure is filled with themes of greed, abuse, trust and betrayal played out within a cast of nefarious villains and daring heroes. Twelve-year-old orphan Cirrus Flux unknowingly possesses a divine power--access to "the breath of God." Mystery and intrigue are generated through a series of alternating flashbacks set 12 years apart delineating a father's fatal quest to reach the gates of heaven in order to find his wife, who died in childbirth, and a boy's search for his heritage. Utilizing contemporary scientific experiments in illusion, hot-air balloons and hypnosis, the well-developed characters (who include a wicked mesmerist and the enterprising director of a "Hall of Wonders" museum) feverishly connive to steal the only remnant of Cirrus's inherited treasure, a small spherical trinket that, when opened, reveals the supposed access to the celestial hereafter. The author deftly builds his story from past to present, providing unexpected twists right up to the chaotic yet satisfying conclusion. (Historical fantasy. 10-14) Copyright Kirkus 2010 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

School Library Journal Reviews 2010 March

Gr 4-7--In an alternate 18th-century London, 12-year-old Cirrus Flux is one of the oldest orphans at the foundling hospital and he is still waiting to be selected for an apprenticeship. He suddenly becomes the object of interest to members of the mysterious "Guild" because of a magical orb his father once possessed. At the same time, Pandora is sent from the foundling hospital to work for the mysterious mesmerist, Madame Orrery. The two orphans end up embroiled in intrigue surrounding the orb and try to prevent it from falling into unfriendly hands. They are aided by Mr. Hardy, who travels in a hot-air balloon kept aloft by a flame-feathered bird. This is a fast-paced, plot-driven story. The motivations of the characters are occasionally unclear and the world building a bit uneven. However, readers who are drawn into the action won't have a great deal of time to worry about these issues. Cirrus and Pandora are likable and self-reliant main characters. Unfortunately, the ending may feel like a letdown to some, since it's never clear exactly what purpose the power contained in Cirrus's orb could serve. Still, young readers who are looking for books like Eoin Colfer's Airman (Hyperion, 2008) and Philip Reeve's Larklight (Bloomsbury, 2006) and its sequels should enjoy Cirrus's adventures.--Kristin Anderson, Columbus Metropolitan Library System, OH

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VOYA Reviews 2010 June
It's 1783 and orphan Cirrus Flux has lived a peaceful life in a London foundling hospital since his birth. One day, he and his friend and fellow orphan Bottle Top see a scary man lurking about the hospital grounds. From this moment on Cirrus, Bottle Top and another orphan Pandora are sucked into a mysterious world where evil men and women from The Guild of Empirical Science will do anything to retrieve the small globe left to Cirrus by his father. This globe contains an inexplicable power. Finding help in unlikely places, Cirrus and his friends must band together to stop The Guild from harnessing the power of the globe. Switching between Cirrus' point of view and brief flashbacks to his father's experiences, Skelton sets up an exciting mystery. Fleshed out with a variety of intriguing characters accompanied by peculiar creatures and situations, the story is very imaginative. All of this is placed within a very vivid and well-crafted historical setting. The creative plot, however, is poorly paced as most of the time is spent setting up the mystery and the exciting climax is stuffed in the last three chapters. While all the elements are tied up, the kinetic conclusion is untimely and unsatisfying because there is not enough time to debrief the reader and allow for processing the ending's betrayals. Despite its flaws, this creative adventure story will appeal to genre fans, but only if librarians take the time to guide them to it.--Rachel Wadham 4 Q 3P M J Copyright 2010 Voya Reviews.