My catching up with books I read for the Cybils continues…
Dominion by Shane Arbuthnott. Orca, 2017.
Twelve-year-old Molly Stout lives and works on her family’s airship, the Legerdemain, along with her father and two older brothers. Following the legacy of her famous ancestor Haviland Stout, who discovered the existence of “fonts” through which spirits enter from a different dimension, they look for fonts opening and capture the spirits, which are used to power engines of all sorts, including the ship. It’s a life of adventure, made hard both by the risks of airship life and by the large company taking control of all fonts and making it harder for the Stouts to sell the spirits they catch.
But when Molly catches a spirit that talks to her and begs to be released, she starts to realize that the spirits aren’t the evil, primitive creatures she always thought they were. She also comes to suspect that her ancestor’s words have been censored and distorted. Even though she risks capture by authorities and being thought insane by her family, she works to find out the truth and to free the spirits.
This is a rare look at a fantasy/steampunk Canada. It’s also a look at slavery separated from racial issues (I didn’t notice any people of color in the book), but mostly as an undercurrent to the adventure. I’d recommend this especially to fans of steampunk and seafaring adventure.