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Bri Meets Books

Children's and YA literature reviews.

Category Archives: kaimira code

Today I help end author Chris Rettstatt’s blog tour for The Sky Village, first book of the Kaimira Code series.

I interviewed him about his writing process, future Kaimira code books, and the influence of his favorite science fiction on the series.

In The Sky Village, another character, Lizard Girl, is mentioned as one of the mysterious book’s stories. Rom and Mei previously thought the stories they read were simply childhood fiction, but realize they are real accounts of each other’s lives. How many other Kaimira children will there be?

The third book in the series will reveal the identity of the third Guardian. But there are references in The Sky Village that there might be more Guardians. Exactly how many and who they are is still a mystery.

As the Kaimira Code is a five book series with differing characters, plots, and locations, I imagine a great deal of research has to go within each. What are the challenges of writing about such diversity, rather than one set of characters in a few locations?

A big part of the challenge is exactly what you’ve said, doing the research to get each location right. And though this is fantasy, I wanted to represent cultures in a way that would feel authentic, not only to American readers but also to people who grew up in those cultures.

But this is also where a lot of the fun is. I love going to a new place and losing myself in the culture. And when I’m writing, I love trying to find just the right details to give a similar experience of that culture to the reader.

On your blog, you mention you’re a parent of twin girls. When they’re older, what characteristics from your characters would like to your children to have?

During the wedding ritual in The Sky Village, Ai-ling’s parents tell her that they’ve tried to raise her to be “happy, healthy, strong, and wise.” This was inspired very directly by what I want for my own daughters.

I’d also like for my twins to learn early that even the most intense emotions are manageable, which is something Rom and Mei have to learn.

Finally, I want very much for my twins to be independent and adventurous. This is the hard one, because my instinct is to come running every time they encounter an obstacle. But when I see how proud they are, even at this age, to have worked something out on their own, I know I have to try to let them figure out their world in their own way.

Despite being the first book, The Sky Village already bears a rich mythology of its own, with its history of demonsmithing, the brief story of the Trinary Wars, etc. There’s excerpts in the novel from diaries and histories – would you ever consider expanding these plots into their own series, such as a book of Sky Village tales, etc?

That’s a dangerous suggestion. I love coming up with stories that fit the various nooks and crannies of the Kaimira storyverse, so much so that I tend to go overboard. But I can say that if readers want more Sky Village stories, It will be my pleasure (literally) to write those stories. And I’m hoping readers will write some of those stories, too.

You appear to be quite the science fiction buff, as evidenced by the technological aspects of the Kaimira Code, as well as your blog writings mentioning the genre. Are there any elements from science fiction or fantasy that inspired the series?

My favorite books as a child were fantasy and science fiction, and it’s still a favorite genre of mine. There are tons of influences that found their way into Kaimira, and probably a lot more that that I’m not even aware of.

A common theme since the beginning of Science Fiction was fear of science. We’ve seen so many stories that pit humanity against science and technology, and they never get old, because just as we’ve started to relax about a certain science, a new one comes along to scare the bejesus out of us.

And stories about humans against the untamed wild go back to the days of cave paintings. And these stories keep coming back, because the more we conquer nature, the deeper our fear that nature’s going to fight back.

Kaimira weaves both themes together, with science on one side, nature on the other, and humans stuck in the middle just trying to survive.

If it was possible, what animal-machine hybrid would you want as a pet?

The answer to that question changes daily. Some days I’d say Feifei, because I love the idea of a beautiful little pet you can keep in a pouch around your neck. Other days I’d say Spot, particularly if I were going to battle. But today my answer is going to be Robertson’s demon Shakes (whose name is short for Shakespeare).

I always ask authors…If you could live inside any children’s book, what title would it be and why?

Where the Wild Things Are. I’d love for every day to feature a Wild Rumpus and then be back home by dinner.

Thanks to Chris for letting me participate in his blog tour. Be sure to read my review.

Watch the book trailer below!


Mei takes flight with the Sky Village, a series of hot air balloons anchored together. Separated by her parents by the complex war between machine, beast and man, the twelve year old is alone in her new surroundings, as her father goes off to rescue her kidnapped mother. A stranger among the Sky Village citizens, Mei must learn their traditions after a peace treaty between human and bird is severed.

Meanwhile, in the shell of Las Vegas, thirteen year old Rom and his sister, Riley, fight daily for survival amongst the demons and beast that roam the ruins of the city. Rom scours the city for water and bits of technology he can barter, but Riley’s taken by demons – animal-mechanical hybrids, and Rom must travel underground to rescue her. Forced to fight in the demon-battling circuit, Rom discovers an untapped power within himself.

The two soon discover they can communicate through a journal, a book they previously considered a storybook where they read of other children’s and each other’s adventures. Animus, the mysterious being within the book, reveals a startling secret to their genetics: the kaimira gene in their DNA embodies them with beast and mek quailities.

When Animus ask for release, Mei and Riley are forced to confront their new inheritance, and face the remnants of the world: the aftermath of the Trinary wars, in which man, beast, and machine fight for control.

Monk and Nigel Ashland’s The Sky Village oscillates between pulse-raising action, and heartfelt takes on grief and loss. Both primary characters are richly written, and the emotional travails Rom and Mei face come across in sharp paragraphs and gripping situations. The depth of familial love is captured perfectly as Rom helps his sister construct puppets modeled after their parents, and Mei relishes her time with one of her mother’s pets.

Though a teen series, Rom and Mei wrestle with adult situations as both must save those around them by recognizing and controlling their newfound genetics. Throughout The Sky Village profound questions are raised, such as a futility of progress in science, the price of power, and what differentiates man, beast, and machine. The Sky Village is an exciting new entrance into the children’s literature world, and a worthy contender.

The action journeys from the page to the screen with the companion website, where the rest of the novel’s journals and excerpts are revealed.

The Sky Village arrives in hardback July 8 from Candlewick Press.

Review copy provided by the publisher.