Thoughtfully imaginative and action-packed, Steeplejack is New York Times best-selling A. J. Hartley's YA debut, set in a 19th-century South African fantasy world. Actress Noma Dumezweni - best known for originating the role of Hermione Granger in the stage production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - narrates with the precision and delicacy of a high wire act to bring a remarkably complex and one of a kind heroine to life.
Seventeen-year-old Anglet Sutonga lives repairing the chimneys, towers, and spires of the city of Bar-Selehm. Dramatically different communities live and work alongside each other. The white Feldish command the nation's higher echelons of society. The native Mahweni are divided between city life and the savannah. And then there's Ang, part of the Lani community who immigrated over generations ago as servants and now mostly live in poverty on Bar-Selehm's edges.
When Ang is supposed to meet her new apprentice Berrit, she instead finds him dead. That same night, the Beacon, an invaluable historical icon, is stolen. The Beacon's theft commands the headlines, yet no one seems to care about Berrit's murder - except for Josiah Willinghouse, an enigmatic young politician. When he offers her a job investigating his death, she plunges headlong into new and unexpected dangers.
Meanwhile, crowds gather in protests over the city's mounting troubles. Rumors surrounding the Beacon's theft grow. More suspicious deaths occur. With no one to help Ang except Josiah's haughty younger sister, a savvy newspaper girl, and a kindhearted herder, Ang must rely on her intellect and strength to resolve the mysterious link between Berrit and the missing Beacon before the city descends into chaos.
"A richly realized world, an intensely likable character, and a mystery to die for." (Cory Doctorow, New York Times best-selling author)
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Steeplejack Audio Climbs the Tops of Storytelling
Steeplejack follows the adventures of 17-year-old Anglet Sutonga as she searches for truth, purpose and the murderer of a young apprentice amidst the depths and heights of a society divided by class and race.It is a rush of a story with gorgeous sentence-level writing, memorable characters and enough plot twists to keep it interesting.
Author A.J. Hartley gives readers a lush world of landscape and characters to explore. I like the descriptions of the wildlife and diverse human/racial communities presented. Read by the incomparable Noma Dumezweni, these descriptions transport the listener to a compelling, alternate world.
Ms. Dumezweni captured the spirit and the heart of the characters as I imagined them. Her voice and performance perfectly matched the world presumably imagined in steampunk Victorian South Africa.
It was a fantastic listen and I highly recommend it.
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