The Story of Cirrus Flux by Matthew Skelton

You shall help me find him still… there is nowhere for the boy to hide.”
Orphan boy Cirrus Flux is being watched. Merciless rogues are conniving to steal the world’s most divine power, which they believe Cirrus has inherited.
Now he faces a perilous journey through the dirty backstreets of London as a sinister mesmerist, a tiny man with an all-seeing eye and a skull-collecting scoundrel pursue him. Cirrus must escape them. It really is not safe to give such evil people such incredible power…

The Story of Cirrus Flux is an engaging and very well written book from UK author Matthew Skelton. After the success of his first book, Endymion Spring, Skelton’s star looks certain to stay in the ascendancy thanks to this atmospheric, realistic and detailed book that will enchant young-adults.

All the very best fantasy novels have a certain magical quality to them and this is certainly the case with Cirrus Flux and it is this magical element that makes it such a compelling read. Matthew Skelton’s narration is excellent, the characters both charming and sinister and the main setting is a very realistic 18th century England.

The narrative, as already mentioned, is very good. In particular, there is the way that it moves backwards and forewords through time, providing excellent insights and pre-history into the characters and the story. The story begins in the year 1756 and our hero's father is aboard ship in The Antarctic Circle - the excerpt below is the very first paragraph from the book:

“The boy can hear something scratching at the sides of the boat – a restless scraping sound, as though the sea has grown claws and is seeking a way in. For countless days His Majesty’s Bark the Destiny has been drifting through uncharted waters, crossing new latitudes, until it can go no further south, blocked by an impenetrable reef of ice and fog.
The Story of Cirrus Flux: Prologue – The Antarctic Circle, 1756

The only slight negative point was the ending as it seemed rather abrupt for a stand-alone novel. If this were the first book in a series then it would make sense for it to end with unexplained questions and leave the reader wondering what will become of Cirrus and Pandora… maybe it is… and if that is the case then everything is forgiven.

Children’s fiction is in very good hands at the moment. Jonathan Stroud, Michael Morpurgo and Joseph Delaney continue to produce wonderful books and now Matthew Skelton deservers to be mentioned alongside these established authors.
Books don’t come much better than this; Skelton is a fine author who has created an engaging, realistic, atmospheric and detailed piece of historical fantasy that is as charming as it is accomplished, and as comfortable on the sea as it is on land.
Matthew Skelton was born in the UK but spent most of his childhood in Canada. He started writing while working as a teaching assistant at the University of Mainz and continued when he cam back to Oxford to work as a research assistant. In 2002 he won Richard and Judy’s short story competition.
Cirrus Flux is Matthew Skelton’s second novel. His first novel, Endymion Spring, sparked a bidding war between five UK children’s publishers and catapulted the author from the quiet world of academia into the publishing limelight.

9/10 An engaging, realistic, atmospheric and detailed piece of historical fantasy.

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