Dominion

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 26 Feb 2018

Member Reviews

I was pleasantly surprised when reading Dominion. Dominion by Shane Arbuthnott is targeted more towards a teens and had a slower pace starting off than I normally would like. However, as the story built out and you get to know both the world of Dominion and Molly it quickly picks up. 

As you read the novel you're exposed to the history of the world and the role of Molly's family in the world's development. And, that role is the very issue.  The blend of steampunk influence with the mysticism of having a machine world powered by spirits was fascinating. Dominion has quite a bit of depth to it as it broaches the topics of saving the environment and growth of corporations. 

I'd certainly recommend Dominion to readers of all ages. You will be pleasantly surprised by this novel.
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Book Review
Title: Dominion
Author: Shane Arbutnott
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Family
Rating: ****
Review: The opening to Dominion was, we meet Molly an engineer aboard the Legerdemain, an air ship that tracks and captures fonts, which are like spirits which can be sold. Her whole family minus her mother and a sister work aboard the ship and we have the feeling that something bad happened to the sister, but the interesting character is Molly. While chasing a spirit it appears to have a human form which isn’t normal but then it talks and calls Molly by the name Haviland before she captures it. Haviland refers to Haviland Stout who was Molly’s ancestor and a spirit catcher too. Molly is unnerved by the fact that the spirit spoke to her and other spirit powered items like Cog, a small machine begin to act strangely after the catch. It also appears that Molly has the ability to understand spirits like the ones that power the ships’ engine. 
As we approach the ¼ mark in the novel, it turns out I was wrong about the sister she isn’t dead just left the family for something she thought was better putting a rift between her and the rest of the family. We also see Molly receive a gift that was meant for her mother a flitter, which if I understand it correctly is a device that can fly almost like a hoverboard. With the help of family friend, the bind the spirit Molly caught to the flitter in order to power it but they do it at a great cost as the tariffs they have to pay are going up and they could have sold the flitter for more than what their ship is worth but Molly’s father refuses. Despite being bound the spirit within the flitter refuses to give up as it still talks to Molly asking her to set it free for Haviland’s memory. The spirit claims to have been saved by Haviland and while Molly doesn’t believe it, she knows the spirit inside the ship’s engine came to save her when she fell from the flitter something that the spirit isn’t supposed to be able to do. Slowly the spirit begins to make Molly see the spirits as living being especially after they are caught in a voidstorm and it helps her rescue some members of the crews and in return she releases some of the spirits they caught. 
As we cross the ¼ mark in the novel, Molly releases the spirit to find the final journal of Haviland which supposedly holds the truth about the strange things that are happening, however, it isn’t held in a place it is held by a person. However, Molly seems to believe that the spirit has tricked her, and she has lost the last valuable asset the ship has but I have a feeling that it will return, and it will have need of Molly later on as she seems to see something in certain spirits that no one else can. When they arrive back on Terra Nova, the ship is going to be taken as they can’t pay the docking fees and Molly realises that this place isn’t the home she left behind and as she waits for the spirit, she seems to make friends with Cog who she hadn’t seen as anything other than a machine before, but with everything going downhill she doesn’t even know if the spirit will return like it promised. 
As we approach the halfway mark in the novel, while the spirit is gone she hears the call of the spirit in the ship’s engine and she now knows for sure she is spirit touched but she can’t leave it behind and she sets it free, grounding the ship. After she releases that spirit, the spirit from her flitter returns and tells her it knows where the journal is, and it is being held by the man who killed Haviland, which she doesn’t believe as Haviland was supposedly killed by a spirit, but it promises to return again when it is safe. The next day Molly thinks she has gotten away with what she did on the ship but when men from Disposal turn up she knows she is in deep water, but it is her brother Rory who gets her out of it and give her some valuable advice that might come in handy later on when the flitter spirit returns. One interesting thing was that her brothers know she is spirit touched which would normally be a death sentence, but they don’t turn her in despite their father’s teachings, they protect her. When the flitter spirit returns she learns its name is Ariel and that she thinks of it as a she. Ariel tells her that Charles Arkwright has the journal which he took after he killed Haviland although Molly believes that he is referring to Charles’ son Tyler and Charles would be over 120 years old, but I have a feeling that this is the truth. Now, Ariel and Molly are going to need help to get access to the journal and the information it supposedly contains. With the help of Toves an Earth spirit they break into Arkwright’s mansion and Molly uses her new gifts to find the artefacts Ariel was talking about and steals the journal although she is seen by one guard before she escapes with Ariel’s help. And then she begins to read. 
As we cross into the second half of the novel, Molly begins reading Haviland’s journal and discovers that Ariel was telling the trust about knowing Haviland and Charles and that they weren’t trying to capture the spirits but study them. After finishing the journal Molly realises that her whole life has been a lie, but she can’t convince her father who kicks her out but rather than get down she decides she will help Ariel discover what has been interfering with fonts and drawing spirits into her whole and stop it if they can. Molly realises that the Gloria ship is something different as it doesn’t use nets but rather uses the spirits as fuel for something else, something more sinister. Molly knows that she has to stop the ship, but this may prove difficult for her as her sister is aboard. Her brothers try to get her to come home but she stands firm and knows that her mission is more important than safety right now. 
As we approach the ¾ mark in the novel, Molly is forced to return home for information to get her aboard the Gloria and she learns that Rory might have a way of getting her aboard. However, Molly has an additional problem, the Gloria is packed with so much iron it will be impossible to get Ariel aboard without seriously hurting her. Ariel also tells Molly that something is forcing the fonts closed tearing the two worlds apart and destroying everything in its wake. Molly does manage to get her name added to the manifest and finds a way to take both Cog and Ariel aboard with her, however, she is heading into the lion’s den blind but gets some unlikely help from her brothers. As Molly settled in aboard the ship she knows she can’t free the spirits straight away, but she also has the task of avoiding her sister and Blaise although she does bump into him once. She also begins to feel a strange pull like the spirits are drawing her to their location on the ship. 
As we cross into the final section of the novel, Molly learns where the stronger spirits are being kept and that her sister has the key to the area where they are contained. As the spirits are slowly going mad Molly knows she doesn’t have much time and she wants to be the one to get the key from her sister. In the end we are greeted to an explosive scene where Molly and Ariel complete their mission, but it might not be without loses of their own. 
Overall, I felt the start to Dominion was a little slow but really picked up after Molly starts communicating with Ariel, I would also like to see a sequel to this about what happened to the Stout family after the end of this novel and what became of Charles Arkwright. I liked the steam punk vibes this novel has and recommend it to fans of the genre.
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This is a delightful fantasy for middle-graders that has a good story with some great points (saving the environment and anti- slavery/ anti corporations) hidden in . The author has masterfully created a fascinating steampunk-ish world that is extremely original. The characters have real struggles and joys that are relate-able to children today.  The action and derring-dos are non-stop and the villains are serious baddies. A very enjoyable read!!!!
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While not something I would normally read (although it is marketed toward teens), this book started off very slowly, but I kept with it! I wasn't disappointed as more of the book unraveled and events became clearer, luring me in until the very end.
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It started out as a confusing, but then gradually started to make sense. The slow start was hard for me to get through. I often found myself stopping and reading another book and coming back to this one later. The characters were great and so was the world-building. A bit to steampunk for me, but besides that fact it was a fun read. I loved Molly and I'll be introducing this book to my friend's little sister. I really think she will enjoy this book as I have.
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I will straight up admit that this one was a surprise, I wanted to read it based off of the cover and pretty much nothing else. With that being said, it was a really well written and unique middle grade story and I can’t wait to read the next one.

I really enjoyed the premise of the book, it’s got dystopian but also historical vibes and I just loved the way that it all went together. The way that the spirits were explained, and their purpose and struggle in the story was so well done and I loved reading and getting to know more about them. I’m also a sucker for a story that focuses on a young girl changing the world because she knows it’s the right thing to do.

I think that the most important part of this story was the characters, I loved the action and the plot, but when it comes down to it the way that the characters interacted with each other and with the world around them was so well written and told such a wonderful story. Molly is such an amazing main character and her family have their flaws but deep down they love her and that was so special. I also liked that it was shown that you don’t need to forgive people who’ve hurt you, even if they are family and you still love them. I also loved the spirits and their different personalities and feelings and ugh IT’S JUST ALL SO GOOD.

This was a well written, fast paced, thoughtful book and I can’t wait to dive into the next one and get back to Molly in all her badass glory.
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This is such a wonderful story! I'm pleased as punch that requesting the second book in this series for review, and then finding out that I needed to read Dominion first, put this on my radar. You all know how much I love a good Middle Grade book! Dominion is wonderful. Molly Stout is wonderful. So please pardon me while I gush a bit.

In this reader's opinion, the best part about Dominion is Molly herself. Although there's a lot of other parts that are definitely worth gushing about, Molly reigns supreme as the reason this book is so easy to love. I adored Molly's passion, empathy, and the fact that she had just enough reckless bravery to really make things fun. Better still, there's so much growth that happens in this book. From learning that preconceived notions aren't always healthy, to learning that it's okay to love someone and not forgive them, there are messages in this book that I found so important for this age group. Molly's family isn't perfect, her life isn't easy, but she shows how strength and perseverance are what change things for the better.

As for the setting itself, I think the technology of Dominion is truly what sets it apart from a lot of the other MG Fantasy that I've read. Instead of being Steampunk, I'd pin this book more as "Spiritpunk". Molly's world is one that floats in the clouds and sees spirits as fuel. Which, as I mentioned above, allows for this grey area that Arbuthnott really uses as part of Molly's awakening. I could close my eyes and picture massive ships floating in the clouds. To say that it was easy to get caught up in this book is an understatement.

My only issue, and it's a small one, was that there were some loose ends upon finishing. The ending felt a bit like it was rushing to tie as many things up as possible, while setting the stage for a cliffhanger. I know that there's another book on the horizon though, and so I'm willing to be patient! I'm more than happy to follow Molly, no matter where she might go.
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There's absolutely NOTHING wrong with this book, it just wasn't a good fit for me. I initially requested the second in the series, then saw that the first was available to read now, so figured I'd start there. I just couldn't get into it - it was just too YA steampunk to keep my attention. I even tried reading the second (a series out of order - gasp!) to see if it was just a slow start and if the blurb that initially caught my eye would lead to a better fit, story-wise. No dice.  The writing was fine, and the character development seemed on pace for what the book was - this just wasn't the series for me.
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I absolutely loved this book. The world-building is excellent, I could picture it all so vividly from the wonderful descriptions. The characterisation was done well, I especially loved Cog. A world where machines are powered by spirits and everyone believes the spirits are dangerous, to be ignored and where anyone who empathises with their plight is deemed to be "spirit-touched" and removed from society..... which all serves a far darker purpose. Molly Stout is 14 and a ship's engineer. She has two brothers whom she loves and finds annoying in equal amounts. Her mother died and her sister left to join the reviled Arkwright empire and her dad is a tad grumpy as a result... life is pretty good though up in the air until the day one of the spirits talks back to her...............
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A bit of a confusing start as there is an unexplained term in the first sentence that looks like a typo (wish The Font had been capitalized or italicized or something), but a few pages in, I was hooked and really enjoyed the ride in this inventive story. Characters where well developed and the techie elements were just enough to keep the engineer-minded readers thoroughly entertained. I look forward to book 2!
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I thought I wasn't going to enjoy this one; slow and confusing start, I didn't want to go back to it. But I always try to get to 10% before I stop reading a book, and at about 8% I realised I was really enjoying this. The story had picked up, the rules became clearer, and I didn't want to stop any more.
I felt for Molly and the choices she had to make. It wouldn't be easy to go against everything you'd learned the way she did. I didn't get much of a feel for the other characters, but maybe that'll come in the sequel, which I'll be looking forward to.

Thank you for the eArc. It did not affect my review in any way.
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Ok, what got me wanting to read the book was the description. I love spirit, ghost, etc stories. I choose it before I even realized it was a children's book. I should have realized it once I downloaded the book, but surprisingly the story line kept me interested & I read the book in two nights. I was completely drawn into the main character of the books & felt each of her feelings that she felt. 

I do recommend this book if you want a bit of light reading but that is only because it is rated as a children's book. Do not let the classification as children's reading put you off. It is a good book & I want to read the next in the series.
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