The writing style in this book is both mature and descriptive. As a result, it is a novel that can appeal not only to the young adult community, but to anyone who enjoys an intelligent and creative read. The author details the surroundings and the characters thoroughly, which really helps with painting a vivid picture and making the characters nuanced. Sometimes the exposition can slow the pacing down a bit or get in the way of the action. Yet, at the same time, the style is very refreshing for this genre, which tends to be written with shorter sentences, sparser imagery, and more dialogue.
Penelope is also very engaging to read about. She is a young girl who is coming into her own and learning to trust herself. The waters that she must navigate are very choppy and I was absolutely rooting for her the whole way. She tends to be very stubborn, which can be frustrating at times for the reader. Though by the end, her hardheadedness starts to become endearing and is what ultimately helps her.
Penelope’s adversary, Warden Nye, is also a very complex character as he constantly walks the line of good guy/bad guy. I am definitely curious to see how he develops in the second book. Being unsure of his intentions, made the read exciting and unpredictable. Since almost every character is crafted in this way, the reader is put in the same position as Penelope herself, unsure of who to trust.
Thus, the author makes a conscious choice to leave the readers questioning people and certain events throughout the story. For instance, in the beginning of the book, the author alludes to a terrible disaster that happened on Brick Street. It is brought up many times, but we are not told what actually occurred until the end of the story. As a result, it had me worrying that I missed details early on, though I did not. There are also confusing plot points that seem unusual or impossible, but then the author ties in an explanation later. Consequently, there is a certain level of patience required to get through the story while waiting for answers.
Overall, Sing Down the Stars is a great kick off to The Celestine Series. L.J. Hatton’s lovely prose coupled with an original futuristic tale makes this book one not to be missed.