Dominion by Shane Arbutnott Review


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 airship 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 begins 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 can’t wait to read Terra Nove and see what happened to the Stout family after the end of this novel and what became of Charles Arkwright. I liked the steampunk vibes this novel has and recommend it to fans of the genre.

Buy it here:


Kindle Edition:

I received this review copy from NetGalley.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s