Five Kingdoms: Sky Raiders by Brandon Mull, Alladin, New York, 2014.
This is the first in a five part series. Many of Cole's school friends are kidnapped. Cole doesn't really understand what is happening, but he follows them, in an effort to rescue them, and becomes a prisoner, kidnapped like the rest. They are in a new kingdom, where slavery is condoned. Before he knows what is happening, he ends up at a place on the edge, where life expectancy is not very long, working as a sky raider, salvaging things from cloud castles in the sky. This is dangerous work; but his life only gets more dangerous when he runs away with Mira, a princess in disguise, who is wanted by the king.
Mull pulls it off again. There are likable characters in this world, and the imaginative components are incredible. We have magical ropes and flying swords, and building things with your mind. Great stuff.
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