Skyriders Series Book 1 By Polly Holyoke – Lone Star Book Blog Tours

Skyriders Series, #1
Polly Holyoke
Children’s Fantasy / Middle Grade Readers / Mythical Stories / Adventure
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Date of Publication: March 7, 2023
Number of Pages: 304 pages 
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Wings of Fire meets Pax in this epic fantasy adventure set in a world where human and skysteed share a deep bond of friendship. When monsters emerge to attack the empire, it’s up to shy Kiesandra and her beloved winged horse N’Rah to prove to the imperial army that she has what it takes to lead them to victory . . . and to ensure the survival of their world.Buzzing with action, heart, and friendship, this first book in the Skyriders series shows that kids can achieve the impossible–especially with flying horses on their side.


“Skyriders soars off the page and takes you along for an epic adventure that will leave you breathless and asking for more.” —James Ponti, New York Times bestselling author of the City Spies series

“A breathtaking, mythical adventure. This is the kind of book I would have devoured and read over and over again as a kid.” —Liesl Shurtliff, New York Times bestselling author of Rump and the Time Castaways trilogy

“KiesandraTorsun is an unforgettable heroine who never gives up, even when facing staggering odds against vicious three-headed monsters attacking her homeland. Her loyalty, courage, and kindness won me over and her bond with her winged horse left me dazzled.” —Mary E. Pearson, New York Times bestselling author of The Remnant Chronicles





Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Kie stared into the distance, her innards churning as she blinked her dry eyes against the hot desert wind. N’Rah had to be wrong. Those skyriders couldn’t be fighting chimerae! All the monsters had been killed centuries ago.

But now N’Rah had flown her close enough that she could see several large tawny shapes wheeling around a band of skyriders. For a moment, the nearest winged beast was silhouetted against the blue sky, and it had . . . one, two, three heads! And then the desert wind brought with it the deep, rumbling roar of a lion.

“You’re r-­right,” she stuttered, even as cold terror seized her. “Should we run for Durwen station and warn Riken? He has to know. He has to warn the Empire!”

But as N’Rah raced closer, it became obvious that the fight was not going well for the skyriders. At the center of their band, a gray skysteed fought to stay aloft, its damaged wing flailing at the air. Another rider slumped forward, unconscious, against his skysteed’s neck while two more riders struggled to protect their injured. The air thundered with the full-­throated roars of lions and the harsh cries of the bloodgoat heads as they tried to tear at the skysteeds with their sharp black horns.

We have to help them! N’Rah cried.

“All right,” Kie said. Abruptly, the panic making her thoughts tumble about disappeared, and a strange calm took its place. “Take us higher. I want the sun in the chimerae’s eyes.”

Three wing strokes later, they hovered above the fight. The rider on the injured skysteed fired arrows at the chimerae, and a second skyrider sliced at the beasts with a sword. When one of the chimerae advanced on the injured gray, a third rider on a smaller pinto skysteed darted past the monster, obviously trying to distract it. The chimera chased the pinto for several wing strokes, but then it turned back toward the stricken skysteed again.

“Let’s try to hit the sand dragon’s heart.” She turned N’Rah toward the chimera menacing the injured skysteed. A hit to the largest of the chimera’s hearts could, in theory, kill the creature outright.

She sent N’Rah into a dive and pulled her bowstring back. They flashed closer until the chimera’s tan-­and-­black wings flapped below them. N’Rah swooped beneath its left wing into the creature’s blind spot, and a wall of sand-­colored hide slipped past. She gripped her bow tighter. The monster seemed so much bigger than Uncle Dugs had described! It was twice as tall and twice as long as N’Rah, and three arrows already protruded from its side.

As they skimmed past the beast, Kie turned back and fired into the center of its chest. The lion head, surrounded by a thick brown mane, twisted on its strong neck and roared at them so loudly that her whole body vibrated from the sound. A second later, the stench of the rotting flesh caught in its teeth made her gag. The sand dragon head, on a much thinner and longer neck, struck at them in a blur of black scales and yellow fangs, but N’Rah had already carried them beyond its reach. The fury in the chimera’s hiss made her tremble.

“We have to use the triwires,” she gasped to N’Rah as he climbed swiftly above the fight again. “That thing has four arrows in it, and it’s still flying.” Which meant she must have missed her heart shot. She slipped the bow over her shoulders and ripped the first triwire from its packet. Three razor-­sharp wires, four feet long and weighted with spiked metal balls at their ends, were joined at the center with a small wooden handle. Careful to keep the wires away from N’Rah’s wings, she whirled the triwire over her head until it hummed.

Concentrating hard, she gauged the chimera’s wing strokes. Her timing had to be perfect. With her seat and legs, she sent N’Rah into another dive. This time they skimmed past the chimera on its right, and as its wing reached its lowest point, she threw the triwire. It went spinning through the air, sunlight glinting on its sharp copper strands. One wire sliced halfway through the chimera’s thin wing hide. The second wrapped around the talon protruding from the wing’s leading edge. The last caught the monster’s front leg. Then they were past it.

She glimpsed movement behind them and leaned hard to the right. N’Rah dove right as the chimera’s spiked tail whistled through the space where they’d been moments earlier.

“That was close. You all right?” she asked breathlessly as N’Rah pumped his wings to gain them altitude once more.

Yes, but the Foul One is not, N’Rah replied with fierce satisfaction.

She glanced down. The triwire had bound the chimera’s damaged wing to its leg. Screeching frantically, the monster beat at the air with its good wing as it plunged in tight circles toward the ground. One of the remaining four chimerae broke off the attack and dove after it.

Moments after the first one crashed, the second one landed on top of it and began to feed.


Polly Holyoke is the award-winning author of the middle grade sci-fi Neptune Trilogy (Disney/Hyperion) and the new children’s fantasy series, Skyriders (Viking Children’s Books). A former classroom teacher, Polly loves doing school visits and getting students excited about writing.

Polly grew up in Colorado, where she spent her childhood skiing, camping, reading, and dreaming up fantastical stories. Polly went on to graduate from Middlebury College and become a middle school social studies teacher. She lives with her husband and their two daughters, as well as two cats, two Chihuahuas, and a beagle.

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