The Flight Series by A. E. Radley

The Flight Series by A. E. Radley is the story of Emily White, a single mum, living in New York with a sick son, Henry, and Olivia Lewis, a high-powered, (literally) jet-setting business woman.

In book 1, Flight SQA016, Emily has devoted the last few years to caring for Henry and run up huge debts. She doesn’t have much in the way of money management skills and is at the point where she and Henry are practically homeless.

Her friends (who are frankly angelic) take in Emily and Henry, provide childcare and get Emily a job as a cabin crew member in first class for Crown airlines. On her first flight, Emily meets a rather prickly and set-in-her ways passenger, Olivia Lewis. Olivia is a business executive who flies backwards and forwards between New York and London every week. Why she does this is a bit of a mystery, to be honest, because she lives in identical hotel suites at either end and only has one close friend who she doesn’t seem to see that much.

Olivia and Emily are both attracted to each other. Olivia has an ambiguous disorder that means she doesn’t cope well with change or social expectations, and she manages to put her foot in it straight away, leaving Emily her card, with note about debt management and a large tip.

There’s a lot of interaction with Henry. Henry likes giraffes. A lot. Henry comes over as completely one-dimensional and is written a lot younger than I think he is supposed to be. This wouldn’t be such a problem, if there wasn’t quite so much time spent interacting with him. I lost count of the number of times it was pointed out that Olivia was good with Henry because he didn’t have the social expectations that adults did, but half of them could have been cut out and it would still have been too many.

Book one ends  with what feels like a pasted in manufactured crisis in order to allow for the story to be split up into two parts.

In book two, Emily and Olivia are apart, but missing each other. Henry and Olivia are also missing each other. Emily has made sure she’s not flying Olivia’s route and Olivia has made sure she takes different planes.

Henry’s grandfather engineers a plot to get Henry that tangles Emily up in the middle of a massively destructive corporate takeover that is tearing apart Olivia’s business.

I am completely torn with how I feel about this. First of all, like this review, this story is far too long. When compared to the fanfiction it is based on, it has clearly been rewritten and edited. It is better written but in my opinion would have been a lot stronger for some really heavy editing and a complete restructure. It should be one book. The majority of the first book could have been cut out without actually losing very much overall. And yet despite that I was checking back for part two and really disappointed when it came out later than expected. I cared about these characters, and I wanted that happy ending! I’m impressed that I can have so many negative things to say and still want to rate this so highly. I don’t think it’s worth $20. Read it on Scribd or get it on special if you can.

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