Sky Without Stars by Jessica Brody & Joanne Rendell

Title: Sky Without Stars (System Divine #1)
Authors: Jessica Brody & Joanne Rendell
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: March 26th 2019
Genre: Retellings, Young Adult, Science Fiction

A thief. An officer. A guardian.

Three strangers, one shared destiny . . .

When the Last Days came, the planet of Laterre promised hope. A new life for a wealthy French family and their descendants. But five hundred years later, it’s now a place where an extravagant elite class reigns supreme; where the clouds hide the stars and the poor starve in the streets; where a rebel group, long thought dead, is resurfacing.

Whispers of revolution have begun—a revolution that hinges on three unlikely heroes…

Chatine is a street-savvy thief who will do anything to escape the brutal Regime, including spy on Marcellus, the grandson of the most powerful man on the planet.

Marcellus is an officer—and the son of a renowned traitor. In training to take command of the military, Marcellus begins to doubt the government he’s vowed to serve when his father dies and leaves behind a cryptic message that only one person can read: a girl named Alouette.

Alouette is living in an underground refuge, where she guards and protects the last surviving library on the planet. But a shocking murder will bring Alouette to the surface for the first time in twelve years…and plunge Laterre into chaos.

All three have a role to play in a dangerous game of revolution—and together they will shape the future of a planet.

Power, romance, and destiny collide in this sweeping reimagining of Victor Hugo’s masterpiece, Les Misérables.

Sky Without Stars is a space opera retelling of Les Misérables. I’m a huge fan of the musical, I’ve seen it a couple times. Although I’ve never read the book or seen the movie version but I know that it’s kind of a big undertaking to retell the story.

So as much as I love the musical, I always struggled with the characters. I felt the same with Sky Without Stars. We have Chatine (Éponine), Alouette (Cosette) and Marcellus (Marius) now just because these three perspectives have counterparts in another universe does not mean they are exactly the same.

I feel like I rooted for Chatine’s character the most. I’m not saying she is not flawed and she hasn’t done bad things. This is someone hardened by living in the slums, with really really horrible parents. She has no one who truly loves her or nurtures her. She is kind of adrift and her goal is to get off planet. She might be in the game to provide only for herself but that doesn’t mean she can’t be redeemed.

Alouette was kind of eh. I actually really liked Cosette so I was glad that I enjoyed Alouette’s character more. I think the authors injected her with more spunk and spine. She is someone who is raised complete opposite of Chatine. Warm, safe, feed and loved. She is also a much bigger cog in the wheel of the events occuring in the story.

Marcellus? I think both girls could do better honestly. Which was fine because I was more interested in the plot itself then I was in any romance aspect of it. Maybe the series will sway me differently down the line but really I’m just like get some backbone man!!! I also think that his character is a little bit perfect as well because he comes from the higher class. He really doesn’t understand what it’s like to have to fight for everything like Chatine or be shut away like Alouette. I think his navitivitey to their strife makes absolute sense and is on par for what the character should be.

I really like this reimagining and idea for the plot. I thought the world building is good and when I picture what the planet looks like with the ships used as housing. I kept picturing the end credits of Wall-e. I felt like the descriptions were good and it was easy to imagine. The tech was not too complicated so you weren’t focused on trying to understand how things work. I wish the pacing was a little faster, however. I enjoyed all the components of the book it was just I need things to move along a little faster. This is something I’ve noticed with me and other space operas I’ve read so it might just be a space opera thing.

I enjoyed the story and I think for a book that is co-written, Jessica Brody and Joanne Rendell do a great job of making the writing flawless. The funny thing is I didn’t realize it’s a series at first so when the story was winding down, I’m like wait what? What? Oh okay there is another book, phew.

Jessica Brody is the author of more than 15 books for teens, tweens, and adults including Addie Bell’s Shortcut to Growing Up, A Week of Mondays, Boys of Summer, 52 Reasons to Hate My Father, and the three books in the sci-fi Unremembered trilogy. She’s also the author of the Descendants: School of Secrets series, based on the hit Disney Channel original movie, Descendants. Her books have been translated and published in over 23 countries and Unremembered and 52 Reasons to Hate My Father are currently in development as major motion pictures. She lives with her husband and four dogs and splits her time between California and Colorado.

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Joanne Rendell is the author of three novels and holds a PhD in English literature. She teaches fiction writing to teens and kids and is a board member for the youth Shakespeare company, New Genesis Productions. With her husband and son, Joanne divides her time between New York City, and New Paltz, New York.

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Prize: Win a copy of SKY WITHOUT STARS by Jessica Brody and Joanne Rendell (US Only)
Stars: 20th March 2019
Ends: 2nd April 2019
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