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System Divine #1
Published by Simon Pulse on March 26, 2019
Genres: Retellings, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Format: ARC, eBook
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.
A copy of the book was provided for review purposes - thank you! Receiving a copy does not guarantee a positive review and therefore does not affect the opinion or content of the review.
I totally skipped over Sky Without Stars at first.
Hello, I’m confessing that I scrolled straight past Sky Without Stars until someone said the words, “Les Misérables in space.”
Then all the grabby hands came out because I love that movie AND I love space??? And I sure as hell am not going to read 1000+ pages of the classic.
Hahaha, required reading scarred me.
Sky Without Stars has the feel of Les Misérables.
It’s been like 5+ years since I watched the movie so I don’t remember much from the movie aside from the French revolution. I also recall having a fascination with Éponine, who I don’t recall having much screentime. Despite not remembering much from the musical, Sky Without Stars gave off the vibes and had many elements frequently nodding to the classic.
The different perspectives worked in favor.
This whopping novel is divided between three different characters who will all eventually play a role in the brewing revolution on Laterre. With such a long length, having one perspective could have easily bogged down the story and be boring. But having three characters who each brought their own perspective and struggles? I enjoyed learning about each of them while reading Sky Without Stars.
Chatine: Chatine, based on Éponine (I think?), is by far my favorite perspective out of the three. She dresses up as a boy to go about her life in the Frets because she feels being a girl would put her at a disadvantage (and it really would). With the goal of leaving Laterre one day, she goes about her life stealing on the streets to save up for the passage.
Alouette: Y’all, I hated Cosette for some reason but I adore Alouette??? Brody and Rendell give Cosette a very nice upgrade here in Sky Without Stars that fit into the timeframe here! Alouette, despite not knowing much of her past and living underground, is curious and crafty as she occasionally navigates aboveground.
Marcellus: Poor Marcellus is divided between believing his grandfather as he’s always had growing up or his now-deemed-traitor former governess. Despite being the least interesting perspective I read, I enjoy seeing his internal conflict and want to know what he will do in later books.
There’s apparently a love triangle.
Younger me found the revolution too fascinating to care about trivial things such as romance. Lo and behold, I didn’t even notice the love triangle until near the end, whoops. However, romance is a minor aspect of Sky Without Stars, and I found myself more swept away by the world.
A lot of worldbuilding on Laterre.
Drop yourselves into a rocket ship and let’s go soaring into space because the worldbuilding is A+! Sometimes I found myself overwhelmed because I am a character development and fast-paced action person in books. However, I think it’s well worth going through nearly 600 pages of mostly setup. Brody and Rendell will sweep you away to another world while bringing in elements from the original.
A solid beginning to a series.
Sky Without Stars is a solid start as a first novel, and I enjoyed seeing Brody’s and Rendell’s take on Les Misérables! This book is perfect for those who are fans of the musical or enjoy a good sci-fi with a brewing rebellion on another planet.
About Jessica Brody
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.
Visit her online at JessicaBrody.com. Follow her on Twitter or Instagram @JessicaBrody
About Joanne Rendell
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. Visit Joanne at JoanneRendell.com.