Sky Without Stars

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 26 Mar 2019

Member Reviews

when I first read this book I just couldn't get into it so I put it aside for a few months.
I picked it up again last month and I couldn't put it down.  I liked the story very much. It is very well written.

I do recommend.
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I am going to get a lot of backlash over this review, but truth is, I just couldn't get into this book. I read up to 48% and that took me about a month of consistently forcing myself to read it since I received it as an ARC and I wanted to review it on time for publication. All it managed to do is slow down my reading progress with my other reads and make me slightly depressed that I couldn't finish a novel. This story had so much potential, and I don't know if it's the slow start to the novel or the excessive world-building and lack of plot coinciding I'm not sure, but this novel for me was a letdown. It was just, so boring. In that 48% that I read, literally nothing happened and I'm not sure why that is, being halfway through the book there should be some sort of indication of where the story is supposed to be going. Alas, I expected better from the two authors, especially as a non-debut novel.
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This is one of those books where you can still follow along even if you are someone like me who has never seen or read "Les Miserables." The only funny thing for me about this book was I loved all the characters except for Allouette, and near the end, I started to despise all the characters and their whininess. Although in a way I guess you could say I began to love Allouette near the end because she was probably the only decent person in the book who could love someone even when they are not who they appear to be.
I still don't quite know what to make of the book, but it is something people should read. 

4.5 out of 5 stars.

For my full review check out my blog at https://bookgirlreviewsbooks.blogspot.com
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I dragged my feet so hard through this one. I put it off, put it off, and then after finally picking it up, it just seemed to last forever. It is long, clocking in at close to six hundred pages, but wow. Finishing this feels like winning an award.

I requested SKY WITHOUT STARS mostly because a) sci-fi, b) YA, and c) I figured my lack of familiarity with the source material of the retelling would make for more enjoyment as I wouldn't be constantly comparing it to the original. But I think I was just a bit too unfamiliar because I wasn't invested enough to keep from being bored.

There's some really interesting elements at play here but overall some bits I just didn't like, I question the total belief some people in this world seem to have in order to accept their circumstances, and the dialogue would occasionally lean towards OTT in some of the dramatic scenes. But, ultimately, I'm just confused (which is weird because it was fairly predictable) and, again, bored. And not sure where we're going now. 

From what I can tell this is a duology and I will read in on my ever-failing attempt to complete series that I start. But I can only hope it'll be shorter and a lot more entertaining than this one. 

2.5 stars
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This new YA series follows the new trend in YA Fantasy books which have French settings. I really like these settings, because most of the cities are lavish and extravagant, but they also have secret societies and criminals.

The story followed three characters: Chatine, Marcellus, and Alouette. They all come from different levels in society, but they become mixed up in each other’s lives. Since there were three different perspectives, the different areas that they come from were explored, giving a complete image of the world they live in.

This story is a retelling of Les Misérables by Victor Hugo. I also love adaptations. However, I’ve never read or watched Les Misérables, so this story was very new to me. I read a graphic novel adaptation last year, so I know the general story, but this story is a unique take on the original. I really liked how it was adapted to a futuristic setting on a different planet.

There were lots of twists that kept me guessing throughout the story. The ending was so good. Each character’s story had a bit of a cliffhanger, which made me wonder what was going to happen next. I can’t wait to read the next book when it comes out!

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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Really enjoyed this one!  Sky Without Stars is a highly entertaining mix of Les Miserables meets The Lunar Chronicles.  It was well paced, containing lots of action mixed with mystery, romance, and good world building.  I'm interested to see where this story and these characters go so I'll be picking up the sequel next year.
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*I received a free copy of this for review from Netgalley ** 

Really really enjoyed this story. Don’t know much about Les Miserables so I couldn’t draw any parallels there but regardless I was hooked right from the beginning. Definitely looking forward to the sequel
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I want to start by thanking NetGalley for this eARC for my honest review. Jessica Brody and Joanne Rendell have taken a classic and produced a classic!  Having read Les Miserables, yes this is based upon the classic,  yet what Ms. Brody and Rendell have done is pure wonder. I could go on and on but I have always refused to make my reviews a synopsis.  Needless to say this is the best YA book I have read in some time!
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Many thank to netgalley and the publisher for an advanced copy. This did not affect my rating. 

*3.5/5*

In the future, when the world is no longer habitable, people fled to the stars. 
On the planet Laterre, people were promised hope. A new life. For those among the elite, they rule supreme, in comfortable conditions. There are three classes of people.. and down in the streets where people are starving, rumours of a revolution have begun. A rebel group, long thought gone, is resurfacing. 

We follow three very different characters. 

Chatine (Theo) lives in the bottom tier. Pretending to be a boy.. lives with her evil parents. Her dad threatens to reveal who she really is when she doesn't share her largs. 

Marcellus is an officer. The grandson of the general, and the son of a traitor. Marcellus instantly gets caught up in Chatines life and the rebellion. 

Alouette lives with her father, and the sisters. Women who are protecting the written word of days long gone. She sees Marcellus on a security camera and her fate becomes entangled with him and eventually Chatine. 

Lies, spies, and deceit are the name of the game here. And I wanted to love this book. It was one of my most anticipated of the year.. but with instalove(lust), and a love(lust) triangle.. I just couldn't get myself to care about. Marcellus can't make up his mind about anything and its annoying. 

The mythos of the world is super cool, and the ending is what will get me to read book 2.
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As a huge, huge Les Misérables fan, this book was such a relief compared to the other retellings I've read. Sky Without Stars takes the plot of Les Mis and hurls it into space. Literally. Weirdly enough, the drastic changes in setting, plot, and character Sky Without Stars made to Les Mis was what made me enjoy it so much more--I wasn't hung up on all the inaccuracies and deviations; I was just interested how the characters of Éponine, Cosette, and Marius translated to Chatine, Alouette, and Marcellus, and excited to find out what happened next.

I definitely feel like the authors are Éponine fans because Chatine was the centre of the book. Chatine was really wonderful in this book, and her portrayal is so much closer to the Brick's than the musical's was. Chatine is hardened and desperate for an escape from the planet of Laterre, and she's so badass. Chatine knows what she wants and how she's going to get it, except when it comes to Marcellus - which is pretty much how she is in the original book. With Marcellus, I was really interested in how his storyline was based on his relationship with his grandfather, which is fairly accurate to the book. Marius finds out secrets about his father and splits with Gillenormand because of political differences, which is more or less what happens with Marcellus and General Bonnefaçon. I'm not sure how I feel about Marcellus's characterization--I think if I wasn't comparing him to Marius, I would have enjoyed Marcellus's character a lot more. Marcellus was so well-developed and I really liked him.

Alouette was actually my favourite, which makes sense, because I adore Cosette. Alouette was inquisitive and intelligent and confident in herself, which is basically everything I love in a good Cosette characterization. I also loved her father a lot and how the whole story of Les Misérables was incorporated into this book, because so many retellings focused on 1832-era characters tend to leave out Fantine, Valjean, and Javert. Alouette and Hugo's relationship was precious and endearing, but Alouette is definitely struggling for more independence and answers. And the authors kept Cosette's nickname as "Little Lark," which made me so happy. It really shows attention to detail to the original book. Both Alouette and Chatine's characters didn't change much from the original Brick, which I really loved - Hugo's women are, generally, so fully fleshed-out, autonomous characters, that there doesn't need to be a lot of modernizing. 

One of the new additions to the story of Les Mis was the Vangarde. I suppose in some ways it could be compared to Les Amis de l'ABC, but I didn't see it; the Vangarde is an entirely new identity. It was fascinating to have something new to figure out, especially since a lot of the plot twists were lost on me because I know the original book so well. However, I really wanted to see Les Amis de l'ABC. I hope they'll make an appearance in the next book, because they're some of my favourite characters--I would absolutely love for them to be women, and this book has such potential to put Les Amis in as an all-girl revolutionary team. I was really glad for some of the side characters--Azelle, Chatine's sister, stands in for Azelma, who is cut from a lot of adaptations. Roche was ... so precious. I loved him so much, and I'm happy that Chatine will get to know him in the sequel. 

As far as the worldbuilding went, it was fairly typical for YA sci-fi--lots of capitalized words to indicate significance, for instance. Much of the book mixed in a lot of gratuitous French with the English--or English words that sounded like French. Honestly, I thought a lot of it was unnecessary: substituting "meter" for "métré," or "stupid" for "stupide." It threw me off a bit and sometimes came off as quite awkward, especially when there were words that could have been French-ified--like Citizen Rosseau could have been Citoyen Rosseau and gotten the point across just the same. I believe there are some translations that leave instances of "citoyen" untranslated, especially when Enjolras goes off about how his mother is the Republic, etc. I appreciated all the references to both the book and the musical--an inn called the Jondrette, and little nudges like calling Mme. Renard the "master of the house." I'm not usually fond of musical references, but these ones were generally unobtrusive. 

All in all, I really enjoyed Sky Without Stars and can say it's my favourite retelling of Les Misérables. Which is high praise, coming from me. Chatine, Alouette, and Marcellus were a delight to read about, and I'm really interested in picking up the next book.
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Wow! Just wow! This is one of the best sci fi/ fantasy novels I’ve ever read. It is an incredible kickoff to this series. Jessica Brody and Joanne Randell are incredible writers! Typically with longer books like this one (it’s almost 600 pages), I tend to have moments where I get bored but this one kept me hooked the whole way through. The twists and turns were executed so well. I loved these characters! They were so complex and multi-dimensional, and each of their individual character arcs played out so beautifully. That ending was very intense and I’m not okay! Lol I need the next book now please!! Thank you so much to Simon & Schuster Canada and Netgally for providing with me this ARC copy.
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I enjoyed all three main characters point of view and I thought they all had distinct voices. The character with the strongest voice out of the three was definitely Chatine. She's a cunning thief who dresses like a boy for fear of being sent to the blood brothels. Shes survived this long by being selfish and closed off, but as she develops we see her open up a little. I really liked the scene where she bonds with her sister. Her goal is to escape the brutal Regime as well as her cruel parents, and shes willing to do anything to achieve it, including spy on the second main character Marcellus, the grandson of the most powerful man on the planet. While training to take command of the military, Marcellus is exposed to some difficult truth that make him doubt his grandfather and the Regime he has sworn to protect.

Chatine growing feelings for Marcellus are not only complicated due to his position and her being known as a boy, but his fascination with the third main character Alouette. Alouette lives in an underground refuge with her father and the sisters who trained her to guard and protect the last surviving library on the planet. Thats until a series of events brings Alouette to the surface for the first time in twelve years. Her determination to find answers and uncover her fathers secrets was admirable. Despite having secrets I thought her relationship with her father was really sweet. Sheltered yet resourceful, I found Alouette perspective a joy to read. I loved seeing her become more self assured and independent as the story progressed. As the resistance reemerges to fight the regime and Laterre is thrown into chaos we see these three characters lives intersect.

It was interesting how their new planet has 408 days in a year, 51 days in a month and 30 hours in a day. I also liked how this new solar system had three suns and the dark seasons. I did wonder how anything could grow on their farmlands with all that rain and lack of sunlight. I liked the addition of droids and cyborgs, but I really wish we got information on how the tablets worked earlier in the book. Waiting until half way through the book felt excessive. The whole time I spent wondering how the general was able to name off production results from his tablet if no one can read took away some of my enjoyment. It also seems unbelievable with all their technology that they cant read or that they even forgot in the first place. Their technology would have had all kinds of writing integrated in the system and the orginal settlers would have passed that down to their children.

I predicted pretty much all the big reveals, but they werent super obvious either. Theres an improbable scene where Marcellus goes to sit in a loud crowded inn but somehow his chair makes enough noise that everyone turns to look at him. Besides some inconsistencies the story was fairly easy to understand. Instead of telling me her parents got chased out of town like 3 times give me a bit more action. I felt like this entire book was a build up for the next books. This first book is more about setting up the world and the characters so it wasnt very fast paced. I havent read Les Miserable so I dont know how closely the plot follows the original story, but I might just have to watch the movie now. Being french I enjoyed the french words that were incorporated. It was also fun to see some of the slang that the third estate used.

Not Posted Yet: Monthly Wrap Up, Adventuarthon Wrap Up, 5 Star Prediction Results, Seasonal Series Wrap Up
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I LOVED Sky Without Stars and could not put it down and cannot wait for the next in the series to be released. This book is appearantly a retelling of Les Misérables, which I have not read. It features main 3 characters with 3 distinct backgrounds and political views.  And the author was sucessful at creating 3 distinct voices. While there is a bit of dramatic irony I do think these are teases and there will be plot twists and a lot of surprises coming in the series.
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"Les Misérables meets The Lunar Chronicles" in a book about rebellion, which seems to be the YA niche right now, though that trend is dying out. Also contains insta-love and love triangles which is forever a YA trope that is tired and too often implemented but will likely never die out. It's kinda cool that the French revolution and french culture influenced this fantasy world with a seedy underbelly and influenced the power vs expectations dynamic, though the "can I make something of myself" motivation is not exclusive to the Les Mis world.
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I would like to thank NetGalley for giving me a copy to review.

This book is good. Really good. There are so many layers to this, it’s going to be hard to do it justice.

Sky Without Stars is the first book in the System Divine series. It’s a reimagining of Les Misérables. It follows the stories of Chatine, a girl disguising herself as a boy; Marcellus, the son of a traitor and grandson to the General of the Regime; and Alouette, a refuge who protects a hidden library. It’s beautiful watching how these stories unfold, tangle together, and end up all changed by one another.

500 years ago twelve families and their descendants left Earth and came to the System Divine in hopes of a new start. A French family settled on one of the planets named Laterre, hoping to start anew and not repeat the mistakes that were made on Earth. Does that ever work?

Chatine lives in the Frets, she is part of the Third Estate, the lowest Estate on Laterre. She wants nothing more than to escape Laterre aboard a ship to Usonia, a sister planet. She’ll do anything. For years she has gone by the name Theó to hide her gender. The life of a girl is never good for the Third Estate. Her family are all cons and crooks, minus her sister who is dutiful and hopeful. A perfect foil for Chatine. When the Premier Enfant is murdered Chatine’s life is forever changed. That is when her story becomes tangled with Marcellus. He is her ticket off Laterre.

Marcellus is of the Second Estate and is nothing like his father. Or so he wants to believe. You’re constantly judged when you’re the son of a traitor. His grandfather, the General, has raised him after his father was sent to the Bastille which is the highest security prison built on Laterre’s moon. Marcellus wants to do good and prove to his grandfather that he is not his father’s son. He tries so hard to do the right thing, but it’s never enough. Not when there’s so many questions about his father and no answers that make sense. Marcellus, along with Chatine, start digging into Vanguard business. The business that branded his father a traitor. Marcellus and Chatine then become entangled in Alouette’s story.

Alouette lives in the Refuge with her father and the Sisters. She lives a very structured life and has hopes of one day becoming a Sister and taking care of the library. All books were destroyed or left behind when they left Earth, but the Sisters believe they need to remember in order to not repeat the same mistakes. Alouette tries to be dutiful but she is curious and there’s secrets that she cannot find answers to unless she breaks all the rules she’s been taught. Sometimes the search for answers is dangerous.

This book is so beautifully done. It has French words sprinkled in which really immersed me into the world. You don’t even need to know French in order to understand this book, it’s very well done. The characters all have their own stories, dreams, and goals, and the way they’re all woven together is a real art. I did have issues with Alouette in the beginning. I found her annoying, but she grew on me and now am excited to see where she goes and how she grows.

I put this book down a lot, not because it was boring, but because I was always busy. No matter how long I put it down for, the second I picked it up I was immersed right back into the world. I never forgot anything, it was easy to keep track of everyone. I always dread picking up a book after I take a break from it, but it was never a problem with this! I loved it. This is masterful storytelling. 

I recommend this book to everyone. It has spies, mystery, romance, hopes and dreams, death, adventure, and everything else you could think of. I have never read or seen Les Misérables but this made me think I’d really enjoy it. If I could, I’d give it a 4.5 because it is really good. I really enjoyed this book and I cannot wait for more. I hope there’s books for each planet and each family. I do love Chatine and I do want to read more about their stories, I also want to explore the other planets. Maybe we will through Chatine, Marcellus, and Alouette. Only time will tell.
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I am not a sci-fi reader. I don’t do planets or robots or space-age-y themes. Now and then, I will broaden my horizons and pick up a sci-fi/fantasy that surprises me but not very often. Usually, if I see “sci-fi” in the description I will pass it over. I passed over this book…several times. I kept coming back to it, though, because I am a big Les Misérables fan and I was so curious to see how these authors were going to take one of my favorite musicals, adapt it into a science fiction story and hopefully not destroy it. I wasn’t expecting to like it….

I didn’t just like it….I freaking LOVED it! Guys, this book absolutely blew me away. At almost 600 pages of teeny-tiny print (on my e-copy anyway) I still wanted more. The first couple of times I started reading, I had a hard time getting into it but it must have just been the timing because when I started again…I had to force myself to put it down because I was going to pass out and lose my place. That is how much I loved this book!

Not being a sci-fi fan, I know there was a lot that was probably over my head. Droids, planets, the Skins….for the most part I think I could follow along but at no point did I feel that I was missing anything. I think that is really important. The writers created this entire futuristic world (which was fabulously done, by the way) and anyone can follow. You don’t have to worry about this not being your genre and getting lost because even if you fall off the path, it’s super easy to get back on and keep going. I love that. I’m not converted to science fiction, by any means, but I definitely enjoyed this reading experience much more due to the ease of the writing.

What impressed me the most about Brody and Rendell’s adaptation was how well it matched the original story. Authors are coming out with retellings every day but a lot of the time they so vaguely represent the original that you can’t tell if the book is truly supposed to be an adaptation or if it’s simply advertised that way because the theme is almost similar. In Sky Without Stars there is NO question. You can easily tell who each character is representing, there are wonderful little tidbits hidden in plain sight (Prisoner 42601….loved that touch so much!) and, though the storylines are fairly different, the two are integrated flawlessly.  

The characters are done fantastically. I felt so much for Chatine and fully believe that this is her story more than anyone’s. I just wanted to grab her and take her home with me. Marcellus’s character annoyed me a bit with his naïve attitude but I do feel that he grew so much as the book went on and Alouette was such a great surprise. I didn’t care for her much at the beginning, but she really grew on me. 

You don’t have to have read Les Misérables to read this book. The story is very much its own but I do highly suggest at least watching the movie, if nothing else. The background there will make reading Brody and Rendell’s book all the more enjoyable. Plus, it’s a great movie with some of the best musical scores ever so why not? 

Sky Without Stars is, without a doubt, the best retelling I have ever read. It might only be March, but it is already one of my top reads so far this year and I anticipate it staying at the top of the list. 

Call me impressed. I need more of this book and more of this world!

Thank you to NetGalley and Simon and Schuster Canada for providing me with a copy of this book to read and provide own my honest opinion.
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I received this ARC by the publisher through Netgalley for an honest review. 

The synopsis of this book really intrigued me. I’ve never read Les Mis or seen the movie, so when I was approved for this book, I was extremely happy. 

Sky Without Stars mainly centres around Chatine, Marcellus and Alouette. As the synopsis, says ‘All three have a role to play in a dangerous game of revolution—and together they will shape the future of a planet.’ And that is so true. A rebellious group the upper elite thought was hidden/gone is resurfacing and threatens to bring Laterre into chaos. This kind of book tends to be my favourite kind. 


I must say I really enjoyed Chatine’s POV. I found her to be the most flawed in my eyes and was very interested to learn about her life and how she got the way she is.

I also rather enjoyed the French words in the novel. It was refreshing and found I understand some of the words/sayings, even tough the author provides its meaning right after. 

I am excited to see where this story goes and will definitely be picking up the next book.
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I am a big fan of the musical Les Misérables, which is the main reason that I wanted to read this book. This is a YA science fiction retelling of the story.

The story focuses on three teens from different backgrounds. These are the three 3rd person narrators: Chatine (a thief), Marcellus (an officer), and Alouette (a guardian). 

It was easy enough to figure out which characters were which from Les Mis: Chatine is Eponine, Marcellus is Marius, Alouette is Cosette. Plus Inspecteur Limier is Inspector Javert, Jean LeGrand is Jean Valjean, The Renards are Mr and Madame Thénardier, and Roche is Gavroche.

This was an interesting retelling that takes place on the planet of Laterre (the coldest and wettest of the 12 planets in the System Divine). But the book is very long (too long). And this is only the first book.

I enjoyed the characters. My favorite was Chatine. To me this was really her story.

I found the concept of the "forgotten word" to be really fascinating.

Overall the story was interesting. Although being familiar with the musical means I had a good idea how certain things would play out. It was just overwhelmingly long.

The story does end with a bit of a cliffhanger. I am curious to see what happens next.
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I came across Sky Without Stars while I was browsing on NetGalley and I enjoyed the premise so I decided to add it to my reviews. Sky Without Stars is a retelling of the classic  masterpiece Les Mis. I'm always fascinated by other people's understanding of a story and how they take the premise and create something similar but new. Brody & Rendall have taken Les Mis and created a story about 3 main characters; a theif (Chatine), an officer (Marcellus) and a guardian (Alouette) set in a sci-fi universe.

There was a lot to take away from this book. Some of the main themes from Les Mis are present like the unfortunate class system with the corrupt First Estate, oblivious Second Estate and starving Third Estate, but there is an added layer of depth to this story. The setting is on a planet called Laterre. A home created from wealthy French families (which explains the use of the french dialogue) because their previous planet, The First World, became unsustainable. The reason why is not discussed but one can assume it had to do with the peoples existence on and interaction with the planet whether through climate change, over population, etc. Written language has become obsolete and forbidden, so no one knows why they had to leave the First World and knowledge about the First World has been lost including the types of animals and way of life of the previous people. I thought this was impactful because of the current state of our planet and the direction we are heading in, which is an uncertain future. 

Everyone on Laterre has a Skin, which is a device implanted into people's arms, similar to a computer chip that projects images like public announcements, contacts and currency. Again this does not seem far from the future we are currently molding and shaping. The residents of Laterre cannot read the Forgotten Word and rely solely on their Skin for information. Unfortunately, we are currently seeing this starting to happen in our everyday lives. Children are no longer learning cursive writing in schools and gaining most of their knowledge from the internet. I appreciated this concept in the book and I think that the writers did a great job at bringing the previous themes of Les Mis and combining them with these new and very real themes to create an even deeper connection with the plot. We as a people have been destroying the Earth and this book does a great job at showing the reader what our future could look like. I thought there was a lot of undertones from the movie Wall-E as well, which was a nice comparison throughout the book. I think the writers executed these themes flawlessly and did not force any of the concepts. 

The plot was essentially the same as Les Mis, but the added elements of sci-fi is what brought this story to another level. With that being said, I was a little disappointed that the plot was almost an exact retelling of Les Mis. The Third Estate has become tired of starving and surviving. They were always told "honest work for an honest chance", at the Ascension ceremony,  a raffle to move into the Second Estate. The First Estate has used this as a mechanism to keep the Third Estate in check and distracted with working to fill the material needs of the First and Second Estate, however an old rebellion group is resurfacing which is threatening this way of life and inspiring others toward a revolution.

The characters in this book parallel their counterparts in Les Mis. Marcellus (Marius) is an officer and the grandson of the Commander. Marcellus comes across as obedient and soft. He is a fairly confused young man and unsure of what he wants from life, but seems to have accepted his position. That changes when he meets Chatine, known to him as Theo, and Alouette. He begins to broaden is prospective of Laterre, which is the beginning of him challenging his beliefs and leaving him to come across as a confused, naive young boy instead of a man. Alouette (Cosette) has been living in a refuge her whole life, or what she can remember of her life. She is a curious girl, always seeking knowledge and is one of the few people left who can read the Forgotten Word. Alouette becomes restless and wants to explore the world beyond the refuge and one day gets the push she needs to step out into the world. Alouette does not seem to grow as a character, at least not yet. She thinks she is an intelligent girl with a wealth of knowledge but starts to understand that she knows nothing. I thought both Marcellus and Alouette were a bit boring as characters and I think there is much room for them to grow in the next books. They will NEED to develop more as characters. I continued to read because of Chatine aka Theo (Eponine). Chatine is a complex and conflicted character. Her one goal in life is to survive, which means getting off the planet. She does not want to give into the corrupt system and wants to avoid prison on Bastille. Throughout the book her principles and beliefs are constantly challenged and she does not always choose the right path, which continued to make Chatine by far the most interesting and enjoyable character.

The story closely follows that of Les Mis, but for the most part the plot is covered in this first book, which leaves the next book to be opened to the interpretation of the writer's. I am absolutely interested in seeing how Brody & Rendall decide to continue the next book including how the plot will go, how the character's will grow, who will take down the First Estate and what other planets in the System Divine will do in the current state of the galaxy's political climate. There was a lot to gain out of this book with the vast amount of themes, the challenge of moral/ survival principles and the discovery of self. The next book I think will stray from the path of Les Mis, but that leaves the reader with a sense of excitement and curiosity. I frankly want more Chatine!
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*Waves* Bonjour! Hello! I kind of loved this. Like, a lot. 

The writing was really engaging throughout this novel. And that's saying something when this is a beast of a book at almost 600 pages and two authors! This novel is told in three alternating points of view:
- Chatine: a thief disguising herself as a boy to survive in the slums of Laterre.
- Marcellus: a military officer with the General as his grandfather a traitor as a father.
- Alouette: a girl sheltered from the world in a convent-esque environment.
The story itself is separated into parts and individual chapters. As a whole it progresses well and overlaps with margin success. There were a few chapters—the end of Chatine's and the start of Marcellus' in the same location, for instance—where it felt like there was a bit too much recall and it took a few pages to get back into the story. However, for two different voices putting this together, this novel felt seamless. Very well executed. It was fun, intriguing as hell and just about unputdownable. 

Now, this is comped as Les Miserables meets The Lunar Chronicles. I'm going to be upfront and tell you I have never read Les Mis. That said, I have seen the movie ... but barely remember it because I didn't realize until 10 minutes in that by musical they meant there is no speaking. At. All. Whoops. But Prisoner 24601, never forget. Anyways, I did have to quickly look up the basic plot of the story to see how both parallel. In a nutshell: 
Chatine = Eponine
Marcellus = Marius
Alouette = Cosette
While my memory of the entire story is foggy, as far as a re-telling goes this holds pretty close to the original in regards to character relationships, growing unrest in the regime and talk of rebellion.

However, I have to somewhat disagree with The Lunar Chronicles comparison. I see where the dots line up, but it feels very different from Lunar. Yes, it is a science fiction re-telling, but it felt rather lacking on the science fiction side. Even as I write that I'm shaking my head because this is a story set on a planet in space with cyborgs, androids, screens in everyone's arms and spaceships. Sounds like the two should line up, right? But it didn't feel like it. The magic that bled through Cinder did not take hold here. The tech felt weak and generic and the world itself didn't seem as colourful as it could have been. Did I hate it? Absolutely not. Don't you dare think that! It just stood more on its own and something you should bear in mind. 

There is a love triangle of sorts in this, and I, an individual who swears off them where I can, didn't hate this? In keeping with the Les Mis plot line, I think it's kind of obvious how it will all end (and then again, maybe not) but I found myself rooting equally for both sides of the romance. In fact, the one pairing was really quite heartbreaking, which shocked the heck out of me. Again, I will never understand how boys—or people in general—can't tell the difference between a boy and girl in these novels. A hood over your head and dirt on your face really doesn't hide that fact that your voice is high AF. 

I am curious to know how far this series will go. Are they going to maintain staying close to the Les Mis storyline, or are they going to branch out now that they've laid the basis? Duology? Trilogy? Are the rest all going to be 600 pages too? I have many questions, but please know that no answer you give me will prevent me from getting my grubby little hands on Book 2.
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