Review: Sky Without Stars by Jessica Brody & Joanne Rendell

Title: Sky Without Stars
(System Divine #1)
Author: Jessica Brody & Joanne Rendell
Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Retellings
Source: Simon Pulse via Edelweiss
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: March 26th 2019

A thief. An officer. A guardian. Three strangers. One shared destiny . . . When the Last Days came, the planet of Laterre promised hope. 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 spying on Marcellus, the grandson of the most powerful man on the planet. Marcellus is an officer—and the son of a traitor. Groomed to command by his legendary grandfather, Marcellus begins to doubt the government he’s vowed to serve when he discovers a cryptic message that only one person, a girl named Alouette, can read. 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 roles 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.

I must admit, the first time I read this book I actually DNFed it about half way through because I just wasn’t that interested in it. I’m also not so familiar was Les Miserables so I ended up DNFing and never looked back. Fast forward to July and I realized that I was approved on Edelweiss as well as NetGalley for the title and now that I didn’t have a never ending pile of soon to be released books to read I decided to dive into this almost 600 page book again. Needless to say, I actually ended up really enjoying it and I am pretty excited about the next book in the series.

I want to talk about the world building first rather then characters because I actually found it quite interesting. The last days (The death of earth) the discovered planet of Laterre promised hope for those who were able to inhabit it. But now having been living on Laterre for five hundred years, society is separate by the extravagant higher class and then the lower class. The higher class lives under a dome where they see the sky and the beauty of the sun where the lower class lives under constant clouds and haven’t seen the sun in years. I found it quite interesting to see how one class was more superior then the other when they were essentially the same at the end of the day. I also really enjoyed the underground library that Aloutte lives in with the sisters, the library contains books that were smuggled from earth and hidden in a secret underground society that has swore their lives to protect them. Sky Without Stars contains in the end three different society classes that were all interesting and unique in thier own way.

Sky Without Stars is split up into three point of views: Chatine, Marcellus and Aloutte.

Chatine: Chatine is a cut throat, street savvy thief he dresses as a boy and goes by the alias of Theo. She is desperate to leave the slums and the planet of Laterre behind and to start over. She continues to steal objects from people in order to pay her passage to the new planet, but when the price becomes inflated and Chatine is running out of time. That is until she is given an interesting offer that will have her crossing paths with Marcellus. 

Marcellus: Marcellus is the son of one of the biggest traitors in the history of Laterre. A bombing that his father initiated caused the deaths of hundreds and since then has has been locked away on a prison planet. Marcellus' point of view starts with him learning that his father is dead and he has to go to the morgue to identify his body. Marcellus is an officer of the government and is set to replace his grandfather. He is being groomed to be the perfect General, but Marcellus has one thing that the others don't. His compassion and humanity. When Marcellus and Theo (Chatine) cross paths and the on coming rebellion threatening to destroy the already fragile society. But Chatine has motives of her own. 

Aluotte: Things start to get a little trickier when Aluotte comes into the picture. She is part of a sisterhood that protects the books from the old world and chronicles the history of life on Laterre. For 12 years Aluotte has never been above ground, until she spots an injured Marcellus and sneaks out to help him. Soon Aluotte learns things about her father and how he isn't who he says to be and soon Aluotte is on the run for her life. I will admit, she wasn't my favorite character. But she was essential to the plot. 

I never expected the twists and turns that Sky Without Stars brings or how intertwined all three characters are. After some of the big revelations at the end of the novel, I am super excited to see where this series is going to go. The only down fall I had with this book was the romance, I felt like it really wasn't needed. I know this is a retelling so it is needed, but it felt weird and not all that natural to me. Plus Sky Without Stars only takes place over a course of a few days. 

Overall I do highly recommend Sky Without Stars and I can't wait to see with this duo has in store for their readers and this group of characters. 

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