Review by: Rebecca C.
“The rich traded goods and extravagances. While the poor traded dreams and ideas.”Sky Without Stars (p. 179)
First, a little summary on Sky Without Stars by Jessica Brody and Joanne Rendell: Everyone thought that they were going to have a chance when they fled from the burning Earth to Laterre. Well, let’s just say they were painstakingly wrong. Laterre now has a 3-part corrupt caste system that makes for a successful, yet hurting planet. The First Estate is an “extravagant elite class” that consists of our equivalent of kings and queens: the Matrome, the Patriarche, and the Premier Enfant. They don’t do much except for play. The Second Estate is made up of the governing officials known as the Ministére and other residents that live cushy lives inside of a climate-controlled dome with fake Sols (suns). The Third Estate is the working class that lives in the Frets, a dark neighborhood made up of makeshift houses with hurting people. This could all change if the rebel group from the past known as Vangarde rises to the occasion of another revolution attempt.
This Les Misérables-inspired book features three intriguing characters. Chatine is a girl from the Third Estate who is trying to get out of Laterre. Instead of following the money-making ways of other girls, she attempts to become a thief to earn the funds for the flight. Will she be able to flee Laterre? Marcellus is the grandson of the General, so he is also an Officer of the Ministére. This Second Estate boy is widely known and loved by everyone, except for his grandfather. What will he do when he finds out the truth about this corrupt society? Alouette is a guardian of an underground library. She belongs to no estate because her society is completely isolated from Laterre even though they live right under the Frets. They protect all of the books from the Old World. Will Alouette rise in her guardian ranking, or will she become distracted?
I am in love with the three characters. I have always enjoyed books with 3rd person omniscient narration of different characters. All three characters express individuality, and I can personally relate to that as well. Chatine wants to do what men do for success instead of what women do for success. Women have to sell their blood, but men steal objects instead. The way she gets around this is truly fascinating. Marcellus begins to think for himself instead of being brainwashed by his grandfather when important decisions have to be made. Allouette is more curious about the outside world than her peers. She seeks more than the people around her.
“…some events will shape these characters in ways you never thought possible.”
The storyline consists of 6 parts overall with 78 chapters. At the beginning of each part, a feature quote from the planet’s archives is shown, which gets you thinking about context and values. I like that the chapters are fairly short because then there is more diversity in the perspectives of what is going on. I never found this book boring, and some events will shape these characters in ways you never thought possible.
You should definitely check out this book if you are interested in dystopian, adventure novels. Sky Without Stars also features themes of corruption, class-based societies, thinking for yourself, being creative, and that things aren’t always as they seem to be. It’s a longer read of about 579 pages, but you won’t regret it.
Overall I would give this book a rating of 5/5 antique typewriters for having characters with different stories intertwining paths, a very shocking ending, and for showing how important it is to listen to the people around us.
Rebecca’s Favorite Quotes
- “The rich traded goods and extravagances. While the poor traded dreams and ideas” (p. 179).
- “Azelle was more than welcome to sit around all day waiting for the greedy pomps in the Second Estate to help her. But Chatine was much more inclined to help herself” (p. 29).
- “A key to unlocking another piece of a world she didn’t know” (p. 84).
- “[Principale Francine} would be ready to lock up the library for the night, and [Alouette] would beg for just five more minutes. One more chapter” (p. 162).
- “This was a place to truly be alone. A place to think. It was a place where, for once, Marcellus couldn’t be seen or questioned or expected” (p. 182).
- “Chatine did not like the person she was turning into” (p. 304).
- “I don’t know what to think anymore” (p. 345).
- “Marcellus felt a chill run down his spine as a million puzzle pieces seemed to suddenly clatter into place” (p. 381).
- “It was a war over his mind. A war over his heart. A war over a single word” (p. 439).
- “‘I am not my father’” (p. 467).
- “The air was too artificially sweet with the scent of power and privilege and corruption” (p. 525).