Sky Without Stars
by Jessica Brody and Joanne Rendell
“She’d always known darkness, that much was certain. Her entire life, thus far, had been one of near-constant darkness. But this was a different kind of dark.”
On the planet of Laterre, a planet long ago colonized by French descendant from Earth, Chatine lives as a thief, roaming the dirty streets of Fret 7, one of the dingy areas occupied by the Third Estate, the working class. All she dreams of is to leave Laterre and to start a new life on another planet. Marcellus, the general’s grandson, the son of a traitor, and a member of the Second Estate, lives in a blissful ignorance of luxury. When the Heir of the First Estate is murdered and chaos erupts, Marcellus teams up with Chatine in unlikely circumstances as they both discover what they are willing to do, and not do, to achieve their goals. Meanwhile, Alouette, after living underground for most of her life, finally surfaces for answers and discovers she is a part of something so much bigger, something all three of them will have to face.
Sky Without Stars offers readers a, eerie look at a secondary world that has been overshadowed by many of the horrors our own planet faces on a much darker level. The climate pollution has left them in a haze and their world’s class system has placed a pressure on the people and a desire for radical change. The setting of this book was probably my favourite part, a bunch of distinguishable areas that felt real and alive from the slums of the Frets to the luxury of Ledome.
Chatine was a character I immediately liked, her wile and street-smarts were entertaining and fun to read and I rooted for her from the very beginning. Marcellus stumped me a bit because his character seemed so wishy-washy and uncertain that I never fully got a grasp on who he was or what he wanted. Alouette was annoying at first, possibly because her entry to the story confused my preconceived ideas about where Marcellus and Chatine’s were going romantically, but as the story progressed I liked her character more and more. I am hoping in the next book to see more action from her and I would love to see a conversation between her and Chatine.
The plot was overall entertaining but there were so many things that left me confused and jolted me out of the reader experience. The main idea that stumped me was the world building aspect of time. The main characters are all 17 or 18 and yet there are several comments that show Laterre as having longer days. months and years, which confused me on how old they actually were if these are Earth numbers and how these ages actually looked and felt on this new planet. The plot also kept talking about the uprising that had happened in 488 and the new uprising happening during the book but because of all of the narratives it felt like there was a narrative missing because there was so much missing from this section of the world building, the uprising sector.
Despite some of these confusions, I did heartily enjoy the book and was even surprised by some of the plot twist that came in at the end. Some of the lack of world-building was likely to fuel these twists but it could have been handled a little differently. Overall, I am now invested in the answers that will come in the next instalment and look forward to more adventures from this group.