Sky Without Stars (System Divine Series #1)

Sky Without Stars (System Divine Series #1)

by Jessica Brody, Joanne Rendell

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Sky Without Stars 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Amy Smith Carman 11 months ago
Title: Sky Without Stars Author: Jessica Brody Pages: 592 Genre: Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Retelling Series or Stand-Alone: Book 1 of System Divine Series Stars: 4.5/5 Bechdel Test? (Depiction of Women): Yes Trigger Warning: Some violence I received a free eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. Sky without Stars is a fantastic retelling of Les Misérables! Several centuries in the future, revolution looms on the French planet of Laterre as the rich rule for themselves and the poor attempt to eke out livings on the rainy planet. Though the art of reading has been lost, a repeat of the French Revolution is in the works. We follow three different characters from different backgrounds as they attempt to live through the impending revolution. Book 1 only tells the first portion of Les Misérables. I’m assuming the remaining books in the series will continue on. Likes: I love how creative the world of Laterre is! We have all the best of futuristic sci-fi, with robots, spaceships, and cyborgs. It reminded me of the Lunar Chronicles in many places. Recommendations: For YA and up who like fantasy and sci-fi.
JillJemmett More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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. I definitely liked Chatine, 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. I admit her behaviour annoyed me sometimes with her "not like other girls" attitude and how much she hated Alouette for most of the book. I was shocked when Chatine called Alouette a "bimbo," because, uh, COME ON? I don't think even book!Éponine was that hateful towards Cosette. And I wish that Chatine's internalized misogyny was addressed more. 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
BookwormBekah More than 1 year ago
Jessica Brody and Joanne Rendell's Sky Without Stars perfectly blends Victor Hugo's classic Les Misérables and Marissa Meyer's The Lunar Chronicles, creating a multi-faceted space saga. Brody and Rendell pay homage to Hugo by integrating character names and certain plot points. However, this novel can be enjoyed without being familiar with Les Misérables.
Instead of being in France, we are on the planet Laterre, which is French Colony. On Laterre, the lower class or the Third Estate is kept away from the climate-controlled bubble where the First Estate live, which mirrors the disconnect the people of Paris felt when it came to their royalty living at Versailles during the late 1700s.
Sky Without Stars is divided into six parts that fit together thematically, following the lives of three very different people: Chatine, Marcellus, and Aoulette. Through Chatine's eyes we explore life lived in the Third Estate, the daily struggles they face just to get by, and how, for her, that involves playing the part of Theo. Marcellus shows us how the First and Second Estate lives, and his personal struggles between trying to live up to his grandfather's expectations and being the son of a dead traitor. Finally, sheltered Aoulette provides insight on life outside of the government, and we discover, along with her, all the secrets of the past and what life is really like in the world above her head. When their lives suddenly crash together, everything changes.
Brody and Rendell's writing creates a dark view on the world, but not one without any light or hope. I anticipate more awful things happening (because of the source material), but the tone isn't bleak. There is excitement and energy that intermingles with despair. Emotions and confusion, the need to better oneself, and political machinations drive the plot at an easy pace. Information is slowly revealed, making the revelations more impact-full.
Taking a novel the size and scope of Les Misérables and making it into a space saga is no easy task, yet Brody and Rendell's Sky Without Stars accomplishes that task with grace. I loved how this novel was executed. I loved seeing how Brody and Rendell introduced familiar elements of Les Misérables, such as the character Prisoner 24601. I'm also interested to see how the love triangle of Marcellus, Aoulette and Chatine pans out since their dynamic is so different (and yet so similar). Overall, I adored this novel and give it a 4.5/5 stars. I anxiously await the next installment. Also, thank you NetGalley for sending me an ARC!
COBauer More than 1 year ago
I knew I was going to love this book from the very first moment Jessica Brody said these 4 words to me: “Les Mis… In Space.” Oh. My. GOD! They did NOT disappoint!!! SKY WITHOUT STARS by Jessica Brody & Joanne Rendell is a spectacular retelling of one of my favorite stories. I truly loved everything about this book! It was totally on point—from the three powerful voices of their leading players, to the incredibly vivid descriptions and world-building. I was completely enthralled from page one. Don’t let the long page count intimidate you! I hardly noticed it thanks to excellent pacing. Part 1 takes off as we’re almost immediately thrown into the rumblings of a world primed for revolution. We’re given a few paces to breathe and reflect before we’re thrust into a race to a finale full of twists and turns. You’ve been warned: there’s a KILLER cliffhanger that will leave you desperate to get your hands on the next book in the series! What really impressed me was the authors’ abilities to craft two very strong and unique female leads—particularly when it came to the character of Alouette (Cosette). Most Les Miz fans will agree that Cosette tends to be a major throwaway character. She is passive, flat, and one-dimensional. Her sole purpose is to prompt positive action from the two male leads. Even Eponine to some degree is primarily driven by her secret love for Marius… I was 100% ready to HATE Alouette. Particularly since I grew up LOVING Chatine (Eponine) and I even played the role of Eponine. I had to fight some deeply rooted bias as I read this book. Honestly, I was blown away. They managed to make Alouette a total bad-ass and they finally gave a character I couldn’t have cared less about real depth and dimension. I was surprised to find myself rooting for her by the end of the book! Well. Done. So, if you’re looking for a compelling new YA Sci-Fi series—then you MUST give SKY WITHOUT STARS a read! 5 BRIGHTLY BURNING SOLS! Note: I received a complimentary advanced copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.
BecLibrarian More than 1 year ago
This is a YA space Sci-Fi that is a reimagined and futuristic take on Les Miserables. Let’s just appreciate that strange meshing of worlds for a moment. Overall, I enjoyed this novel, including the multiple POVs and the fascinating world/universe. Occasionally, it felt a big sluggish, and I think in this instance, the story would be better if it was tighter and the pacing faster. Probably the 3 POVs ended up slowing the story down, though I found them quite interesting and necessary to showing the depth of the world. This story is also a bit rambling at times, and I did zone out occasionally and have to force myself to refocus. It’s occasionally guilty of throwing too many unnecessary details at you at once, which becomes too much to absorb, but then it recovers pretty quickly. In addition, the plot lingers at times, when it should just press forward, so instead of an action-packed adventure, it sometimes feels like more of a character study. Despite some of those issues, I enjoyed the character building and growth, though with a novel of this size, I do wish it had run even a bit deeper than it does. I’m happy this is a series, because I think this is a good step in the right direction, and I’m curious to see what comes next. I remain very hopeful that this is one of those series where the first book is busy laying the groundwork, but it’s the later books that make you love the world beyond compare. OTHER FUN PERKS: ---the French influences ---the wildly different worldviews of the 3 POVs ---the social hierarchy WOULD LOVE TO SEE IN THE FUTURE NOVELS: ---more diversity ---more twists and surprises ---more complex relationships between characters This is a great pick for YA Sci-Fi and fantasy fans, as well as for those that like unique retellings/reimaginings, and/or multiple POVs. Pages: 592
ShesGoingBookCrazy More than 1 year ago
Les Miserables is a massive book. It’s an even larger task to unpack everything within its text. I can’t even fathom what it would be like to try and create a retelling of this classical tale. Yet, authors Jessica Brody and Joanne Rendell did it. And, they did a heck of a job at it! Just to emphasize their accomplishment a bit further---they wrote a retelling of one of the most iconic classical tales, and set it in space, while still keeping true to the original story. You guys, I won’t be able to get over this book for a while. Thank goodness it’s a part of a series, so I don’t have to completely die...yet...from book hangover! Probably one of the biggest issues I have with the Young Adult genre is that there isn’t an overabundance of quality writing. You know, like with actual world building, setting description, and, for the love of all things good, further rendering of a character beyond their hair and eye color! The characters of Sky Without Stars are made of flesh and bone, sinew and blood. They have personalities with depth and harbor layers of emotion. The best part about these characters is that nothing is easy. Each and every character has a life full of raw, merciless experience---a true reflection of what Les Miserables aims to portray. I just want to say that this book has been compared to The Lunar Chronicles. Yes, there are some similarities---limited to the fact that this is a retelling set in space. That’s where the line ends. This book surpasses The Lunar Chronicles by far in every aspect, but especially in overall quality, character development, and plot ingenuity. This is one of the best Young Adult books that I’ve read in a long time, as well as a new favorite, for certain. I can’t wait to read the sequel, which I hope is coming sooner than later! Vulgarity: Minimal. Sexual content: Minimal. Violence: Quite a bit.
thegeekishbrunette More than 1 year ago
Laterre promised a place for those to live during the Last Days. It became home to a wealthy French family and their descendants. Now that 500 years has gone by, an elite class reigns and a rebel group is ready to take action. Alouette, Chatine, and Marcellus each come from different backgrounds and will have a huge role to play in this revolution. When it comes to the characters, Alouette, Chatine, and Marcellus have their own point of views when it comes to the chapters. It was interesting to see the story unfold through different sets of eyes. It adds a bit to the story and gives the characters a bit more depth. Marcellus is a part of the regime and after awhile he begins to question what they are doing. I like characters like this because its so easy to fall into a group or just take someone’s word without questioning any of it. It’s always good to question because that is how we grow. Unfortunately, it was still quite hard to have a connection with the other characters and even Marcellus at times. The plot is a retelling of Les Miserable but set in space which is a unique take on the story. It is full of cool sci-fi stuff, like robots which gives this retelling more of an updated feel. Without having read Les Miserable, it is easy to understand the revolution that is taking place. Usually sci-fi keeps me intrigued but the plot was not grasping my attention and it was hard to continuously read through this book. Overall, this just wasn’t a book for me. I managed to get through it but it never had a grab affect on me. It was neither good nor bad and I am sure others will absolutely love this book especially if they are a fan of Les Miserable. (I received a digital copy from the publisher. All opinions are my own.)
Lisa_Loves_Literature More than 1 year ago
If you've followed me for awhile, you know that I'm always up for a retelling, especially when it is one like this, a major classic story, Les Miserables. This book did not disappoint in that aspect. Sky Without Stars is definitely a sweeping epic of a story. Even set in space on another planet, in another solar system, it has the operatic feel of Les Miserables. As I read I definitely tried to match up characters with what I knew of that classic, since I'd only seen the movie and never read the book. This world was one that had a lot of things going on that seemed kind of counter-intuitive to a future society. Because while they had screens built into their arms, no one knew how to actually read words anymore. It was all pictures and people actually speaking. That in itself hurt my heart so much! But it helped to make the poor third class people really appear to be down below everyone. I loved that they had brought their French customs and names of things like the Bastille along with them. It did end on a cliffhanger, and at such a long book, almost 600 pages, I can only imagine how much we have left to this story when the next book comes out. A great story for both science fiction readers, as well as deep classic types of storytelling lovers.