Welcome to my stop on the FFBC blog tour for Sky Without Stars by Jessica Brody & Joanne Rendell! I am so excited to share my thoughts on this lovely book with you, and give you a chance to win a copy, too! 😁
Sky Without Stars by Jessica Brody, Joanne Rendell
Series: System Divine #1
Published by Simon Pulse on March 26, 2019
Pages: 592
Source:Copy provided by publisher for review, via Netgalley

A thief. An officer. A guardian.
Three strangers, one shared destiny . . .

When the Last Days came, the planet of Laterre promised hope. A new life for a wealthy French family and their descendants. 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 spy on Marcellus, the grandson of the most powerful man on the planet.

Marcellus is an officer—and the son of a renowned traitor. In training to take command of the military, Marcellus begins to doubt the government he’s vowed to serve when his father dies and leaves behind a cryptic message that only one person can read: a girl named Alouette.

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 a role 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.

 photo addtogoodreadssmall_zpsa2a6cf28.png photo B6096376-6C81-4465-8935-CE890C777EB9-1855-000001A1E900B890_zps5affbed6.jpg

Confession time! I have never read/seen/consumed Les Misérables in any capacity. I don’t intend to, either. Though it sounds mildly interesting, classics aren’t really my jam, plus the thing is like, 1500 pages and just hard pass okay? That said, the premise is kind of appealing? So when I saw that this book was going to be an iteration on different freaking planets, obviously sign me up!

The Stuff I Liked:

  • The world is pretty impressive. I mean, I love that it’s French-based, and for reasons that make sense. Plus it’s so fascinating that no matter how much you think you change things (i.e., moving to another solar system), humans never really change. It’s a pretty crappy world to live in for almost everyone, save the upper echelon. Just like it is now, just like it’s always been. The authors did a great job of translating that feel to this new world.
  • The characters are so different, especially when we meet them. They all have wildly different backgrounds and different worldviews because of it. They end up learning a lot by their encounters with each other as well, as they end up seeing things from others’ perspectives.
  • For a nearly-600 page book, it didn’t feel long. I was scared, I won’t lie. Like… will this take me 3 weeks to read? But it actually went really quickly! The chapters are short, which I appreciate always, and I think in this case the POV switches really added a lot to the story. Checking in with everyone moved things along, but also allowed the reader to get to know each character really well.
  • “Let’s raise a couple more… to the Revolution!” Ah, when are Hamilton lyrics not appropriate, right? But seriously, I love when the underdog rises up! Especially when the odds are stacked against them but you so badly want the arc of justice to bend in their favor. Obviously we don’t know how it will play out, but just getting the anarchy started is good for me!

The Stuff I Didn’t Like:

  • My biggest qualm was the predictability. know you’re thinking “yeah dude, it’s a retelling” but I didn’t know the thing we were retelling, so 🤷‍♀️. Now, part of it was fun because it made me feel all kinds of smart when I correctly guessed the twists. But then I was a little bummed at the same time because… well, I’d just predicted the twists!
  • I would have liked more connection to the characters, especially Allouette. I felt like there was a lot of potential to connect with her, but then I just… didn’t? Marcellus grew on me during the course of the book, but it was Chatine who I enjoyed from the start.
  • Hard pass on the romance. I’ll keep it vague for the sake of spoilers, but I just wasn’t into it. At all.

Bottom Line: Such an imaginative take on Les Misérables, it will be very interesting to see where the authors take the next book, as there’s a vast world still to explore!

About Jessica Brody

Jessica Brody is the author of more than 15 books for teens, tweens, and adults including Addie Bell’s Shortcut to Growing Up, A Week of Mondays, Boys of Summer, 52 Reasons to Hate My Father, and the three books in the sci-fi Unremembered trilogy. She’s also the author of the Descendants: School of Secrets series, based on the hit Disney Channel original movie, Descendants. Her books have been translated and published in over 23 countries and Unremembered and 52 Reasons to Hate My Father are currently in development as major motion pictures. She lives with her husband and four dogs and splits her time between California and Colorado.
Visit her online at JessicaBrody.com. Follow her on Twitter or Instagram @JessicaBrody

About Joanne Rendell

Joanne Rendell is the author of three novels and holds a PhD in English literature. She teaches fiction writing to teens and kids and is a board member for the youth Shakespeare company, New Genesis Productions. With her husband and son, Joanne divides her time between New York City, and New Paltz, New York. Visit Joanne at JoanneRendell.com.


Win a copy of SKY WITHOUT STARS by Jessica Brody and Joanne Rendell (US Only)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Have you read Les Misérables? Plan to? Much prefer reading about French Revolution-inspired space shenanigans? 😀 

Posted March 26, 2019 by Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight in Blog Tour, Giveaway, Review / 4 Comments

4 responses to “Sky Without Stars by Jessica Brody & Joanne Rendell: Review & Giveaway

  1. Oh this sounds awesome! I mean, I haven’t even read/watched Les Mis either because it’s huge and I have no patience for singing 😂but I love retellings so like. I will have to try this someday. I’m glad you enjoyed it!

  2. I’ve never managed to get all the way through this book, but I LOVED Les Mis the musical when I was younger. I saw it like three or four times and I knew every song. SO I couldn’t resist pre-ordering this one. I guess it’s sad that it’s predictable, but I was already figuring I’d be able to predict what was going to happen unless it strayed really far from the original story. I guess the fact that you could figure out the twists shows that a lot of these tropes have been around for a VERY long time. 🙂

  3. I’m so excited to read this one!! I mean, I don’t really do musicals and no thanks to classics– so it’s not bc it’s a retelling. I just love Jessica Brody’s books SO HARD. And I read the first 2 chapters as soon as I got it and it was VERY intriguing. The downside is it is very thick– and those books scare me!! Also, I am very MEH on most romances, so that sort of worries me.

    Also, I totally agree– figuring out twists before they happen is NO FUN 🙁 Thanks for being on the tour!! Great review!

  4. So I didn’t actually know that this was a Les Mis retelling when I started reading it, and I absolutely LOVE Les Mis (consequences of having a french mom who’s obsessed with classics), so I had a really excited freak out in the middle of the book when I finally realized that it was a retelling 😂

    I’m on the same page with you about the romance, I really wasn’t going for it, but overall I really enjoyed the book.

Leave a Reply