BOOKS
Sky Without Stars
592p. (System Divine: Bk. 1). S. & S./Simon Pulse. Mar. 2019. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781534410633.POP
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Gr 8 Up–In this series opener based Victor Hugo's Les Miserables, a thief, an officer, and a guardian come together in a shared destiny. Years before, the Last Days came, the planet of Laterre offered a last hope for survival and a new life for a wealthy French family. However, 500 years later, the elite class remains supreme while others starve. Whispers of rebellion have begun and cataclysmic events set in motion that bring together street savvy thief, Chatine; Marcellus, an officer who is grandson to the most powerful man on the planet but also the son of a traitor; and Alouette, who lives in an underground refuge, protecting the last surviving library on the planet. All three have a role to play and together they will shape the future of Laterre. The novel features detailed world-building as it explores themes of power, romance, and identity. It is a coming-of-age journey for the protagonists who must weigh what they've been told with some startling truths. The characters are complex; however, some readers may struggle with the sheer volume of just this first part of the story.
VERDICT Readers who enjoy similar titles such as Marissa Meyer's Lunar Chronicles, the "Empress of a Thousand Skies" duology by Rhoda Belleza, and works of Kristen Simmons will find this first installment an exciting reimagining of Les Miserables.

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