Disclaimer: I was provided with an eARC of this book, courtesy of NetGalley, in exchange for a fair review!
This book has been getting a fair amount of hype on Insta, so I was very excited when I was approved for it on NetGalley. I do have a confession to make before I continue, and that is that I have never actually read Les Mis, nor have I seen the movie. So I went into this “Les Mis in space” novel mostly blind, beyond what the description on the book jacket told me, and what little I know about the plot of Victor Hugo’s original. However, I made it about 20% into the book before I caved and looked up the plot of Les Mis on Wikipedia. This left me with little to no desire to read the original, nor to watch the film, but it did give me a little better understanding of what I was reading, and helped me to navigate the plot better.
All that being said, let’s get into some details, shall we? I am going to keep this mostly spoiler free, since it is such a new book!
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.
As I said, I did have to do a little Les Mis research after starting this one, because the plot was a little complicated and I found myself feeling lost. That being said, once I had a better grip of the source material, I found this super enjoyable and ended up reading the whole book in one sitting! If you are a fan of Les Mis then I would definitely recommend this for you. If you haven’t had any experience with it (welcome to the club) then I suggest a quick peak at the wiki page, just to get you up to speed. You COULD read this blind, like I attempted to, but I feel like I was missing out on so many references to the original that I needed to have at least some idea of the plot.
This story had three narrators: Alouette, Marcellus, and Chatine. Alouette was easily my favorite of the three, and her parts of the story were the ones I loved best. She had a positive enthusiasm about her that was super refreshing against the very bleak background of this story. Her upbringing kept her from becoming jaded, and she was more knowledgeable than the other two.
Marcellus was my second favorite, although it did take me some time to warm to him. He was ridiculously naive (and he wasn’t even raised in isolation like Alouette), and had this puppy dog quality about him that was equal parts endearing and frustrating. Half of me wanted to shelter him and keep him safe, and the other half wanted to reach out and shake him and tell him to grow a pair. We did, however, learn more about his upbringing later in the book and that helped me understand him a little better. It was no surprise to me that he falls in love with Alouette – she really is a bright light, and he needed love.
Chatine was my least favorite and I often found myself frustrated with her. She spent the entire book masquerading as a boy, and yet kept getting super pissed off that Marcellus fell for Alouette and didn’t show any interest in her. How she thought this made any sense at all is totally beyond me. I am usually a fan of morally grey characters, but she toed the line just a bit to much for me to fully appreciate her.
Overall, the book seemed to follow the original pretty well, plot wise, and was very fast paced and had a good amount of action. It left off with a pretty huge cliffhanger, which definitely left me ready for book two! I can absolutely recommend this book to fans of gritty pseudo-SciFi, and those who love the original!
Sky Without Stars is on sale now, and you can purchase it by following this link!