Reading level: Young Adult
Genre: Science Fiction
Size: 320 Pages
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Release Date: September 13th, 2011
Stand Alone or Series: 1st book in the Sky Chasers series
Source: Audiobook for review from publisher
Rating: 2/5 stars
I got an audiobook copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I was eager to read this book, I haven’t read much YA sci-fi and was curious to see how it was. It was an okay book, decently-written but flawed in a number of ways.
The audiobook itself was very well done. There are two voice actors one for the girl and one for the boy. They both did an excellent job reading and actually added a lot to the story.
Waverly and Kieran are the two oldest teens in their generation aboard the Empyrean. The Empyrean is one of two large ships that left Earth on a generations long journey to terra-form New Earth. When the Empyrean comes up behind the other ship, The New Horizon, they know something is wrong. When they are attacked by the New Horizon things begin to fall apart. Waverly and Kieran are both put in separate challenging situations that will take all of their wits to survive. The book is broken into multiple parts and the parts alternate between Waverly and Kieran.
The premise behind this book is interesting and the characters are well done. Waverly, Kieran, and Seth are all realistic characters that are easy to relate to. The book is also very well written, things are described in such a way that they really come alive for the reader. The tension is built in such a way that you are just holding your breath waiting for the next terrible thing that will happen to these characters.
The main thing I didn’t like about the book was the premise and story itself. There is absolutely nothing positive in this book; the characters go from one dreadful situation to another with no glimpse of hope. So I basically found it an incredibly depressing read. Then of course there is a little teenage love triangle drama going on as well which I am not all that fond of.
This is a read for older teens. There are a number of incredibly disturbing things that happen in this story. They were hard for me to read about and process, so I can’t imagine younger readers dealing with them. While that makes the story interesting food for thought, it also gave me a yucky, slimy feeling for the whole book. Some of the disturbing things encountered are rape, forced drugging of kids, forced surgeries on kids, violent beatings, mindwashing of young kids, torture, and very graphic descriptions of both violent and surgerical situations. There were some surgical things that happened in this book that seriously made my knees weak while reading about them. As a result I kind of cringed everytime I picked this book up to read it, wondering what horrible thing I would have to read about next.
There is also a heavy religious overtone to this book. You have to read a number of sermons. There is much speculation on religion used to bring hope versus religion used in a cult like way (to subjugate humans). I don’t like reading about religion much, I just don’t care. It is also a very deliberately paced book, this made it a rather slow read. Lastly there were some consistency issues…for example in the span of a few months some of the women go from not pregnant to incredibly pregnant…scientists are smart enough to do complex surgeries but not smart enough to think about longterm genetic implications. This inconsistencies just further irritated me.
The book does end well tying up a number of issues while leaving an overall goal that needs to be achieved in following books.
Overall this book is thought-provoking. That being said I absolutely did not enjoy reading it. I almost stopped reading it a number of times, but since it was on as an audiobook that I listened to while I was driving, I didn’t. There is a heavy religious overtone to this book and there are many very disturbing scenarios that the characters deal with (violent, surgical, and sexual). I would only recommend this for older young adults and up. If you are interested in reading a deliberately paced young adult sci-fi that is incredibly disturbing this might be a great book for you. It wasn’t a great book for me though, I wish I could get the time I spent reading this back. I will not be reading anymore of this series.