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Sky Without Stars by Jessica Brody and Joanne Rendell
Young adult

Sky Without Stars

by Jessica Brody and Joanne Rendell

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Quick take

A revolution is brewing on the planet Laterre in this Les Mis retelling set in outer space.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_400

    400+ pages

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_LoveTriangle

    Love triangle

  • Illustrated icon, Icons_Series

    First in series

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_BasedOnAClassic

    Based on a classic

Synopsis

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.

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Free sample

Check out a preview of Sky Without Stars.
Sky Without Stars

Chapter 1

Chatine

The rain was falling sideways in the marsh. It was never a straight downpour. It was always crooked. Just like the people here. Con artists and hustlers and crocs, the lot of them.

Anyone can be a saint until they’re hungry enough.

Chatine Renard was perched high above it all, watching the stream of people churn through the busy marketplace like clotted blood through a vein. She was straddling an exposed metal beam that once connected the old freightship to its roof.

At least, that’s what Chatine had been told—that the Frets were once titanic flying vessels that soared across the galaxy, bringing her ancestors to the planet of Laterre, the coldest and wettest of the twelve planets in the System Divine. But years of neglect and crooked rain had corroded the PermaSteel walls and ceilings, turning the staterooms in the passenger freightships into leaky, mold-ridden housing for the poor, and this cargo freightship into an open-air marketplace.

Chatine pulled her hood farther down her forehead in an attempt to block her face. Much to her dismay, she’d noticed over the past few years that her eyelashes had grown longer, her chest had filled out, her cheekbones had become more pronounced, and her nose had slimmed to a dainty point, which she despised.

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Why I love it

One of the official hashtags for this book is #LesMisInSpace, and while that’s indeed the premise of the story, Sky Without Stars is so much more. It’s an epic sci-fi reimagining of Les Misérables, unexpected and carefully crafted, complete with cyborg police inspectors, prison planets, and a revolution simmering behind the scenes.

The story follows three main characters, who spend the course of this book (the first in a trilogy) developing into key players in the oncoming revolution. There’s Chatine, a streetwise thief who disguises herself as a boy in her quest to escape the slums of her planet; Marcellus, a naïve and privileged military officer trying to repress memories of his father, a convicted revolutionary; and Alouette, a sheltered young woman called upon to defend the planet’s last remaining library and to spread the seeds of revolution.

Despite its length, I flew through this book, diving deeper and deeper into the world Brody and Rendell have built. At first I tried predicting what would happen next, judging how closely the book would align with the original story—but some of the highest praise I can give this book is that very quickly, I forgot that I was reading a retelling of Les Mis at all. The world, plot, and characters—some wealthy, some poverty-stricken, some evil, and some innocent—are rich and strong enough to stand on their own. I can’t wait to see what happens next in this series.

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Member ratings (443)

  • Angela C.

    Florence, AZ

    I’ve never read Les Misérables and I don’t plan to, so I don’t know how the story compares. That being said, I enjoyed the story and the multiple POVs. I was really immersed in the world building.

  • Laura B.

    Princeton, MN

    I really wish this book would be turned into a movie. I loved every minute of this story. I had all sorts of emotions reading this book. I actually fell in love with this book and could not put it down

  • Katherine T.

    Austin, TX

    Four words: Les Mis, in space. I will admit that it was hard to get into at first, because the alternating chapters can be jarring, but eventually you get sucked DEEP into this fully-realized universe

  • Eleanor H.

    Caldwell, ID

    This book was one of the most enjoyable books I have read all year long. I would agree that the world building was excellent and the comparisons/contrasts to Les Miserables wonderful. Read it again!

  • Stephani P.

    Houston, TX

    Cinder meets Les Miserables. This book has everything I wanted plus all of the things I didn't think to ask for. Discovering all the connections to LM--I'm getting butterflies just remembering. Love.

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