I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
When Planets Fall
Abby J. Reed
(Stars Fall Circle #1)
Published by: Soul Mate Publishing
Publication date: April 12th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Science Fiction, Young Adult
“In this richly imagined start to a new sci-fi series, Reed brings optimism to the goal of solving entrenched violence in a galaxy far, far away . . . A propulsive, sharply crafted tale about a planetary war.” -Kirkus Reviews
Breaker’s home is cleaved by blood. The three tribes on the planet Scarlatti, whose only difference is their blood color, each want to exploit Breaker’s valley for themselves. The feudal tension has already claimed red-blood Breaker’s leg and his older brother. Now all this 18-year old wants is to maintain the tenuous peace in order to keep his little ‘stroid of a brother alive. Malani, a red-blood raised blue, is a kidnapped POW and only wants to return to her adoptive home with her dangerous blue secrets. Luka, a red-blood stewing for trouble, wants to right wrongs done to his family and bath his home in justice.
All three intersect when Breaker discovers a wrecked starship and is given seven days by the green-bloods to fix and hand it over as a weapon. Breaker must decide if aiding his enemies is worth the home he knows and his family’s life. War is coming. And war respects no boundaries. And war leaves no survivors.
Sci-fi novels are tricky, especially when they take place on another planet. The author doesn’t just have to work out a plot and realistic characters. They have to create an entire universe within those pages, a whole world with rules on how it all works. And if the rules don’t make sense, the story will begin to unravel and a reader won’t be willing to believe.
Thankfully, Abby Reed has pulled it off. I was more than willing to follow her into this story, right from page one, and I am going to be going crazy over here, waiting for the sequel. I don’t want to jump through hoops trying to explain a world in a few short sentences that took a whole book to lay out. But at the same time, I will explain that the very nature of the book might be better suited for a more mature teen reader. It is listed as YA, but there is a certain level (not too graphic) of violence, considering it’s building towards a war. Death is a living, breathing part of their lives.
I love that Reed wasn’t shy about putting her characters through the wringer. They get banged up, thrown around, shot at; you name it! The main protagonist, Breaker, has a prosthetic leg, after losing a leg in one of those violent acts I mentioned earlier. While it causes some complications, it’s never seen as a weakness. Rather than lamenting the loss of his leg, Breaker has a unique bond with his prosthesis, even giving it a name. The other main MC is Malani. I don’t want to go into too much depth about what sets her apart from all the other red-bloods, but having been raised by blue-bloods, she feels set apart from the other red-bloods. She wants nothing more than to go home, but she knows too much about the blue-bloods’ technology, she’s too valuable. She suffers regularly with anxiety and PTSD, after being held prisoner by the green-bloods. There aren’t many chapters from Luka’s perspective, but I suspect that he will play a much larger role in the sequel. I can’t get a good read on him yet. I spent much of the book considering him a villain, and yet there are redeeming qualities about him that I feel could develop into something more.
Predictions for the sequel? I can’t even go there. When the book wrapped up, I was left on uneven ground. I was a little disappointed that the characters didn’t necessarily end up on the best footing with each other. Trust will need to be built up again, and I can’t even begin to guess where they’re headed. They will need to rely on each other, no doubt, but I feel like there are still too many loose threads left danging. I sincerely hope that we return to a lot of the issues still hanging.
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Abby J. Reed writes young adult science fiction and fantasy novels that ask what if. She has a degree in English Writing and is drawn to characters with physical limitations due to her own neurological disorder called Chronic Migraine. Her debut novel, WHEN PLANETS FALL, will be published in April 2017 by Soul Mate Publishing.
Abby lives in Colorado with her husband and two fluffy pups. If her hands aren’t on the keyboard, they are stained purple and blue with paint. Find her online at www.abbyjreed.com.
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