Brody and Rendell’s retelling delivers extravagant settings, lush world-building, thrilling intrigue, and characters that will stay with readers long after the last page. These elements more than make up for a somewhat predictable plot and will keep readers invested and hungering for the next installment.
... a massive tome, full of twists and turns and a thousand agonies that propel its characters to their inevitable fates ... The worldbuilding is fun, with lots of clever names for things, many of them in French, the language of Laterre's founding family. I do wish we understood a little more of the science of the world — how the slow revolutions of the suns works, what was on the planet before, are there any native plants and animals — but perhaps more of that will come in the sequels ... sometimes when modern YA genre novels take on these themes, they skim across the surface, mouthing the language of revolution without showing the teeth that today's teens have had to bare for themselves. I wish that Sky Without Stars had a bit more bite ... despite its physical heft is a fairly brisk read. It zips along from one plot twist to the next, drawing inspiration from Les Mis without being married to its characters, story, or true depth. La Revolution Lite is on tap here, and it's frothy, perhaps quenching the thirst for social justice without actually doing any hydrating. Those seeking substance may be left unsatisfied, but readers looking for inventive entertainment will find themselves well quaffed.
The use of an old written language for secret communications by the resistance is a compelling element ... The authors play with formulaic elements to freshen the story. Skin color is rarely mentioned, and the book seemingly defaults to white despite the presence of black people in early modern France ... A fast-paced, immersive, and imaginative romp.