BOOK REVIEW: Sky Without Stars (System Divine #1) by Jessica Brody & Joanna Rendell

BOOK REVIEW: Sky Without Stars (System Divine #1) by Jessica Brody & Joanna RendellSky Without Stars (System Divine #1)
by Jessica Brody, Joanne Rendell
Purchase on: Amazon
Add to: Goodreads


A thief. An officer. A guardian.

Three strangers, one shared destiny . . .

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.

Power, romance, and destiny collide in this sweeping reimagining of Victor Hugo’s masterpiece, Les Misérables.


The rich traded good and extravagances.
While the poor traded dreams and ideas.

From The Chronicles of the Sisterhood
Volume 12, Chapter 1

When I first came across this book, I wasn’t so much drawn in by the fact that it was a Les Mis retelling. It really was as simple as me seeing “where she guards and protects the last surviving library on the planet” in the synopsis. Little did I know, that was going to be one of the last things on my mind after finishing this book.

I don’t know how many people are going to pick this up because they love Les Mis. I personally have only seen the movie from 2012 once so before getting into this I read a synopsis of the original book by Victor Hugo to refresh my memory. That probably isn’t necessary—in fact, I almost don’t think you should. If anything, it caused me more stress because I was too wrapped up in worrying about if Chatine was going to die like her counterpart does in the book. Also, it almost took some of the suspense out of several parts because you can guess what might happen based on what happened in Les Mis. But let’s just forget about the retelling aspect of this for a moment.

Let’s just focus on what this book is. In short, it’s a book about the separation between the rich and the poor on a planet that has formed after the destruction of the First World (Earth). It’s a story about rebellion. It’s a story about spending your whole life thinking one thing is true because of what you’ve learned from your family, only to have that life flipped on its head after discovering there’s more to the story than you ever could have imagined.

Even though I knew this story was going to be about rebellion, I wasn’t prepared for how dark it was going to be. How visceral some of the emotions that this book elicits might be. Ever since I’ve become a mom I have felt things a lot more intensely. So reading about an infant death, poor, starving people that have to accept their lot in life, parental abuse, etc. really got to me. It made the book more real to me. Made the rebellion more gut-wrenching.

If I haven’t already made it apparent, these ladies can write. I truly was sucked in while reading. The characters were great. It was easy to love them, to hate them, to desperately root for them. There is *kind of* a love triangle that I feel like we might see play out more in the next book(s). (Personally I’m rooting for Chatine, lol she deserves a happy ending, damn.) And that’s actually where I pray things deviate from Les Mis. I don’t want to know who dies and who ends up together based on the original book. I want to be surprised in this next book PLEASE.

The only reason I’m not giving this a full five stars is because there were parts where I felt it drag a bit. I mean I’m not quite complaining about the length? There was a lot of world building and plot to build up so it’s not like it could have been much shorter…I honestly can’t even quite put my finger on it. I just wasn’t feeling a half star’s worth of the book. Regardless, I am dying to see how EVERYTHING plays out in the next book. Definitely give this one a shot!

Huge thanks to NetGalley and Simon Pulse for allowing me to read an eARC in exchange for an honest review!

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  1. Raven

    OMG, I totally agree with your review! I don’t know anything about Les Miserables! Never watched the movie or read the book. I enjoyed this book but Chantine was the only character that I loved because the other two seemed dull to me. I’m a sucker for morally grey characters and I really wanted Chantine to have a happy ending. After finishing the book, I googled the original story which was the biggest mistake I’ve ever done. Now I don’t want to continue the series because I seriously can’t handle that heartache. I really hope the author gives an alternative end to this retelling.
    Great review btw! 🙂
    Raven recently posted…The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air #2) By Holly Black [Review]My Profile

    • Arielle

      NOOOOOOOO lol but yeah I hope they will and feel like there’s a good chance they’ll switch it up since that’s like the whole point of a re-telling. I mean obviously they made it their own by featuring it in space BUT it would be a little too predictable if she died. HINT HINT, AUTHORS. lol. We’ll just have to keep our fingers crossed. Thanks, Raven 🙂

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