This was an emotional read for me, not because of the content in the book but because my high expectations were punched in the face.
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.
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*
You guys, I’m seriously so bummed about this. Only 2.5 stars?! I thought for sure that I was going to love this book. For a bit of backstory: My fellow library lady and I went to a book convention and one of the authors was there talking about her new book. Needless to say, I thought it sounded amazing. I love sci-fi, I enjoyed the other book the author had written, and I love Les Misérables. Put it all together and you should have a compelling, emotional, and thrilling tale, right?
The first 75% of the book was so dang slow. I would get a couple paragraphs into the chapter and my brain would wander off, wondering what it could do for more entertainment.
The authors did a great job of setting up Laterre and the atmosphere of the book. Their retelling was both original and faithful to its inspiration. My problem is that I wanted more from their setup. The book is told from three POVs and I only had a consistent sliver of interest in Chatine’s story. Alouette was slightly interesting and I really couldn’t care less about Marcellus. Each character has an interesting premise- just take a look at the summary! But the authors didn’t give me enough to care about. I didn’t get a good sense of Marcellus or Alouette from their POVs and the interactions between the characters didn’t give me anything substantial either.
Beyond the flat characters, the book was unnecessarily long. Multiple chapters could have been removed entirely because of how little they contributed to character and plot development or how repetitive they were. I can’t tell you how many chapters I read and though “hmm, I didn’t get any new information from that so why should I keep reading?”
Now, I’m a fan of Les Mis and I will admit that it is a crazy long and sometimes boring movie/production (haven’t read the book, oops). But this is an original retelling of the story, (Javert is a cyborg, people!) so the authors could have easily done away with the parts that drag on. Just saying, I don’t think we can attribute the many boring chapters to remaining authentic to the original story.
So the first 75% of the book gets a solid 2 stars from me. I didn’t care about the character, I was tired of waiting for the plot to really begin, and I was generally just annoyed that the book was letting me down so much.
Now let’s talk about the last 25% of the book! This is when it actually got pretty interesting.
We start to learn more about this revolution that’s been brewing for the past two decades and what that has to do with our little motley crew. Our characters start to grow and open their minds to new ideas and possibilities of their world and themselves. Vague issues form into more tangible conflicts for the characters and the plot really picks up.
I actually quite enjoyed the last 25% of the book.
I can’t say much about what happened without spoiling the book, but if you can make it through the first 75% I think you’ll enjoy the ending. It was both satisfying and a cliffhanger; satisfying because of where the characters had personally grown but a cliffhanger because the conflicts had really pushed the plot ahead. All things said, I’d give the last 25% about 3 or 3.5 stars. I can’t completely forget how disappointing the beginning was, no matter how badly I want to.
There were some smaller things that I both liked and disliked about the book.
I disliked the random French words thrown in there. I already know this is a retelling of Les Mis, why do you have to force a French element into the book by spelling “transmitter” as “transmitteur?” Also, I know this isn’t hard sci-fi but can I please get more explanations to some of the science and tech stuff? There’s only so much I can accept without questioning why you decided to give them 408 days in a year rather than 365.
I liked Chatine’s storyline and how everything in her life affected her. I liked the themes about social class and the huge gaps between classes. I liked that the Bastille was on the freaking moon, duh! I liked Roche, the fiery little Fret boy whom I hope gets a better ending than Gavroche of the original story.
Will I read the second book? Yeah, probably. If you had asked me that during the 75% I would have told you I wasn’t even going to finish the book. But the book ended on a much better note than it started with, so I’m hoping book two will keep that strength.