Both reviews were also posted at Novels, News and Notes From Your Northwest Neighbors.
The Pearl Wars (Skyship Academy #1) by Nick James
Paperback, 386 pages
Published: Sept. 8th, 2011 by Flux
A devastated Earth's last hope is found in Pearls: small, mysterious orbs that fall from space and are capable of supplying enough energy to power entire cities. Battling to control the Pearls are the Skyship dwellers—political dissidents who live in massive ships in the Earth's stratosphere—and the corrupt Surface government.
Jesse Fisher, a Skyship slacker, and Cassius Stevenson, a young Surface operative, cross paths when they both venture into forbidden territory in pursuit of Pearls. Their chance encounter triggers an unexpected reaction, endowing each boy with remarkable—and dangerous—abilities that their respective governments would stop at nothing to possess.
Enemies thrust together with a common goal, Jesse and Cassius make their way to the ruins of Seattle to uncover the truth about their new powers, the past they didn't know they shared, and a shocking secret about the Pearls.
This book started out slow for me. There was just so much to soak up because it's such a crazy world. First of all this is a mix of sci-fi and post apocalyptic. It definitely has a pretty strong sci-fi feel though with the Skyship dwellers and crazy technology. But we still got surface time where we see what's happening on earth as well. It was a mix that worked well together but didn't feel like it truly came together until about halfway through.
I love getting a male POV and in this one we get two males narrating. Jesse is telling his alternate chapters in first person and so he felt like the true main character. The other chapters are Cassius narrating in third person. Cassius is kind of a bad guy, but the whole time you know there's more to it and you're just waiting for the twist to reveal everything. Especially the whole ability thing because really, we have no idea what the heck that's about! Jesse is an underdog sort of guy. One who is picked on and doesn't do so good in class. And Cassius is kind of a bully but we don't see him interact with people too much so perhaps that's not completely accurate. Either way, these aren't your usual kind of characters.
This book is very twisty! There are lots of different things going on that you just NEED to know the answers to, but the ending is absolutely fantastic! It will leave you speechless as things come together.
I honestly considered putting this book down in the first half. But right about halfway I was sucked in and before I knew I knew I was in love with the story unfolding. So it took me a bit, but it was so worth my time and I very much look forward to continuing the series.
Spoiler free review of Book Two (for one and two), but the description may have some spoilers, so you may want to skip that.
Crimson Rising (Skyship Academy #2) by Nick James
Paperback, 360 pages
Published Sept. 8th, 2012 by Flux
Our best-selling sci-fi series continues
Following their dramatic showdown in Seattle, Jesse Fisher and Cassius Stevenson find their world’s been turned inside out. The faculty at Skyship Academy is keeping Jesse a prisoner in his own home, fearful of his influence over Pearls. And Cassius, once a loyal Pearlhound for the Unified Party, has been pushed into hiding, fearful of his government's retaliation.
When Jesse smuggles a mysterious red Pearl onboard the Academy, he sets loose a destructive chain of events, which lead him to a reunion with Cassius and a confrontation with Theo -- a bloodthirsty Pearlhound with a dangerous secret.
But a larger threat looms in the stars. An enemy is gathering, with plans to exterminate the entire human race. And Jesse and Cassius might just be the lynch pins that trigger mankind's destruction.
It was probably two months since I read the first book but it was about right amount of time between the two because I still remembered everything but I wasn't burnt out on the world (which tends to happen to me). This one starts out about 4 months after the last one ended and we get a little caught up with what everyone has been up to before the story really goes crazy. I want to keep this spoiler free for the first book (the description is a bit spoilery though) so I'm going to be very vague.
I really enjoyed the characters. I won't say I loved them, but I did like them. And I think I may have liked Cassius more than Jesse this time around. Jesse seemed very angry and determined, I guess. He has a mission in mind and he's not all about sitting around doing nothing. Cassius hasn't had a chance to sit around as he's been on the run but as he goes through all this crap I really felt for him. He grew up in a situation that pretty much makes it so he doesn't know who or what to trust. He's pretty much on his own in figuring things out. I felt like Jesse was more the impulsive one and Cassius was a bit more cautious. Both of them were very brave and did what they needed to do though.
What really shines in this series is the world. The world building is incredible! The post apocolyptic sci fi stuff was brilliantly done. I was able to picture and imagine everything so well, it was almost like a movie in my head.
These are definitely great 'boy' books and I'm looking forward to getting my nephews to read them as I think they will love them! And they are also clean, I totally won't hesitate to give them to my 12 year old nephew.