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Skyship Academy: The Pearl Wars by Nick James

>>Sunday, September 4, 2011

Title: Skyship Academy: The Pearl Wars
Author: Nick James
Series: Skyship Academy #1
Format: ARC
Pages: 380
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopia, Science Fiction
Publication Date: September 8th, 2011
Publisher: Flux
Rating: A-

From Goodreads: 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.

Why did I read this book? After reading the premise of this book and finding out it would be available at BEA, I thought I must get myself a copy. I was hoping this to be a young adult dystopia that I could finally be excited about.

Source: Grabbed the ARC at BEA this year.

My Review
Recently I haven't had much luck with the popular young adult dystopias that have been released. It really started to get me down since I wanted to read a good YA dystopia. Then I read The Pearl Wars and that was it.

This debut novel from Nick James really has it all. There's wonderful worldbuilding. About one hundred years in the future, America is unrecognizable. The Surface was devastated by war and now run by a corrupt government while their opposition live in the sky onboard Skyships. Both depend on Pearls, glowing orbs that fall from space and can power a whole city. I mean, doesn't this just sound cool? Not only that, it all makes sense. We find out way more about this future world and where the Pearls come from, which I never saw coming. All the while I was reading this book I just felt like James had thought out and created such a fantastic world that really gave the other dystopias a run for their money.

Other aspects I enjoyed about The Pearl Wars were the main characters. Jesse, a boy attending the Skyship Academy, struggles with self-confidence and his feelings for a girl named Avery. I really liked Jesse even though I thought he was often hard on himself and felt he grew a lot from the beginning to the end of the book. Cassius, on the other hand, has no issue with confidence or self-doubt, but he has his own demons to face. Overall I felt these two were the most fleshed out out of all the characters. In the future books I'd like to see more on Eva, Jesse's kickass friend.

Also, I felt that since this story didn't have such a prominent romance (there's some, but it's not the focus) we really got to experience some great worldbuilding, action and adventure. Not that you can have that along with romance, but it was nice to see a young adult dystopia not entirely focused on a romance.

Rating: A-
Really, this is a great new dystopia along with some great science fiction elements. The ending left me wanting more: more about the characters, the world, and what will happen next. For anyone who's wanted a young adult dystopia with more meat on its bones, this is it. I loved it. I hope that a sequel will be coming out in the near future! 


  1. I am super excited about this book! I can't believe that it is coming out this week already! Its been on my highly anticipated list for a while now! I'm so glad you enjoyed it because that means I most likely will as well! :)

  2. I've been seeing this book pop up in various blogs and the cover is so enticing. I like steampunk and this looks to be in that vein. Looks like yet another book to add to my enormous TBR pile. But no reason to complain, I love having good books, or potentially good books, waiting for me to discover them.



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