Rating: Four out of Five Stars
I received a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review as part of a YA Bound Book Tour.
Wren is young woman living on a Martian colony, a place whose sandstorms, ultra-smart land sharks and lack of oxygen make it just about as rude and oppressive as the tyrant leaders that run it. This post-Earth society is divided into two major cliques: grounders (who are like jocks except instead of playing sports they get off on the fact that they manage every aspect of the glass domes that sustain life) and the runners (who are whatever the opposite of jocks are in your school).
The role of the runners is to fly messages between domes via the use of rudimentary yet advanced form of unmotorized wings (think hang gliders with more bling). Though the job is super risky and requires that they live outside the comforts of the dome, the runners take pride in the fact that they alone possess a unique skill that the grounders depend on–and sometimes flaunt it. Recipe for disaster much?
Born into a family of these high-elevation Fed-exers, Wren is not only shunned by her bubble neighbours but alienated from her family due to strict rules about what she can and cannot as a girl. Not surprisingly, the one awesome part of living on Mars–flying without a boarding pass–is one of them.
The situation comes to a head when Wren’s mother falls ill. With her brothers and father unreachable and the dome people refusing to help, she is forced to embark on an adventure alongside a particularly distasteful (and mostly jerk-faced) dome jock named Raw.
Journeying deep into Mars’ hostile desert, the two characters take readers into a world that blends the elements of a zombie apocalypse and Never Never land to create a truly engrossing ride with just the right amount of romantic tension to keep my emotions tingling.
Maybe it’s because of all those flying dreams I’ve been having lately (god its disappointing to wake up sometimes), but what I loved most about the book was Pearce’s descriptions of the runner-in-flight experience. Despite the fact that I read most of this book lying in bed between vomit attacks (TMI?), I could almost feel the Martian jet streams caressing my cheeks as I flew through the chapters of this book. And while the land sharks (giant underground warms with multiple sets of teeth) aren’t a new concept, their presence in the book offered just the perfect bit of danger to keep things moving. All I can say is: well played Pearce, well played.
In terms of the the let’s-be-more-than-friends relationship that developed between our lovable little bird and the guy in closest proximity to her, I was also impressed. Pearce manages to turn a guy who initially seems like a total bully into a big teddy bear in a way that is totally believable.
My only issue with this novel was that it didn’t really take off for (pun intended) until Wren takes her first flight–which wasn’t until a few chapters in. That said, those pages were important in setting the stage of this unusual world. In fact, after completing the book I re-read them again and could then better appreciate some of the plot turns.
All in all, I think the fact that I consumed this book in under three days says it all.
by Bryony Pearce
Genre: YA Sci-fi
Release Date: February 4th 2016
About the Author:
Bryony Pearce is the author of YA thrillers and science fiction: Angel’s Fury (winner of the Leeds Book Award and the Cheshire Schools Book Award), The Weight of Souls, published in 2013, Phoenix Rising, published 2015 (shortlisted for Cheshire Schools Book Award and Wirral Paperback of the Year), Phoenix Burning, March 2016, Windrunner’s Daughter, February 2016 and Wavefunction, April 2016.