There will be slight spoilers for Earth & Sky, the first novel in this trilogy. That review can be found here.
At the conclusion of Earth & Sky, Skylar had been given the opportunity to continue on her journey with Win and his fellow Kemyates on their mission to stop the manipulation of Earth. The Clouded Sky starts immediately after the first, leaving no gaps between the two books. Now on the Kemyate space station just outside of the orbit of the ruined Kemya, Skylar has to cope with being confined to a smaller area than she is used to. She went from being an active player in stopping the time manipulation on Earth to posing as a “pet,” essentially an Earthling slave. Although treated well, knowing that there are Earthlings on the station through no choice of their own leaves Skylar with a bad taste in her mouth. She tells herself it is just one of the many things that will change if they manage to stop the manipulation of Earth, so she does what she can while pretending to be unaware of what is happening around her. As the rebels slowly come to trust her more, they start realizing that there may be a traitor in their midst. There are too many close calls for comfort, and Skylar is given the unique job of trying to find to find out who it is and if they can stop them before the traitor destroys everything they’ve been working for.
In The Clouded Sky, Skylar’s position on the station is perilous. At all times she must pretend to be drugged, standard protocol for Earthling pets in order to keep them calm. This time, instead of the rebels being the ones who have to operate secretly, the roles are switched. As the only Earthling on the station who is aware of what is going on, she is in a position to change things–if it wouldn’t make her stand out. After a time she gets tired of doing nothing, so she begins to help with the rebels plans and takes greater risks as they start running out of time.
I was impressed at Megan Crewe’s handling of the story as well as showing the stress of suddenly living in a different place. I was able to connect with Skylar on a deeper level this time around. I’m really familiar with the things she had to go through (minus the fact that they happened on a station in space) because I live in a foreign country myself. She doesn’t understand the language and slowly has to learn it. Along with not understanding the language, she has to learn the much more difficult thing of how their culture works. Even when you understand the language, there are things you may not understand culturally because they are so extremely foreign. Showing the moments when Skylar struggles with this really stuck with me.
Being in another world made her yearn for a connection, so romance became a large part of this book. It clouded her judgement a bit in the way that instead of spending one hundred percent of her time focusing on her goals, she spent a lot of time considering how her actions were viewed by her romantic interests. I wanted to know more about other characters, but the romance made her withdraw into herself a bit too much.
I was very interested in the time traveling in the first novel and the lack of it was felt in this novel. This was a different sort of novel, more investigative and spy-like rather than a journey. Out of the two novels, I enjoyed the first better, but I think that’s only because The Clouded Sky serves as a bridge between the first novel and the third novel. This one had a slow buildup to the conclusion and climax and does a really good job of fully introducing us to the Kemyate culture.
Initially I believed that Earth & Sky should have been one novel. It was just one of those slow burn novels, because I couldn’t get enough of the second. I’m very excited to see the conclusion of this series.
I received a read-to-review copy of The Clouded Sky from Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. It was published on May 5th, 2015.