At the end of The Clouded Sky the Earth has been destroyed. There’s nothing left except an empty, scorched planet, a near match to Kemya. The scant survivors–people who were literally in the right place at the right time when Kemyate time-travelers beamed down to grab the few they could–have to band together to overcome the worst odds yet. After the destruction of Earth, the Earthlings have been placed in a hastily prepared exhibit in a “zoo” where Kemyates can learn about different times and cultures of Earth. With the only Earthling who knows what’s going on drugged to keep her from instigating any problems, Skylar must somehow find a way to connect the Earthlings and the Kemyates before they decide they’re a liability. Meanwhile, in the bowels of the Kemyate station, Win is doing his best to pretend that he doesn’t care. After their plan succeeded and then was followed by a failure no one except the perpetrators saw coming, he must act as though he has put it behind him. Every day he goes to work. Every day he eats meekly with his family. Every day he must pretend that he doesn’t feel a stab of guilt when others confess they are troubled with the fate of the Earth and the remaining Earthlings. This is a situation that can’t last. A different sort of rebel faction rises. A Sky Unbroken is about two peoples realizing they’re not so different after all. Can they come together and overcome the odds they’re up against?
A Sky Unbroken is a story of atonement, acceptance, and overcoming the odds as they’re presented to the characters. The aftereffects of The Clouded Sky still resonate deeply within the characters in this final installment. I loved that much of the book was about coming to terms with the events that occurred in the second novel. Things are tense in the Kemyate station and I could feel that while reading. There’s always been pressure on Win and Skylar, but this time there’s more layers of it than ever. A Sky Unbroken is written in the perspectives of Sky and Win, the first novel in the Earth&Sky series to do so. Usually, something like this would bother me; instead, it allowed us to see how they coped with their grief and stress separately before coming together. The backdrop of atoning and accepting is a nice contrast to the excitement of what basically amounts to an espionage, breaking-and-entering thriller. A Sky Unbroken builds off of the momentum of the second novel and really doesn’t slow down. I had to remind myself that I needed to sleep for work or else I would have stayed up even later than I did. When I sleep with my Kindle right by my bed it means that I’m enjoying what the author is doing.
There is one character whose perspective I wish had been added to the novel. Jule is one of the characters that I found more fascinating than some of the others. It was really too bad that he spent a lot of time on the sidelines in this novel compared to the amount of time that had focused on him in the last one. The only time he was really in A Sky Unbroken was when other characters mentioned him or he briefly appeared for a conversation. I would have loved if we could have seen his perspective and how he was atoning for what he did. I found that he was one of the more interesting characters because everything he did had a reason and Megan Crewe was able to show me why that reason made so much sense. You couldn’t dislike him because he only wanted to protect his family’s name in honor of his grandfather, but ultimately his actions sullied it more than his father’s gambling did. After he realized the consequences of his actions he tried for an immediate fix. Unfortunately, betrayal is something that you can’t fix with a quick bandage. His character growth, although limited, was something that was really enjoyable.
Skylar and Win had character growth as well. Realizing that she can’t promise anything, their budding romance is not the focus of the novel. I’ve read plenty of dystopian (I feel like I can call it that now, because they’re basically stuck in space at the moment) novels where suddenly romance is the only focus of the novel. Yes, I know that love will likely still exist in a post-world setting, but come on: I think the destruction of the Earth is a bigger thing to worry about. I’m glad that the focus was not shifted. It stayed rooted in the initial problem that was presented in Earth&Sky: correcting mistakes that had been made (and were still being made) regarding the Earth and Kemya connection. They had to learn how to work with people that they weren’t familiar with because the problems they wanted to solve were bigger than they could solve on their own. That was difficult for Win and Skylar to deal with at first, but eventually they realized that they’d be able to get so much more done if they worked with others.
The romance in this series is really refreshing. I don’t mean Sky and Win or any other established relationships. Just romance in general. I really, really love the ideas that Kemyates have regarding attraction. They believe that regardless of gender, if there is someone you like, pursue them and see where it ends up. We find out that a lot of our characters have pursued same-sex relationships. Some of them were surprising. Whoever you like, it’s not a problem. It is just pure love / attraction for the person they are. It’s so simple and it’s accepted. There’s no negative connotations, other than the negatives you get when any relationship breaks apart. It was a nice way of showing how the Kemyates were advanced, yet they had other non-related issues that they were inefficient at.
Overall, this was a very satisfying conclusion to a compulsively read series. I wouldn’t mind reading some Jule novellas or short continuations of where the story was heading at the end of the novel.
My copy of A Sky Unbroken came from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. You’ll be able to get your hands on a copy on October 13th, 2015, only a few days away!