Author: Amy Kathleen Ryan
Series: 1st in Sky Chasers
Published: September 27, 2011 by St. Martins
Source: Around The World Tours
Description: What if you were bound for a new world, about to pledge your life to someone you'd been promised to since birth, and one unexpected violent attack made survival—not love—the issue? Out in the murky nebula lurks an unseen enemy: the New Horizon. On its way to populate a distant planet in the wake of Earth's collapse, the ship's crew has been unable to conceive a generation to continue its mission. They need young girls desperately, or their zealous leader's efforts will fail. Onboard their sister ship, the Empyrean, the unsuspecting families don't know an attack is being mounted that could claim the most important among them... Fifteen-year-old Waverly is part of the first generation to be successfully conceived in deep space; she was born on the Empyrean, and the large farming vessel is all she knows. Her concerns are those of any teenager—until Kieran Alden proposes to her. The handsome captain-to-be has everything Waverly could ever want in a husband, and with the pressure to start having children, everyone is sure he's the best choice. Except for Waverly, who wants more from life than marriage—and is secretly intrigued by the shy, darkly brilliant Seth. But when the Empyrean faces sudden attack by their assumed allies, they quickly find out that the enemies aren't all from the outside.
I Give This...
This must be the new thing, dystopian fiction set in space. I've enjoyed what I read with this set-up and I was hoping this one would just add to that pile. There were things I liked about this book, and things that I think weren't explained very well.
I really liked the our main characters at first. Kieran seems like the golden boy. He's the oldest of the first generation of boys born on the Empyrean, and set to become the next captain. He seems genuinely in love (or close to it) with Waverly. Although, I think his emotions sometimes get mixed up with duty and what others think he is suppose to do. He tries to take charge when the need arises, but since he's young and inexperienced you can't really fault him for his mistakes.
Waverly seems like the "it" girl on board the ship. You know the one who has everything. Her life seems set for her and she doesn't really mind because she also has goals that she knows she can accomplish. She's the one all the girls turn to when the New Horizon overtakes their ship and basically kidnaps all the girls. From there, her character takes a turn, and I'm not sure if it was for the better. She seems to sit and contemplate their situation a lot and when she does take action, it very spur of the moment. Which often lives her injured and unable to do anything.
This book really has a dark and sinister undertone. After the New Horizon leaves the Empyrean on the verge of blowing up, the adults sacrifice themselves to repair the ship. From that point on, the few adult left are sick with extreme radiation and the ship is run by boys 17 and under. It had a real Lord of the Flies fell to it. Seth basically turns all the boys against Will for his own personal gain. Will manages to convince a few to lead a revolt in his name and gains his place back. I thought he was doing a good job. That is until the girls aboard the New Horizon lead a revolt of their own. The leader of that ship is harvesting their eggs against their will and impregnating the women aboard. They manage to escape, although not without casualties, and make their way back to the Empyrean. Waverly doesn't like what Will has become and goes down to the brig to chat with Seth. Turns out Seth has some interesting viewpoints on what Will has been doing. Which left me questions who Will really was.
So, really this book had me all over the board. I didn't enjoy the religious undertones, especially when the girls were aboard New Horizon. I disliked the push for the girls to perform their "duty" to help keep the human race survive in space. But, it was really a key plot point. I did like the struggle the boys go through aboard the Empyrean. I think it really showed how people can function in a do or die scenario. I was intrigued with the casual mention of what the crews went through during their training before boarding the ships. I would especially like to learn the truth. I have a feeling it might play an important part in what happens. I want to know why these two ships were sent out to habit a new planet. It's not really explained. I think I'm most intrigued in what Will has possibly become with his new found power as captain of the ship.