Author: Nick James
Reading Level: Young Adult
ARC, 380 pages
Date Published: September 8, 2011
Description (Taken 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.
Nick James has created this vast world that is still our Earth, but so different. The three different factions – Skyship, the Unified Party, and the Fringers – have these politics that govern them and it’s complicated, but James explains it in ways that make it interesting and easy to get. His descriptions of air ships, the broiling Surface, and the Chosen Cities are vivid. The reader will be right there, alongside Jesse or Cassius.
That brings me to the main character: Jesse Fisher. How can the reader not love Jesse? He’s this uncoordinated, scrawny kid with a lot to live up to. Without any family, he always feels alone. He knows he’s not going to be the best Pearl agent – or even a decent one at that – but he strives to do well, despite it all.
Cassius, like Jesse, is alone; but unlike Jesse, Cassius succeeds in everything he does. The two boys are on opposite sides of an imposing war, fighting to find the Pearls that power most of their planet. Their struggle to discover who they are, in the wake of bristling new powers, drives the story. Secondary characters like Avery, Alkine, Madame, and Jesse’s teammates Eva and Skandar all add some extra depth to the story.
The Pearl Wars is a rare gem of a book that will keep readers on the edge of their seat and blow their minds with the startling conclusion. There was very little that I saw coming in this book and the one thing I did see coming, was miniscule in comparison to the bigger picture. I’m insisting that you read this one yourself. The world-building is astonishingly well-thought out, the characters are fully developed, and everything about the Pearls left me in shock. Nick James is an author to watch and now that I’ve started this series, I know I’ll be unable to ever put it down. I need the next one now!
Opening line: My fingers grip the ledge, searching for cracks. ~ pg. 1
Favorite lines/passages: “War,” she said. “It’s a trickle, at first. Small, seemingly unconnected moments. You hardly even notice them. Then there’s a warning sign, like the terrorist attacks on New York City at the turn of the century. Ignore that and . . . well, look where we are now.” ~ pg. 30
*This is the ARC version and lines, pages, cover art may differ from final copy
*This review is my honest opinion and I received no monetary compensation from it.
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