Publisher: Egmont USA
Released: April 28, 2015
Format: E-Book, 264 pages
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Action, adventure, and romance are heating up in this sequel to the futuristic science fiction thriller Burn Out. Perfect for fans of Across the Universe and The Memory of After.
Caelia is the new Earth. That's what the Consulate told everyone and, against all odds, Tora finally has made it there. She can't see the ocean from her cell in the Consulate's containment center, and she doesn't know what happened to the weapons her father died for and she's risked her life to save.
But as she plans her escape, she runs into the last person she ever expected to see-her dad. The Consulate has kept held him prisoner in a complicated plot designed to lure Tora out of hiding. Now Tora has a new purpose: break free, get the guns, and save her father.
But first she'll have to navigate a strange new planet, track down James (whose loyalties still remain questionable), and find Kale…before he finds her first.
Strange Skies is the sequel to Burn Out. The story takes place 3 months after the cliffhanger ending to Burn Out. Tora Reynolds isn't in Kansas anymore. In fact, she's no longer on Planet Earth where the sun is so hot, that it quickly kills anyone not wearing a spacesuit. Tora who dreamed about living on a planet with oceans, plants, and animals, has found herself on New Earth aka Caelia. Brought to Caelia under guard by the nefarious Consulate who wants her fathers bio energetic weapons, Tora finds herself in a precarious position.
The Consulate wants Tora to do whatever they tell her to and goes as far as trying to brain wash her. The shock really hits Tora when she learns that her father is alive, but locked up in order to lure Tora into their clutches. After escaping, with a little help from Alec, Tora makes her way to the rebel encampment where the rest of Kale's crew, including James, now reside. Tora finds herself with a whole lot of planning to do, but not before she gets some answers from James who betrayed her in Burn Out.
She's the only one besides James that can actually use her fathers weapons. She doesn't know where her real loyalties lie since Kale left her to die, and the Consulate wants her to be submissive to them. Tora will have to make a life or death decision on who she wants to trust, and who she wants to gain revenge on, while also destroying her fathers weapons and keeping them out of everyone's hands. She will have to rely on new allies like Reed and Max, while trying to forgive Markus, and James who both knew Tora's father.
One of the best things about Strange Skies is the world building around Caelia itself. Tora experiences so many new things after spending her entire life on a desolate planet where nothing but bad things happened to her family. She sees actual forests, animals, flowers, pink sand, rain, and a fresh water ocean where she swims for the first time. She tries real food (fruit & meat) for the first time in her life after eating protein gel for so long. She can't imagine ever going back to eating gel again.
She has to get used to the fact that the planet has 2 moons, and they don't revolve around the planet like our moon does. The days are separated into day (4 hours) and night (4 hours) segments that are totally different from Earths. I have to say, that I was feeling what Tora was feeling. I wanted to reach out and touch the flowers, go swimming in the ocean, and eat fresh fruit and monster meat which I know sounds gross! I wanted to be able to look up in the sky and see stars as far as the eyes can see. This, my friends, is what makes Helvig's world building so amazing.
While the beginning had me gritting my teeth over the presumed love triangle that really wasn't, and Tora's angry spells over being betrayed by James, Tora still is a character I could follow like the Black Widow. She's already shown that she is more than capable of taking care of herself. She once again stands out in the rebellions struggle against the Consulate and in fact, leads the charge when they attack. Hopefully, this will continue into the next installment.
According to my research, there will be a third installment in this series. Helvig states that book # 3 will hopefully release sometime next year. That's a good thing because the way Strange Skies ends, it leaves readers with a whole lot of wondering what will happen next. Will Tora, James, Alec, and her rebel friends win against the Consulate? Will they find others willing to help them? Will they find a way to destroy the weapons, or will they become too much of a temptation? Finally, why is James able to use her fathers weapons?
**I received this book for free from (EgmontUSA) via (NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**