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Breaking Sky Paperback – February 7, 2016

4.6 out of 5 stars 71 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up—The year is 2048. Teenager Chase, better known by her call sign, Nyx, is a pilot in training for the American military's topmost secret project. Back in 2020, American pilots were massacred in an airfight by drones—dictator Ri Xiong Di's most effective weapon. The entire world has endured a second Cold War ever since. No other countries are allowed to aid the U.S. at all, and the people are suffering. The military is secretly testing two new plane prototypes that might outrun the drones. However, their pilots must be young and strong enough to withstand the tremendous force on the human body that occurs when traveling at high speeds. In order to get funding for more prototypes, Nyx and her comrades must prove the worth of the project. On a training mission, Nyx spots a third prototype that she didn't know existed. In her haste to discover the identity of its pilot and country, Nyx endangers the entire project and many lives as well. But, if she can start dismantling the wall she's built around herself since her difficult childhood, she might be able to trust someone, fall in love, and save the day. Similar to the S.J. Kincaid's "Insignia" series (HarperCollins), this novel distinguishes itself. The dialogue is authentic, and the characters are nuanced. Chase has determination and resolve, even in the face of her fears. The description of her flights is breathtakingly realistic. VERDICT Strong characterizations, action, adventure, and emotion combine to produce a sci-fi novel that is more than just the sum of its parts.—Kelly Jo Lasher, Middle Township High School, Cape May Court House, NJ --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

"Strong characterizations, action, adventure, and emotion combine to produce a sci-fi novel that is more than just the sum of its parts." - School Library Journal

""This riveting near-future science fiction military adventure reads like a cross between Top Gun and Ender's Game, blended with just the right amount of adolescent angst. [...] With her faux-hawk and her self-protective sass, Chase emerges as a fascinating heroine, equal parts warrior and troubled teenager, whose entire life is a battlefield. [...] Replete with fighter pilot jargon, plausible science fiction elements, and nerd-friendly literary allusions, this taut, well-crafted novel should have broad appeal, for fans of everything from Roth's Divergent to Wein's Code Name Verity."" - The Bulletin for the Center of Children's Books

"McCarthy (The Color of Rain) deploys breath-stopping depictions of high-stakes piloting with enviable ease, and the in-your-face personal confrontations are nearly as taut. Both will keep readers glued to the page. " - Publishers Weekly

"Chase is the kind of reckless, badass girl I would have wished I could be more like when I was her age. She's willing to take risks, extremely skilled, and looked upon by the other cadets at the junior Air Force Academy as a rockstar because of her job as one of two Streaker pilots. " - Forever Young Adult

"BREAKING SKY by Cori McCarthy is an exhilarating novel with a realistic main character and intense action scenes. " - Teen Reads
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire (February 7, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1492621129
  • ISBN-13: 978-1492621126
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 1.2 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,325,982 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Chase (Nyx) Harcourt is an emotionally conflicted (and realistically human) fighter pilot in the futuristic world of Breaking Sky where the only people who can handle the physical strain of flying the experimental Streaker Jets are teens. Nyx is hot headed and impulsive, but she is a hell of a pilot, and it's a heart pounding adventure to fly along with her since she is both fearless and unpredictable.

Cori McCarthy really hit it out of the park on this one. Between the tension of the covert red drones and the streaker pilots, and beautifully written flight sequences, and the fully fledged and deeply emotional heroine, AND some of my favorite secondary characters ever (especially the genius, Pippin), I had a hard time putting the book down.

If you want high stakes, hot tempers, heart pounding chase scenes...and a little bit of heartbreak, Breaking Sky is your next read! Come and get it!
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Format: Hardcover
Breaking Sky grabs you from the very first few lines - and doesn't let go. Chase, call sign Nyx, is a cadet at the United Star Academy, an airforce base for teens as they prepare to join the US military in the Second Cold War. Chase is part of one of two teams who fly the Streakers, jets so powerful only young and strong teen pilots can fly them.

I didn't like Chase at first. She was bold, cocky, arrogant and reckless, but then you'd get these little glimpse of more hiding beneath the surface and of a backstory that explained the attitude. And as the story developed I began to love her courage, her fear and her determination. The Star is a military base and junior training academy, which results in the best mix of teen drama and military action. Chase and her RIO (and best friend) Pippin, and the other Streaker team are preparing for the trials that will showcase the Streaker jets' abilities and, if the trials succeed, will see the beginning of the Streakers' dominance in the fight between the once powerful US and the now-dominant New Eastern Bloc. It is up to Chase and her fellow cadets to prove both their own worth and that of the experimental jets - so it's really important not to mess up (or die). It's just unfortunate that Chase is so very good at pushing the boundaries and generally creating chaos!

There are tense moments and high-risk flying manoeuvres, romance, friendship and humour, and then, WHAM! Out of nowhere - I did not see that coming. It made it all real and so very powerful. Cori McCarthy expertly combines flying lingo and details, base politics and teen interactions, and creates a suspenseful and dramatic read. Highly enjoyed.

The publishers provided a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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Format: Hardcover
Breaking Sky opens with Chase Harcourt, call sign Nyx. Chase is an excellent pilot, but a careless person. Her love for speed pushes her to take risks, and she's constantly turning her back on an unpleasant childhood, the uncomfortable reality of her parentage. On a routine flight, Chase sees something that shouldn't be possible, and in her relentless investigation, she blows open a huge military secret that has the potential to push America from a Cold War with Asia to World War III.

This novel has so much energy--and not just in the flight scenes, which are written so well. Chase is a character who does things, who goes after what she wants, and can't sit still. I admire her for that, even though she's not exactly a nice person. Chase is actually not nice most of the time, but she's achingly real. McCarthy slowly peels back her many layers to reveal what makes Chase tick, and what drives her to search for speed. Once you see who Chase really is, you can't help but feel for her, and feel deeply.

The supporting characters are also excellent; Chase's tortured RIO Pippin, headstrong and domineering (in a lovable way) Sylph, and steady Tristan, who might just be the only pilot as talented as Chase. The tensions between them all pull you in, and McCarthy balances their interpersonal drama with the high stakes international politics and war games brilliantly.

And stakes--they are high! McCarthy's plotting is tight, the consequences are massive (and devastating). This is a book that will get your adrenaline pumping; the action is eerily realistic, and the emotions are true. This book is funny, sexy, heartbreaking, and ultimately hopeful. You should get a copy ASAP.

Also, that cover? Iconic.
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Format: Audible Audio Edition
It is the near future, and the United States has been isolated by a technologically superior Asia. Their superior killer drones have forced the US to leave the rest of the world alone, no alliances, no trade, no communication. Breaking this rule will result in devastating attacks and punishment. Consequently, the US has lost all of its world influence and has slipped into a long and slow economic decline.

Chase Harcourt is one of two pilots in a small and elite secret project to develop a jet capable of outmaneuvering the drones. One of its limitations is that only the most physically fit youths can operate it. The g-forces would injure or kill an adult. If the project is successful, the US hopes to build enough of these jets and train enough young pilots to operate them. The problem is, how do they test them against a drone without revealing their secret and getting attacked in the process.

Breaking Sky is a teen romance novel wrapped in a pretty implausible plot. This should not be a deterrent for the right audience, however. The listener is inside Chase’s hormone addled brain for the whole ride and much of it is pretty entertaining. She loves flying and flirting. She also makes teenage mistakes, because she is a teenager being asked to take on adult risks and responsibilities.

The science and physics of the story shouldn’t be held against the story or the author. They are treated only as backdrop or furniture. If you go into the novel with this understanding, you will not be asking those pesky questions about science or why the US can’t simply make its own drones. But where’s the fun in that?

The story is read by Caitlin Davies, who does a good job, mostly staying out of the listener’s way.
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