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Strange Skies (Burn Out) Hardcover – April 28, 2015
The Amazon Book Review
Book recommendations, author interviews, editors' picks, and more. Read it now
About the Author
Kristi Helvig is a Ph.D. clinical psychologist turned sci-fi/fantasy author. Her first novel, BURN OUT, which Kirkus Reviews
called "a scorching series opener not to be missed," follows 17-year-old Tora Reynolds, one of Earth's last survivors, when our sun burns out early. In the sequel, STRANGE SKIES, Tora makes it to a new planet only to discover a whole new host of problems―and the same people who still want her dead. Kristi muses about Star Trek, space monkeys, and other assorted topics on her blog at www.kristihelvig.com and Twitter (@KristiHelvig). You can also find her on Facebook. Kristi resides in sunny Colorado with her hubby, two kiddos, and behaviorally-challenged dogs.
- ASIN : 1606844814
- Publisher : Carolrhoda Lab ® (April 28, 2015)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 272 pages
- ISBN-10 : 9781606844816
- ISBN-13 : 978-1606844816
- Reading age : 14 - 18 years
- Lexile measure : HL640L
- Grade level : 9 - 12
- Item Weight : 13.6 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.75 x 0.97 x 8.5 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #3,336,609 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
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Kept me turning through the pages to see what happened next. One of my all time favorites.
A thrilling second installment, STRANGE SKIES was more then I anticipated, and left me yearning for more! After reading book one, and not really liking it as much as I hope too, but still liking it enough to have me wanting to read the sequel, I was a little reluctant to read STRANGE SKIES. But no worries, because STRANGE SKIES has proved to be more thrilling then I ever hoped, and surpassed it's predecessor in more ways then one.
Kristi Helvig steps up the plot in this action-packed sequel that kept me on my toes and flipping the pages faster then I could read them. I was quickly sucked back into this world and after that heart-pounding cliffhanger, I was eager to see where it all goes from there.
We got a ton load of more action in this sequel, and that's one thing that I thought book one lacked. Don't get me wrong, it did have it's fair share, but not as much as STRANGE SKIES, and not enough to appease my craving. But STRANGE SKIES turned out to be everything I hoped it be and more.
But I loved being back with these characters and reliving their obstacles and struggles on this new planet Caelia, that has now become their new Earth. It was great to see them all finally get off of that sun scorched planet, and out into the cool sunny planet of Caelia. And now able to deal with their other issues that's been weighing them down, like The Consulate, and the back stabbing Kale that planed her assassination, and the treacherous boy she thought she loved.
Tora has finally made it off of Earth and to the livable planet of Caelia, but not the way she wanted. After being back-stabbed by someone she thought cared about her, she finds herself in the worst place she could possibly imagine, in the hands of The Consulate...
Now kidnapped against her will, drugged and brainwashed to think The Consulate is on her side, Tora is unsure what to think anymore. Until the drugs wear off, and it all starts rushing back... She was shot, taken hostage, and is now dosed with this good feeling drug around the clock to keep her compliant. But most horrifying of all, she's with The Consulate..
Tora has not fought her way though losing her complete family, a deserted planet, backstabbers around every corner, just to lay down and give it all up to The Consulate. But just when the odds seem to be stacked against her, Tora gets the break she's been waiting for. A past ally from the resistance comes to her aid and helps her break out of the hell The Consulate has been holding her at, and leads her strait into the hands of another enemy.
Tora will have to determine who is friend and who is foe, while discovering the key to ending it all is through the guns that were stolen from her. But with the help of unexpected allies, Tora may just have the backup she needs to stop Kale and taken down The Consulate once and for all...
Overall, STRANGE SKIES was a thrilling, heart-pounding sequel that you don't want to miss. Even though I did have some qualms about reading it due to my lack of feelings for book one. But nevertheless STRANGE SKIES proved me wrong and has me desperately craving book three and what's to come next in Tora's epic journey. If you like thrilling dystopians with action and adventure, and a fight for survival, with an awesome cast of characters, then STRANGE SKIES should definitely be your next read, as it does not disappoint!
NOTE: I received a physical ARC from Egmont USA for reviewing purposes! All opinions express are my own and are not influenced in any way!
Quick & Dirty: I enjoyed this second installment, though I was more disconnected from Tora in this novel.
Opening Sentence: The boy raced away from me, looking at something in the distance.
**Warning!** This review will contain lots and lots of spoilers from book one, so beware! In Burn Out, we met Tora, living alone on a ravaged Earth. The sun sent out a massive solar flare that toasted the planet, so she is living alone in a bunker, her only water from a machine that collects particles of it from the air. The richest of the planet booked it to a planet alike to Earth, and everyone else is long deceased. Her family is dead; her mother and sister, and her father, a brilliant scientist who engineered dangerous weapons for the government, then hid them so that it couldn’t use them for evil. Her lifestyle is simple enough, and she has a plan. She’ll either hitch a ride from Marcus, if he ever returns from the new planet to get her. Or she’ll kill herself rather than die slowly of thirst and starvation when her supplies run out. Obviously, the second option is preferable. Marcus returns, but with dark motives, and by the end of the book she has achieved her plan and gotten to Caelia . . .but the government has captured her, and James has betrayed her.
Things start out looking pretty bleak for Tora. She’s been captured and the Consulate might soon have their hands on the weapons Tora’s dad had wanted so badly to protect. The only way that she’s bought some time is that the Consulate need her to crack the code about why the weapons only work for her and James, a mystery that began in book one, as well as where the guns are. But — plot twist, Tora’s dad is alive, and other than slow and weak, he’s okay. Tora needs to escape and find the rebellion, and hide from Kale, who is hungry for her blood. She also needs the guns from him and to navigate the strange planet with so many mysteries she has yet to uncover.
In this book, we saw some development in Tora, which I appreciated. She’s still quite the firecracker, but she’s developed some caution because she has people she cares for now. Her father is back and she’s grown closer with James. I liked being able to go through the process of discovering Caelia, the new planet, with her. So much of life she’d never experienced on the ravaged earth, stuff we take for granted. At one point she tries real food for the first time. Until then, she’d eaten the tasteless protein gel, and her first real food was fruit. I loved seeing her reaction to the flavors. She also went swimming for the first time, and felt rain, and saw trees and plant-life. It was really fun. I felt like I was feeling the wonder, joy, and bewilderment at all the new things along with her!
The love triangle stopped at the end of the first book, and it soon became clear Tora’s choice again in the second, the same choice that she had by the end of the last book. At least she’s not indecisive like some characters. (I’m looking at you, America from The Selection!) I really felt for Marcus. He was so loyal and kind the whole novel, but it was James who got all the credit and the girl. James freaking betrayed her, and in my eyes, the apology doesn’t make that all okay. Gosh. At least, in the end, Marcus found a girl who could appreciate him and his character. And his compassion. On the horrible Earth he shared precious water with his dog. If that doesn’t scream “amazing guy” I don’t know what does!
Altogether I found Strange Skies to be well done, but for some reason, I wasn’t as captivated as it as I was by Burn Out. There was some disconnect between me and Tora that wasn’t present in book one, hence the three star rating. The book was packed with action, but I couldn’t appreciate it as much, and I didn’t get very excited when a huge battle went down. I felt like it was less funny than book one, which was a major reason I enjoyed Burn Out so much, and I couldn’t help making comparisons. I think that others will definitely enjoy it more, because it wasn’t like there was some horrible error keeping me from enjoying it. The book was good. I just couldn’t connect. If you enjoyed Burn Out, I think you should give Strange Skies a try, if only for the gorgeous cover to display!
I couldn’t comprehend what I was seeing. Maybe it was a hallucination from the drugs. Eyes widened in shock and confusion that must have mirrored my own.
“Tora, is that you?” his voice croaked.
I touched his face to make sure it was real.
“Yes, Dad. It’s me.”
FTC Advisory: HarperTeen provided me with a copy of Strange Skies. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.