Sunday, August 21, 2016

Review: "Breaking Sky" by Cori McCarthy

In this high-flying, adrenaline-fueled debut thriller, America's best hope is the elite teen fighter pilots of the United Star Academy Chase Harcourt, call sign "Nyx," is one of only two pilots chosen to fly the experimental "Streaker" jets at the junior Air Force Academy in the year 2048. She's tough and impulsive with lightning-fast reactions, but few know the pain and loneliness of her past or the dark secret about her father. All anyone cares about is that Chase aces the upcoming Streaker trials, proving the prototype jet can knock the enemy out of the sky. But as the world tilts toward war, Chase cracks open a military secret. There's a third Streaker jet, whose young hotshot pilot, Tristan, can match her on the ground and in the clouds. Chase doesn't play well with others, but to save her country she may just have to put her life in the hands of the competition.

My thanks to Sourcebooks Fire via Netgalley for the free review copy in exchange for my honest opinion.

To be honest, I was not expecting much from this book. The synopsis made me think that "Breaking Sky" might come off a bit silly, so in that regard, I admit I was pleasantly surprised. I still feel that no matter how hard or demanding the training might be, there's no way teenagers would make competent fighter pilots. I mean, adult fighter pilots must put in thousands of hours to get as good as they are, so even if we're talking about the most mature, genius teenagers in the country, they're still not going to have the experience behind them to fly and fight like an adult. But, if you can suspend your disbelief long enough to get past this issue, then you might really enjoy this book. 

I was also expecting "Breaking Sky" to be all "rah rah USA", which I'm quite pleased to say that it was not! As a Canadian reader, I was surprised and excited to see that Canada (and two Canadians!) played a fairly significant role in this story, but that's all I'm going to say on that for fear of giving too much away.

I think there are definitely areas that could use improvement. Most of the characters were developed quite well - I especially enjoyed Pippin and Sylph - but I felt I didn't get to know a whole lot about Tristan. I also wanted to know more about why Chase hated her father so much. We're given a bit of backstory, but I don't think it was fleshed out enough to really make me understand the depth of Chase's feelings. 

Overall, though, I enjoyed this book and the writer's style. If you're looking for a fast-paced, young adult read with a kick ass heroine in an alternate future, "Breaking Sky" could be exactly what you're looking for.

My rating:  

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