Chase (call sign Nyx) is being trained to fight a very specialized, very fast jet called a Streaker, along with Pippin, her navigator. She is one of two pilots being trained to fly this jet that is the United States' only hope of winning the war, when it comes, against the Ri Xiong Di and their red drones.
Unlike Ender's Game, these pilots are at the end of their training. There's very little about how they were chosen or their background. I liked that we are already in the thick of the danger when Breaking Sky starts.
Chase is a dare devil, and doesn't always follow the rules. She has trouble building relationships. She accidentally uncovers a military secret -- there's a third Streaker. But who is flying it?
There are details to the story that make the characters seem real. There's an urgency that is palpable, as these teens and their leaders are certain that war is inevitable. The United States is already suffering, and can't last much longer because it has been isolated from the rest of the world. A bit of a romance occurs, although it's very secondary to the story. There is a lot to keep you turning the pages.
I didn't like Chase. She's impulsive, arrogant, and makes stupid decisions. Sometimes readers say they can't connect to a character they don't like. Well, I definitely connected to Chase, in a negative way. Did that keep me from enjoying Breaking Sky? No way. Chase is a typical (unlikable) teen. Some of them just need to do some growing up and we adults may not like them. It's realistic. Chase does do some maturing at the end, but still -- she was totally annoying.
The pilots are all nervous about their upcoming trials because supposedly only two of them are going to be picked. This didn't make any sense and really this plot point could have been left out. The military needed every jet it could get -- and were conducting these trials to get funding for more. So, how did these teen's concerns make any sense?
The ending of Breaking Sky is dramatic and heart-wrenching. It is also satisfying. I'm not sure if there are more books planned for this world and these characters, but with the ending the author could go either way. I would be happy to read more, though!
Breaking Sky is a great book for boys or girls and I can't wait to give this to some of my students.
Published by Sourcebooks Fire, March 10, 2015
eARC obtained from NetGalley
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