Eclipse the Skies Review: Sequel that left me wanting more

October 15, 2019 by Aila J. | 4 stars, ARC Reviews, Books, Reviews

Eclipse the Skies Review: Sequel that left me wanting moreEclipse the Skies by Maura Milan
Series: Ignite the Stars #2
Published by Albert Whitman & Company on September 3, 2019
Source: Publisher, Netgalley
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Action & Adventure, Diversity
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Ia Cōcha never thought she’d be working for the Olympus Commonwealth. But that was before she found out her trusted brother Einn was trying to tear apart the universe. Now, Ia, the Blood Wolf of the Skies, has agreed to help the Royal Star Force on one condition: when she finds him, she gets to kill Einn herself.

Brinn Tarver has just come to terms with her Tawny identity when the public lashes out against her people, crushing her family. At her breaking point, she starts to question everything she believes in—including Ia.

After the death of his mentor, Knives Adams is doing his best to live up to a role he didn’t ask for as Aphelion’s new headmaster. Still, with each new step deeper into war, he feels torn between his duties and the pull of Ia’s radical—sometimes criminal—ideas.

As they fight to keep darkness from eclipsing the skies, their unpredictable choices launch this breathtaking sequel to explosive new heights.

Note: This is the sequel and conclusion to Ignite the Stars, which you can find my glowing review over here. This review will have slight spoilers!

I utterly adored Ignite the Stars, and so I had high, highhhh expectations for this sequel. And while I enjoyed it wholeheartedly, I can’t help but also feel a bit… underwhelmed. The official rating I’m giving this is 3.5 stars because my appreciation level for it is 4+ stars, but the execution and my own heavy bias towards where the plot went leans towards a 3 stars. Of course, rounded to a 4 because of the dynamic writing, characters, and setting. But let’s take a closer look at what happened to make this conclusion, while action-packed and full of fun, bittersweet and underwhelming as well.

‘There is goodness in this universe. There will always be light. We cannot let it die.’

Eclipse the Skies starts almost immediately after book 1 left off. I confess, there were a lot of holes in my memories about Ignite the Stars and being thrust into the story with no recap left me a bit confused at first. But it didn’t take me long to get back in the game, where the constantly-turning plot keeps the readers on their toes. I enjoyed that aspect of Ignite the Stars, and Eclipse the Skies continued on it well. While the pacing was honestly a bit odd (several week jumps occurred throughout the story, making time go faster than it felt), the characters still went through a lot of emotional turmoil. Ignite the Stars was a book marked by chaos and violence, aggression and revolution. But Eclipse the Skies focuses on the aftermath of such themes: healing and growth, peace and compassion. And this focus extends towards the characters as well. Ia, one of my favorite heroines of all time, has to learn to look beyond her anger and at a greater purpose. Knives gets a reality check after realizing that he himself can take control of his life, rather than living under the shadow of his father and sister. And Brinn truly grows to understand the meaning of freedom in the face of the realization that she’s not alone. These three intersecting POV’s switched constantly, but due to the never-ending action, there was never a dull moment with either of them. They all go through tremendous character growth in general and I like them all for different reasons.

I can’t say much plot-wise without spoiling it for readers but let me just say, things go into realms that The Mind of Aila didn’t approve of. I appreciated what the author was trying to convey, and the beauty of certain decisions. But y’all… I was just unimpressed. So while there were key points of the plot that were important and necessary, I think the characters could have taken a different choice (COUGH Ia COUGH) that would have led to a more triumphant-feeling ending. But that’s all I’ll say about it.

Nothing is developed romance-wise, and it seems like Ia and Knives barely know of the other’s existence half the book. While each character went through a journey of PERSONAL re-discovery, I needed more interactions between them as a whole. Actually, Brinn talked to Knives for around 4 pages for the entire story. Ia and Brinn, whose friendship I was REALLY looking forward to since the previous book, didn’t progress much at all when they were together. The way their interactions felt throughout their own self-growth was clunky and not enough to justify their thoughts at the end. And while Ia and Knives had a developing relationship from book 1, I would say the same in regards to their lack of interactions. Which is fine, but Brinn deserved better. She really did. I guess constant action just didn’t make enough room for the dialogue to actually get somewhere, and most of the growth/decisions made were through the characters’ own introspection and advice from other characters. It never felt like they were a TEAM, ya know?

First impressions were powerful, like threads whipping at the seeds of your memory, but she realized now that real friendships were made of a stronger type of cord.

Eclipse the Skies has put me in a weird spot, where I REALLY want to like the book because the first book was so explosive, but I just remain disappointed with certain actions that led up to the ending. And while I sit on the ending and think on it more, I’m beginning to feel more satisfied, it still left me discontent after initially finishing the pages (plus, ALL THOSE LOOSE ENDS. But alas.). Fans of Ignite the Stars definitely need to pick this one up, if anything, to finish Ia’s story. But I would also recommend this duology to readers who place action at the forefront of stories, because it really is a wild ride from start to finish.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Trigger/Content Warnings: mild violence, alcohol usage (at least, there’s a substitution in the world), vaping, loss of loved ones, physical assault, mention of concentration camps, death, stoning

Thank you Abrams and Netgalley for the review copy!

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Aila is a young adult reader who loves to transport herself to new dimensions through reading. She's currently an undergraduate student at university in the US. Let's talk about our obsessions on Twitter @aila_1woaa!

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