The Pearl Wars
by Nick James
Published: September 2011 from Flux
Rating: 5 ♥ / 5 ♥ – I loved it!
A devastated Earth’s last hope is found in Pearls: small, mysterious orbs that fall from space and are capable of supplying enough energy to power entire cities. Battling to control the Pearls are the Skyship dwellers — political dissidents who live in massive ships in the Earth’s stratosphere — and the corrupt Surface government.
Jesse Fisher, a Skyship slacker, and Cassius Stevenson, a young Surface operative, cross paths when they both venture into forbidden territory in pursuit of Pearls. Their chance encounter triggers an unexpected reaction, endowing each boy with remarkable — and dangerous — abilities that their respective governments would stop at nothing to possess.
Enemies thrust together with a common goal, Jesse and Cassius make their way to the ruins of Seattle to uncover the truth about their new powers, the past they didn’t know they shared, and a shocking secret about the Pearls.
The Pearl Wars absolutely intrigued me. I’ve always been a sci-fi fan, and this book just solidified my love for the genre. Jesse and Cassius are two teens living in post-war America. Cassius lives on the surface, in a Chosen city working for Madame – a head honcho in the new Unified government – to try and obtain Pearls, an energy source that falls from space. Jesse lives above ground in a Skyship, working – like Cassius – to obtain Pearls for the ships floating high above the largely unstable surface of the planet. A chance encounter unlocks something deep within each boy, and sets them on a path that is intricately linked with the Pearls.
I like nothing more than realistic characters that I can connect with. And The Pearl Wars delivers some realistic characters! Sometimes I just wanted to take Cassius by the shoulders and shake some sense into him. Cassius is singular in is devotion to Madame. You can tell that he’s a smart kid with a lot of potential and ability for caring, but he’s been brought up by Madame and has a little bit of brainwashing he needs to work through. Jesse is a strong characters, even if he’s a bit clumsy in the beginning. He does a bit of growing up throughout the book and really comes into his own. Jesse also has a love interest in mysterious Avery, a girl who can keep secrets with the best of them.
The Pearl Wars is a sprawling sci-fi adventure that looks at not just the implications of a post-war world and what can befall humanity, but the possibility of life on other planets than our own, and what happens when the two worlds collide in a spectacular fashion. Nick James explores what might happen to our planet and society after a war of global proportions. Governments have collapsed and re-formed, and society is in a mess. The population is divided into three. Those who live in the Chosen cities, those in the Skyships and the Fringers – mostly people who can’t afford to live inside a protected city or up in the sky. It’s across this future world that Cassius and Jesse race to discover the truth about who they are, and the Pearls that are so essential to survival. There are fights, chases, some out-of-this-world powers and even a bit of romance. This one is definitely a must read!