Author: Amy Kathleen Ryan
Series: Sky Chasers, #3
Published: January 16th 2014
Format: Paperback, 336 pgs
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: The Book Depository
Waverly and the other members of the Empyrean have been scattered, and their home ship destroyed. The mission to rescue their parents didn't go quite as planned, and now they're at an even greater disadvantage: trapped with their enemies on the New Horizon, trying to find a way to survive. Will Seth's health hold out long enough to help Waverly topple their enemy? And will Waverly find a way to unite her friends before the final battle? Nothing is certain and every second is a risk in this explosive finale.
I think this quote by Noam Chomsky, chosen by Amy Kathleen Ryan and included in Flame, sums up this trilogy rather well:
It is only in folk-tales, children’s stories, and the journals of intellectual opinion that power is used wisely and well to destroy evil. The real world teaches very different lessons, and it takes willful ignorance to fail to perceive them.Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. We’ve seen far too many examples in Amy Kathleen Ryan’s Sky Chasers trilogy. No one can be given huge amounts of power and responsibility and remain unchanged.
Flame picks up where Spark left off, with our three main characters separated and in deep trouble. All three of them are in a very bad place, depressed, powerless and weak. Make no mistake: Weaverly, Kieran and Seth are no heroes. All three of them have made some horrible choices in the past, either drunk with power, or desperate under the weight of responsibility… or both. But unlike other power players aboard the New Horizon, the three of them always did what they thought best for everyone at that particular moment..
Ryan’s characterization is, simply put, superb. She gave each character their due attention, even the peripheral ones, and built them to absolute (and absolutely flawed) perfection. The work she did on her three point-of-view characters, as well as her many villains, makes her stand out as an author of extreme talent and skill. Anne Mather, Captain of the New Horizon, is exactly what a villain should be, her shudder-inducing nature making her one of the most memorable characters in YA literature and beyond.
The Sky Chasers trilogy could just as easily be marketed as adult. Its protagonists may be young, but they are all mature well beyond their age, and the problems they deal with are extremely unsettling. At least the three of them are united against common enemies, which is a very nice change after all the damage they did to each other in previous books.
Like the two books before it, Flame is a very grim, claustrophobic read. It’s more than just limited space that makes it an almost suffocating experience; it’s also not being able to trust anyone and drowning in the feeling of hopelessness alongside the main characters. And yet Ryan succeeded in turning things around in an entirely believable manner and showing us that good things often come from entirely unexpected directions.
While this trilogy is not for the faint of heart, it’s thought-provoking and brilliant and I cannot recommend it enough.
A copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher for review purposes. No considerations, monetary or otherwise, have influenced the opinions expressed in this review.