Book Review: When Planets Fall (Stars Fall Circle Book 1) by Abby J. Reed

 
 
The planet of Scarlotti is divided by three groups, but tensions between them are high and a war is closer than ever. When Breaker gets captured by Herons and forced into fixing a starship, he agrees in order to keep his people safe and tries to keep his deal secret in order to avoid giving his chief a reason to incite war, but rescuing Malani wasn't part of his plan and her mysterious wings create complications Breaker isn't sure he can overcome with the Heron king's deadline looming.
 

 
Book Review: When Planets Fall (Stars Fall Circle Book 1) by Abby J. Reed | reading, books, book reviews, science fiction, dystopian, young adult, prosthetic/amputation, ptsd, panic attacks
Title: When Planets Fall
Author:
Book Number: Book 1 of TBA
Pages: 351
My Book Rating: 3.5 Stars
More Info: Goodreads, Amazon
 

Review:

*I received an ecopy of this book via YA Bound Book Tours. This has not influenced my review.*

One of the main reasons I was interested in this book was because it’s a sci-fi book with disability rep, and I’m happy to say I was not disappointed in that regard. Breaker had lost his entire leg when he was younger, and even though he had a really good prosthetic that had a knee joint and everything, it wasn’t so perfect that it was like a real leg. He still had struggles with it, like pain from the harness that kept it on, pain in his stub where the prosthetic rubbed, difficulty walking through mud, inability to walk on a downhill slope without help, a limp, having to clean and oil the prosthetic every time it got wet or dirty, etc. There was also other types of disability rep, like Luka’s migraines, Breaker’s panic attacks, and Malani’s PTSD, that weren’t featured as much but were still there. And then, at the end, when something else happened to one of the characters, the author could’ve so easily gone the magical assistance route but instead found a reason to explain why they couldn’t do that so that the new disability stayed realistic too.

Unfortunately I did have a few issues with the book though. Mostly smaller things, possibly not a concern to others, but irritating to me nonetheless. One of those things was the words used. Instead of year, month, week, day, hour, minute, and second, they had cycle, monsa, septdia, dia, hora, min, and sec. Since they were on a different planet, I could see having different words if they had different length “days” and “years,” but that didn’t seem to be the case. Characters seemed the same ages, there were still 60 mins in an hora, etc. Also, why were two of the words in Spanish? If they were just going to use Spanish, why not also use Spanish for all the words? Whatever, ok, I’m being nitpicky, I know, but then they were also replacing the word “day” with “dia” even in words where it didn’t make sense, like saying “maydia” instead of “mayday.” “Mayday” is a word all of it’s own that doesn’t have anything to do with the word “day.” What made even less sense was that *SPOILER* the humans who recorded the video logs on the starship used the word “dia” instead of “day” even though they were, presumably, from earth. But they never stated they were from earth, so I could be wrong about that. *END SPOILER* Curse words were also replaced by different words, which was fine, but then they were sometimes used in phrases that just didn’t make sense with the new words. I had an ARC though, so there’s always a chance some edits will be done in the final copy since these are just words, not plot points.

There was also a lot of knocking people out, a pet peeve of mine because it’s not easy to actually knock someone out, and no one seemed concerned about or affected by any ill effects.

Then there were the characters. Breaker was a good guy, but I didn’t feel much toward him for most of the book. But damn, what I will say about him is that he was freaking committed to his goal and his loved ones, and I ended up caring about him more as the story went on.

Malani, on the other hand, was a jerk. Breaker freed her (risking his own life and the lives of his entire compound to do so) and then saved her when she had a concussion and then offered to help her and even gave her his bed to sleep on and everything, but she just kept thinking nasty thoughts about what a jerk he was and didn’t want to help him unless there was something in it for her. Then she felt all betrayed by him, which was believable for character, but it was still frustrating because, once again, he only did that because he risked the safety of his entire compound to save her and then she didn’t want to help him willingly.

Luka was my favorite because he was the most interesting to me. He was a total sociopath, but still interesting. I would’ve liked more of his POV.

But, although I struggled to get invested in the beginning, I got more invested as the book went on and really liked how unpredictable and chaotic everything got near the end and how everything didn’t work out perfectly the way things often do in books. Plus, it ended with an unlikely allies situation, and I love that trope. And the ending makes me think the next book might be more my kinda thing.

So overall, even though I had a few word issues and didn’t like Malani, I think a lot of my issues were an “it’s not the book, it’s me” thing. This was a unique book with great disability rep, and I really liked how things got unpredictable and chaotic and intense near the end!

 
 
Book Blurb

Breaker’s home is cleaved by blood. The three tribes on the planet Scarlatti, whose only difference is their blood color, each want to exploit Breaker’s valley for themselves. The feudal tension has already claimed red-blood Breaker’s leg and his older brother. Now all this 18-year old wants is to maintain the tenuous peace in order to keep his little ‘stroid of a brother alive. Malani, a red-blood raised blue, is a kidnapped POW and only wants to return to her adoptive home with her dangerous blue secrets. Luka, a red-blood stewing for trouble, wants to right wrongs done to his family and bathe his home in justice.

All three intersect when Breaker discovers a wrecked starship and is given seven days by the green-bloods to fix and hand it over as a weapon. Breaker must decide if aiding his enemies is worth the home he knows and his family’s life. War is coming. And war respects no boundaries. And war leaves no survivors.

Basic Info

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More Info (Possible Spoilers)

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Warnings

Sex:
Violence:
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  1. Nannetter Demmler

    This sounds very interesting, even with the flaws. I will have to add it to my already long TBR. Thanks for the good and honest review. I think the time thing would bother me too, but I could learn to live with it if the rest of the book is good and I like the characters.

    1. Kristen Burns

      I definitely thought it was unique. The time thing wasn’t something I’d stop reading for or anything, more just an irritation, but enough of an irritation to mention lol. If this sounds like your kind of book, then you should give it a read!

  2. Lindsey @ Lindsey Reads

    I didn’t know about this one, but it does sound rather interesting, despite a few flaws. We definitely need more books with great disability rep. Have to add to my TBR :) Thanks for the review!

    1. Kristen Burns

      I thought the plot was unique, and if you’re always looking for a good dystopian, you might really like this one! I love unlikely alliances, so I probably won’t be able to resist the next book, haha. Thanks!

    1. Kristen Burns

      The terms are easy to remember once you actually get into the book (kind of like character names), it was more how they were used and whatnot that irked me. The story was interesting though! Thanks :-)

  3. Greg

    Interesting cover. You don’t see a lot of prosthetic rep in SF/ fantasy so that’s nice. My grandfather lost part of his leg years ago so I’ve always been kind of interested in how people deal with that. I think the “alien” terms for common things would irritate me too though. I mean one can often assume that other planets have different languages, so why highlight just some of the words? You know? That kinda bugs me to when it pops up.

    Glad it got better though and chaotic at the end is always good. :) Everything wrapped up neatly with a bow gets so old sometimes lol… nice that it was a little messy. Hope the next one is even better.

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    1. Kristen Burns

      Actually I’ve found that missing limbs/prosthetics seems to be the most common disability in sci-fi/fantasy (15 of the books in my masterlist have it). I think it’s one of the less limiting disabilities given the genre and maybe one that people find easier to understand since it’s visible. Though I would be interested to read an amputee character written by an amputee, just to see how accurate all these other portrayals are.

      Anyway, back on topic, this might be a little spoilerish, I can’t really remember lol, but they were actually human, not even aliens, so I assume they were speaking English but simply had different words for time. Which could make sense if the time ran differently, except it didn’t seem to. And I feel like even if time suddenly started running differently, we’d all still use the same words because they’re more of a concept anyway, you know? But I also get what you’re saying because that never makes sense either, to just have some words different when the readers already assume everything is a different language.

      I agree! I like when books and endings especially don’t get wrapped up perfectly and take me by surprise :-) Thanks!

        1. Kristen Burns

          I mean, it’s not my favorite cover. But since I’ve read the book and know what it’s about, I think it’s easier for me to see the wing and the red planet. I could see how it’d be hard to figure out what’s going on if you haven’t read the book.

  4. Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity

    Got to love some good disability rep in a book even if the book itself doesn’t work for you in some ways. I hate when I’m reading and realise the issues I have with a book are very much my own issues rather than a fault of the book and you find yourself blowing out of proportion these nitpicky things because they are things which bother you. It’s good to know about these nit picky issues you had but you’re right in that they probably wouldn’t bother me too much (since I don#t speak spanish I would have even noticed that issue) it does annoy me a little that the names for different things to do with time are changed if time on that planet isn’t different. But then it could be a quirk of the language of that area. It sounds like it was a cool read, though.

    Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity recently posted: My Thoughts // My Last Chance Books

    1. Kristen Burns

      Agreed! And yeah, it’s frustrating when you’re pretty sure it’s more your own tastes than the book. But once something nitpicky starts to bother me, it’s like I just can’t move past it lol. That’s why I felt like I had to explain in my review even though it’s not a reason for anyone to not read the book. It was a pretty unique book overall though!

  5. Evelina

    Sounds like good rep! My grandpa also didn’t have a leg. So I’m familiar with some of the things you mentioned.
    Big miss on the mayday part though! That made me laugh, cause mayday has nothing to do with day, just like you said. Comes from “m’aider”, as in “help [me]” in French. Biiiiig fail, huh :D

    1. Kristen Burns

      I don’t know anyone missing any limbs, but it really seemed like good rep!

      But yeah, the dia thing just really got to me. Exactly, mayday comes from the French word! I feel like they probably did a search and replace in Word to replace every instance of the word day with dia or something. Maybe someone will see my review before the book is published and fix the mayday thing!