I received a copy of Clouds & Earth in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.I've been trying to branch out of my usual genres this year. And when a publicist reached out asking if I'd like to read and review Clouds & Earth which is a futuristic sci-fi novel, I said yes! Clouds & Earth sounded fun, with espionage and a female lead! I was so excited to read it. And while some things did disappoint, it wasn't terrible. I gave it 2.75/5 stars.
Things I struggled with:
When I first started Clouds & Earth, I really struggled with the writing style. We follow several different characters throughout the book and for the first 60 or so pages, it was really confusing as to how all of the POVs related to each other. After the 60 page mark though, things started coming together and the book started to make a lot more sense. I still struggled with the writing style though, and I'm struggling now to explain how this book was written. It felt like this was a compilation of scenes (which I know that's what a book is) but I felt like this one really lacked good transitions, which made the book feel chopping and clunky as you jumped from one perspective to the next, or from one scene to the next. As I read, I did get used to the writing style, but I still wished that the book had flowed better overall.I also didn't really like the main character, Sandy. The Long War, where she was a soldier, is now over and she's bored with her life. She's not working (which is why she accepts a job offer that could turn into treason if she isn't careful) and while she has PTSD and lives with flashbacks I didn't really feel for her. It's hard to explain, but I didn't feel any emotional attachment to her and when she was experiencing flashbacks I found it hard to empathize with her. Which is weird for me to say because I have PTSD and I still struggled to relate. It also felt like she didn't have any internal story which also made it hard to root for her. What was she learning? Why was she going through all this? I have no idea! This is the first book in a trilogy, so I hope we will get answers to those questions in future books, but I felt like her character arc in this book was lacking.Also... what the heck even happened in this book? I often find myself reading like a writer, and as I read Clouds & Earth I struggled to find a plot. There were a lot of things that happened throughout the book, but I don't know what the actual plot was. This may be because there were so many POV that you follow, but I couldn't see a clear plot.
What I did enjoy:
I really liked Massi's character. Massi is a cadet at the academy and he's training to be a soldier. He's also in love with Nat and that love makes him make some choices that he may not have otherwise made. I thought that Massi had the most character growth throughout the story. And I really enjoyed reading the parts when the story was told from his POV. Even though the book lacked a clear plot, I did like the story. It was interesting and kept me reading.And one last thought, there was one scene where Massi and Nat are making out (Nat kissed him) and they are caught. When they are explaining what happened, Nat essentially says that the kiss was unwelcomed and that Massi forced himself on her. Which isn't what happened!! AHH. This made me mad at her character. I hope that this is taken care of in the next book. I don't love the promotion of rape culture, especially when it wasn't true. That bothered me. I hope she gets consequences for her actions.
Overall, Clouds & Sky wasn't a terrible book, but it wasn't the greatest book either. I'm interested to see what changes in the next two books (and I really hope that the plot will be clearer). I'd recommend this one if you like futuristic sci-fi novels. There wasn't a lot of character growth or plot, but the story was fun.
About Clouds & Earth
The Long War changed everything. For Lt. First Class Sandy Attiyeh, the peace she helped create seems to be working for everyone but her. This new world is so…well, so dull.With her commanding officer keeping her at arm’s length, citing her rather unpredictable temperament, Sandy is willing prey for Lyndon Hamilton, CEO of Hamilton InfoSec, who needs someone to engage in a little corporate espionage. He offers good pay, interesting work, and excitement. Perfect.But when Sandy’s face starts to show up on activists’ pamphlets, and rumors begin to circle regarding her alleged war crimes, any hopes she had of a future in the civilian world begin to unravel. Unable to escape Hamilton’s twisted ambitions, Sandy, caught between her old comrades and her new employer, must find a way to save the peace she gave everything for. Clouds and Earth is the first installment in The Peace Outside trilogy and is a dark and thrilling tale of intrigue and espionage set in the data-driven world of tomorrow. Startling and prescient in equal measure, it is a must-read for fans of sci-fi and contemporary fiction alike.
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