Between Burning Worlds: System Divine, Book 2
Action-packed, exciting sequel heads to new moon and planet.
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Between Burning Worlds is the second volume of the sci-fi System Divine series begun with Sky Without Stars and loosely patterned after Victor Hugo's Les Misérables. At a hefty 688 pages, it's best for strongly independent and highly motivated readers. There's a list of characters at the beginning to refresh your memory or get you up to speed if you didn't read the first volume, but appreciation of the world and the characters will be much deeper if you read them in order. Violence is mostly fights and riots with mention of blood, injuries, pain, and sounds of violence but no gore. There's one horrific description of a cage-style fight between to men to the death. Large-scale destruction like factory explosions causes death and injury, and characters are frequently in intense danger of being captured or killed in crashing space ships, etc. Sexy stuff is light, with some romantic feelings, a past remembered kiss, and a same-sex couple seen kissing at their wedding. There's also very little language of concern, except the term "blood whores" to describe young women who sell their blood. Overall messages are positive about teens learning to work through their sense of betrayal, what battles are worth fighting, and how to work together to change the system they're living in.
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What's the Story?
BETWEEN BURNING WORLDS continues the far-future story of three teens caught amid the rioting and growing unrest on their home planet of Laterre. Chatine has been caught and sent to the prison moon of Bastille, slaving away in a mine until she's caught up in a rebel group's attempt to free their leader who's in solitary confinement on Bastille. Marcellus has betrayed his grandfather, chief minister of the regime, and fled the palace. Now he knows he's got to do whatever it takes to help the secret rebel Vangarde prevent his grandfather from finishing a deadly new weapon that could destroy everyone on the planet. Alouette feels betrayed by the sisterhood who raised her, so she leaves the sisterhood determined to find the truth about her parents and who she really is. The fate of all of Laterrre now depends on a thief, a traitor, and a fugitive from justice.
Is It Any Good?
This epic sci-fi series sequel keeps the excitement, adventure, and action coming while even the quieter moments remain compelling thanks to the three strong, well-developed protagonists. The unique world and imaginative tech continue to expand as Marcellus, Chatine, and Alouette make new friends and alliances while traveling to new and fully realized locations, including a moon and another planet. Not easy to do over the course of a whopping 680+ pages, but co-authors Jessica Brody and Joanne Rendell manage to pull it off.
Parallels with Victor Hugo's Les Misérables are still here, but they're a bit looser and farther apart now as classic sci-fi elements like cloaking technology and space travel come to the forefront. Violence is a bit more frequent and intense, but with little gore. Teens will relate to the three main characters as they work through feeling betrayed by everything they knew before, learn how to navigate a quickly changing world, and figure out which battles are worth fighting and why.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about how Between Burning Worlds compares with Les Misérables. Have you read that book or seen a movie adaptation? If not, would you like to now?
If you lived on Laterre, would you rather live with the Defecteurs and avoid the events of the rest of the planet, or would you rather be involved in the fight to either bring the regime under control or change it? Why?
Why is science fiction such a popular genre across so many different kinds of media? What do we like about it so much? What can it tell us about ourselves and the world we actually live in?
- Authors: Jessica Brody, Joanne Rendell
- Genre: Science Fiction
- Topics: Adventures, Friendship, Space and Aliens
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Simon Pulse
- Publication date: March 24, 2020
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 12 - 17
- Number of pages: 688
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: April 25, 2021
Our Editors Recommend
Sky Without Stars: System Divine, Book 1
Compelling, epic start to sci-fi series based on "Les Miz."
Engaging reboot puts Jane Eyre in space.
Excellent film adaptation of gritty, heartbreaking musical.
For kids who love science fiction
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