A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
This retelling of Victor Hugo's Les Misérables may inspire fans of the movie or musical to read the book, or to compare this version with the original. Some words and phrases in French with context clues, and a lot of words are derived from French, like "Laterre," or written with French-type suffixes, like "cruiseur" for police cruiser.
Real strength is standing up to violence and hate without using either one in return. Words are powerful and can be used to change hearts and minds, but sometimes you have to be prepared to fight to defend what you love, or those who are weaker than you. There's always another way: By looking at things another way, or changing your viewpoint even a little, the same information can seem completely different and lead to new possibilities or solutions.
Positive Role Models
The main characters, all older teens, model courage and perseverance. Chatine is still restless and unhappy with her current role, and longs to be useful to the cause that's trying to bring about change in the government. Marcellus moves dangerously from one obsession to another, but comes to his senses before he goes too far. Alouette realizes she wants to be a guardian and protector, both of the people and of the barely preserved knowledge handed down through history. They're surrounded by a caring and loving community of women who are trying to bring about peaceful change. Villains are motivated by lust for power, the need to win, and anger.
Physical descriptions are vague and don't identify race or ethnicity. People are divided economically, and issues surrounding race or ethnicity aren't mentioned at all.
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Violence & Scariness
Sci-fi weapons like tasers and laser guns leave holes or gashes in bodies. Blood's mentioned or described briefly. Riots, bombings, and battles aren't gory but there's large-scale destruction and lots of innocent lives lost. There's a gruesome description of three bodies hanging from hooks. Pain from being tortured is described. Characters are often in danger. Important characters die.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A few kisses, one mentions tongue. Mild romantic tension.
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"Damn," and variations.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Champagne and fictional "weedwine" flow freely during a couple of national celebrations. Mention of people in general having weedwine hangovers.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Suns Will Rise is the third installment of the sci-fi/fantasy series System Divine. More stories are certainly possible given that the location is part of a vast planetary system, but the whopping 720-pages bring this particular story to a definite end. Reading the trilogy in order is recommended for a better understanding of the world and the characters' journeys. Violence is in the sci-fi realm with taser- and laser-like weapons that can kill or stun, a droid police force, spaceship chases, and aircraft that drop bombs. There's not much gore, but blood is mentioned. There's lots of large-scale destruction, massive innocent lives lost, and important characters die. The only sexy stuff is a few kisses, one that mentions tongues, and some mild romantic dynamics. Alcohol flows freely at a couple of national celebrations. Based on the classic Les Misérables, by Victor Hugo, some readers may want to read that book or watch the movie adaptation.
Is It Any Good?
This epic sci-fi series finale turns the action and suspense up to 11, and this time the quieter moments add even more tension for a real page-turner, even at over 700 pages. Off-world exploits include a thrilling raid on a massive spaceship that would be at home anywhere in the Star Wars franchise. But it's also compelling because at its core, the central theme is as basic and broad as humanity. And amid all the excitement, this story provides a lot of food for thought about what humanity means, how we show it, who has it and who doesn't, and lots of issues wrapped in its many aspects, including justice, compassion, crime, education, revolution, loyalty, and more.
A lot of parallels with Les Misérables are back to the forefront in terms of plot, too, with barricades being built and real revolution in the air. Reading the series in order is recommended to get a better understanding of the characters and events so far. But there are helpful maps and a character list that recaps the events in the second installment. With lots of other people living on Laterre, and lots of other planets in the system, there's room for lots of other stories, too, but this one definitely comes to an end in a sweet and satisfying way.
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Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.