Sera's life changes when she is chosen for a ceremony to be sacrificed to break the tether so that the planet can travel elsewhere. When she falls, she somehow survives, but learns quickly of the cruelty of humans on the surface. The novel is told between her perspective, that of her Cerulean BFF Leela, and two siblings on the planet, Agnes and Leo.
What I loved: There are some interesting themes about exploitation, greed, and devotion that were intriguing to explore. The Cerulean were truly interesting, and I loved learning about this culture, its people, and its magic. While some characters I liked more than others, it was interesting to get multiple perspectives and see this world more fully. The country on the surface is ruled by men and money, and there are some themes about gender inequality that were tough to read, but intriguing to discuss in the context of Agnes, whose life is ruled by the men around her, but who wants more and knowledge.
What left me wanting more: There is a redemption arc for a character that felt a bit forced. Additionally, the magic and abilities that arise were somewhat hard to believe (particularly as it seemed really convenient for the plot - Sera can magically understand any language). While I also loved the culture of the Cerulean, there was something odd in the way that Sera's sexuality was portrayed, as she differs from the others and it also felt a bit forced to me.
As a small note, I picked up this series being a fan of Ewing's prior writing, but this is much lighter and not as gritty and compelling in my mind, but I think may appeal to a slightly different audience.
Final verdict: THE CERULEAN is an intriguing start to a new duology that has interesting themes and a unique premise. Although it was not what I expected, I will be reading the second book, and I am hoping for more answers within.