Sera Lighthaven has always felt as if she didn’t quite belong among her people, the Cerulean, who live in the City Above the Sky. She is curious about everything—especially the planet that her City is magically tethered to—and can’t stop questioning things. Sera has always longed for the day when the tether will finally break and the Cerulean can move to a new planet.
But when Sera is chosen as the sacrifice to break the tether, she feels betrayed by everything in which she’d been taught to trust. In order to save her City, Sera must end her own life.
But something goes wrong, and Sera survives, ending up on the planet below in a country called Kaolin. Sera has heard tales about the dangerous humans who live here, and she quickly learns that these dangers were not just stories.
Meanwhile, back in the City, all is not what it seems, and the life of every Cerulean may be in danger if Sera is not able to find a way home.
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.
Anyway, rant over. Let's talk about the book.
This book follows four different characters, Sera, Leela, Leo, and Agnes. Sera and Leela are best friends that live in the City in the Sky until the day that Sera is chosen to break the tether that keeps her world connected to Kaolin and Pelago. Which means, she's going to die. Only she doesn't die. She's taken by Leo and Agnes and used by their father for his greed. While Leela is left to unravel the secrets of the City in the Sky.
This wasn't a bad book at all. The characters are well fleshed out and the world was great, more so the City in the Sky, while Kaolin seemed more like a land that we would live in and that's fine just not nearly as cool as Sera and Leela's world. I loved reading when we were in the City in the Sky, the world was rich and vivid and sounds so freaking pretty!
Leo is an ass through most of the book and even in the end.... I still didn't really care for him. Agnes is fine... just a little... dull? I mean for the most part, she lets everyone treat her like crap and then when she should be helping Sera, she wants her hair instead or she just lets Sera get hurt. So I didn't really like either of them as characters and their POVs were painful to get through.
I did love Sera and Leela and their parts of the book were great! Though honestly, I think the main problem with this book is how long it is. A third could be cut out and it would flow better, maybe even half of this book could be cut and it would work much better. There are parts that I really feel was there for filler. The parts that were good really had me hooked, like the end with Leela. I wanted more of her POV. I think I would've loved this book more if we'd just stayed in the City in the Sky. The world was so different and cool. Three mothers? No fathers? Clothes made out of clouds?! I mean, that's cool, that's what I wanted. Not dropping down into a world like ours that is rather dull and boring.