Review and photo by Melissa J. ~ originally posted on Ramblings of a Bibliophile
Thanks to the @kidlitexchange network for the free review copy of his book – all opinions are my own.
When Planets Fall by Abby J. Reed
(Soul Mate Publishing ~ May 10, 2017)
I was initially drawn to When Planets Fall because the three characters from whose perspectives the story is told all have some sort of disability that sets them apart from others in the novel. Breaker has a prosthetic leg, named Circuit, which causes him back pain where the harness rests and pain where Circuit rubs against the remaining portion of his leg. The prosthetic impacts his mobility, but he does not feel comfortable without it, so he deals with the pain. Malani not only has metal wings that set her apart from everyone else physically, but also has PTSD from when she was kidnapped when she was younger. Luka has debilitating migraines, (and may also be a sociopath) but that only adds to his character. Rather than having characters who were the perfect hero or heroine, the author made Breaker, Malani, and Luka more real by not only ensuring that their disability was discussed and not glossed over, but also that they found ways to cope with these differences, something that I think all readers will.
Even with the storyline and well-developed characters, I did struggle to stay invested at points. Malani is not a sympathetic character; Breaker risked his life, as well as the people in his compound, to free her from the Heron, and she is really mean to him in return, both in her thoughts and actions. Also, some of the vocabulary was a little confusing. Instead of “year,” “month,” “week,” “day,” “hour,” “minute,” and “second,” they said “cycle,” “monsa,” “septdia,” “dia,” “hora,” “min,” and “sec.” Since they were on a different planet, I understand having different words if they represented different lengths of time, but that did not seem to be the case.
While I struggled initially to get invested in the novel, almost to the point of setting it aside entirely, I powered through and ended up really enjoying the storyline and character development. I really liked how unpredictable everything became near the end and how there was not a happy ending as one would have thought. With the novel ending how it did, I am really excited to see where the author takes the next two novels.
Melissa Joynson is a high school English teacher and a library media studies graduate student who lives in Midlothian, Virginia. She is currently in her 7th year of teaching, and is always looking for new, creative ways to help her students enjoy learning, reading, and writing. At school, she is known for encouraging her students to become lifelong readers through frequent trips to the library and daily reading time in class. At home, she is a proud wife and mother to a [hopefully] future reader. You can follow Melissa on Twitter and Instagram @melissa_joynson and her blog can be viewed at https://bibliophilesramblings.blogspot.com/.