Aliens, decimated human population, and a strong female protagonist on a quest are the key components of Broken Skies by Theresa Kay. I find all of those things compelling, so I started this book with high expectations. It didn’t take me long to get through this book, and I enjoyed it well enough. It wasn’t until it was time to reflect that I realized exactly how many times this book sidestepped great opportunities to develop a more fully realized world. YA readers who enjoyed Blood Red Road or The Fifth Wave will probably be interested in this book, but they will find Broken Skies a little anemic regarding world building and emotional punch when compared side by side with either of those books
I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Jax lives in a future where 90% of the human population died out and aliens occupy a portion of the lonely world. The aliens keep to themselves for the most part, but in a chance encounter, Jax’s brother is kidnapped by them and she is left saddled with a wounded alien. The mission to get her brother back will require Jax to ally herself with this enemy. This is a mix of things I like — strong female protagonist, journey through a deserted and dangerous world, alien encounters. The romantic elements that develop are not the overly emotional ones seen in a lot of YA, and the relationships that Jax forms with others hold true to her character. I loved that the deep felt mistrust between humans and aliens wasn’t erased by a few days of knowing each other and kept me from ever really knowing who was trustworthy. As with many abrasive characters who can’t seem to follow directions given for their own good, it was hard for me to like Jax in the beginning. She eventually grew on me, but it took awhile. The action and pacing were uneven — the journey, especially, rushed and dragged in intervals. The language and situations are appropriate for 7th grade and up.