Read The Pearl Wars by NickJames Online


A devastated Earth's last hope is found in Pearls: small, mysterious orbs that fall from space and are capable of supplying enough energy to power entire cities. Battling to control the Pearls are the Skyship dwellers--political dissidents who live in massive ships in the Earth's stratosphere--and the corrupt Surface government.Jesse Fisher, a Skyship slacker, and CassiusA devastated Earth's last hope is found in Pearls: small, mysterious orbs that fall from space and are capable of supplying enough energy to power entire cities. Battling to control the Pearls are the Skyship dwellers--political dissidents who live in massive ships in the Earth's stratosphere--and the corrupt Surface government.Jesse Fisher, a Skyship slacker, and Cassius Stevenson, a young Surface operative, cross paths when they both venture into forbidden territory in pursuit of Pearls. Their chance encounter triggers an unexpected reaction, endowing each boy with remarkable--and dangerous--abilities that their respective governments would stop at nothing to possess.Enemies thrust together with a common goal, Jesse and Cassius make their way to the ruins of Seattle to uncover the truth about their new powers, the past they didn't know they shared, and a shocking secret about the Pearls....

Title : The Pearl Wars
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 12668516
Format Type : Kindle Edition
Number of Pages : 390 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Pearl Wars Reviews

  • Nick James
    2018-12-25 03:55

    I would hope that I'd like it! :)

  • TheBookSmugglers
    2019-01-16 02:05

    Originally Reviewed on The Book Smugglers: Impressions:Ana: I’ve been excited about reading Skyship Academy ever since I first heard about it in the build-up to BEA last May when Thea put it on my radar because it sounded soooo good. But Holy SciFi YA Batman! I was not prepared for how much fun I would have reading it or for how cool and well developed the SciFi elements would be. Add to that a couple of great protagonists, and a HOLY CRAP A WTFPOLARBEAR type of twist at the end and ergo: this a pretty decent, fun Scifi book.Thea: Like Ana, I was extremely enthusiastic for this novel. A post-apocalyptic Earth with an ongoing war between renegade “Shippers” and bureaucratic “Surfacers”? There’s a lot of potential there, and, for the most part, The Pearl Wars delivers. Though I feel the writing from both a plotting and characterization perspective lacked focus in the first two thirds of the novel, the ideas are so strong and compelling that I felt it was worth the effort. Plus, the big reveal in the book’s final act is definitely a good one (and yes, almost WTFPOLARBEAR status).On the Plot:Ana: Skyship Academy starts off with a bang with the two main protagonists facing off – and this encounter not only kicks off a weird reaction on both of them grating each with awesome and terrifying abilities but it also gets the story going as they need to find out more about these abilities, about each other and how can this possibly be connected with the way things are in the world. From that point onwards, the story is fast paced, interesting and I was glued to the pages until the – AWESOME – end. Although I could see one of the twists coming miles (and miles) ahead, I was very much not prepared for the main revelation in the end – it turned everything up to that point upside down and it opens up the story for loads of further development.In terms of setting, I loved all elements of the world-building and I found everything to be very believable and intriguing not only in the terms of how the world came to be in the state that it is in but also how everything functions right now. I loved the separation and difference between the Skyshippers and the Surface dwellers and how it all involved complex politic, economical, scientific and social circumstances. Although I am not necessarily an expert (far, far from it) one of my favourite things about Scifi, especially futuristic Scifi is how it can be fun but also extremely insightful about the state of the world. I believe the author managed to combine both aspects really well, and never to the detriment of the other.I was really impressed with this book – and can hardly believe it is a debut novel. I admit that I am one of those annoying readers who tends to question everything and usually has several “Wait a Minute” moments when reading. But I found myself relaxing and truly enjoying the ride – right now there is really, no greater compliment from me.Thea: Overall, this is a fun, generally fast read with some truly awesome ideas. While I agree that the book ends on a high note and finally gets moving by its final act, I do think that The Pearl Wars suffered from a lack of focus and could have been a lot tighter for much of the novel. The book does, as Ana says, begin with a bang as Skyshipper Jesse Fisher finds himself dangling off a twelve-story building in a Fringe Surface town at the mercy of Cassius Stevenson, one of the cruel supersoldier in training types for the Unified Party (the official government for what used to be the USA). Then, something inexplicable happens when Jesse and Cassius are together and both begin to develop something akin to superpowers. Much of the novel is spent following these two separated characters as they struggle with their disparate worlds: one at a Skyship Academy (which is a secret cover story for Pearl Hunter training), and one at a Unified Training Camp (on the surface of the planet). While I loved the idea of this dichotomy of Skyshippers and those from the Unified Party, with their different ideologies but eerily similar endgame (i.e. prevailing over the other party and controlling all the Pearls), I felt that there wasn’t really enough background or detail given about these two warring camps. Early on, we learn that a mysterious woman known as Madame is in charge of the Unified camp, but other than the name Madame and a few scenes in her office, we don’t really know anything about her or her party. Or what they stand for, or really want (other than some heavy-handed “YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH!” type of stuff at the end of the book). The same applies to the Skyshippers – we know they have their own leader, Alkine (whose name sounds a lot like Adama, teehee), and are some kind of nebulous party that broke with the official government back during the apocalyptic war, but the detail I yearned for was sadly neglected.The overall effect is that this world is very dichotomous – very black and white, right and wrong. Towards the end of the novel when the big reveals come (and finally some of those juicy details sort of come to fruition), this simplistic divide is only exacerbated as there is the heavy-handed/not-so-thinly veiled Message about Terrorists and Homeland Security.There’s also a frustrating lack of plot direction, initially, with too much time spent on Jesse being disinterested with his studies, sucking at something that is akin to Skyship capture the flag, and otherwise being generally incompetent. In contrast, Cassius is hyper-confident and effective, managing to deus-ex-machina his way around dusty wastelands and magically catch up to Jesse every time he seems to have escaped. That said, I did love the tension between Jesse and Cassius from a narrative perspective (Jesse’s first person versus Cassius’s third person narration), and the differences in their characters and personas – but more on that in a bit.I know it sounds like I’m being unduly harsh with The Pearl Wars – and I don’t mean to be. The ideas in this book are superb, and there is so much potential for greatness here. I love the concept of Pearls (and the big reveal concerning them late in the book); I love the ideas behind this iteration of Earth and its destruction. I love the general plotline of this book and the direction it ultimately takes, and I am hungry for the next installment. I just wish there was a tighter focus for those exposition/buildup chapters instead of so much time wasted on pointless action that does nothing to advance the story, and perhaps a touch lighter hand, thematically, later on in the novel.On the Characters:Thea: I have to say that I loved the dual protagonist approach to this novel, with Jesse telling his shaky side of the story and displaying his insecurities, versus Cassius’s more assertive, aggressive third person storyline. The contrast between these characters is a sharp one, and I appreciated the very different perspectives (although the narration point of view makes it seem like Jesse is the “good guy” versus Cassius’s misguided aggression). Personally, I wasn’t a huge fan of Jesse – the boy is helpless and virtually incompetent when it comes to anything (he’s basically a dude in distress, and needs bailing out at every turn by his more adroit female companions). He’s clumsy, flies under the radar at the academy, and basically has no desire to continue in his career path as a Pearl Hunter for the Skyship cause – and that’s fine. I just wish there was a little more meat to his character, perhaps some further introspection or a more distinct voice. As it is, he’s kinda the male equivalent of a Bella Swan: nondescript except for one super special thing (in this case, Jesse’s…superpower, for lack of a better word). That super special thing IS pretty cool though, and Jesse does show some mettle by the end of the book, so I do have hope for him in future installments.Far more interesting to me were the secondary characters and supporting cast. Cassius, Jesse’s foil, is a driven young man with an axe to grind, and I loved his single-minded determination. With the developments that happen in this novel and his feelings of discovery and betrayal, Cassius’s character arc is far more interesting to me than Jesse’s and so very promising for future books in the series. There are also two badass female characters in the novel – Avery, with her own compelling twist of a story, and Eva, the most battle-hardened of the younger Academy ensemble.Then, of course, there are the two opposed heads who don’t really get much time or depth – I’m referring to Madame, the utilitarian leader, and Captain Alkine, the Skyship commander. As I mentioned in the plot discussion above, I don’t think enough time or detail was assigned to these two characters and Madame borders on the caricaturish end (what with her wearing impeccable designer suits and certain dialogue choices) and Alkine a bit too good to be true. I do like that there is mystery around both of these adult characters, but hope they are a little less two-dimensional in the next book. Certainly, Mr. James alludes to mixed motives on both characters’ parts – I just hope that thread is fleshed out.Ana: I too, loved the dual narration and although it took time to get used to the shift between first person/third person narratives, I believe the narrative choices suited both characters perfectly. I agree with not only Thea’s assessment of Cassius but also how he proved to be the more interesting character because of what he was going through. His new-found ability actually has a much bigger, terrible outside effect that made his arc even more compelling.Having said that: although Cassius is the more interesting character, I completely loved Jesse. I loved the fact that there is a bit of gender reversal role here because he was a dude in distress, who was self-doubting and basically not really good at what he was supposed to be doing. I felt he was as developed as Cassius and I loved how the two are as different as to almost be direct opposites.As for the secondary characters, I felt they were pretty well developed as well including the two girls Avery and Eva who were strong character but not only because they were kick-ass – because they had compelling back stories and distinct voices. And I actually felt the same way about the two adults as well and I LOVED Madame as a villain. I felt the allusions to both these characters’ past and the way they acted during this story were enough to convince me that Alkine is not entirely on the side of Good nor is Madame completely on the Dark Side of the Force. And that is awesome. I totally loved these characters and how they have so much potential to be even more awesome and I simply can’t wait for more.Final Thoughts, Observations & Rating:Ana: With a cool premise, great writing and world-building, fantastic characters and a twisterrific ending, Skyship Academy just made into my notable reads of 2011 list. And now I am simply dying for more.Thea: The Pearl Wars is a solid, fun read, and though it starts on shaky ground, it ends with a hell of a bang. I’ll definitely be back for more.Rating:Ana: 8 – ExcellentThea: 7 – Very Good

  • Tabitha (Pabkins)
    2019-01-09 07:49

    The story takes place in post-apocalyptic America (and in the skies above it). The view points toggle back and forth between the two male teenagers Jesse and Cassius. Jesse is a Skyshipper who grew up in the skies and Cassius is a government goon who was raised in one of the “Chosen Cities” that are spread across what’s left of Northern America. Outside these Chosen Cities people still live and try to survive – though it is a blasted wasteland – these people are called Fringers.One of the best opening lines in a YA book:"My fingers grip the ledge, searching for cracks. The rest of me dangles into empty sky like some demented human windsock."Two factions of people fight over an energy source called Pearls that fall from the sky. These two teens happen to meet because of the search for one. Of course they fight right?!Enjoyable and super fast paced (once you get past page 100), this is the first book in a trilogy that completes this year. The characters are ones I quickly grew attached to, they each have their strengths and weaknesses along with their reasoning behind their actions. There are are a few things however, that I nit picked at while reading. Mainly in the first few chapters with Jesse he used the word ‘mass’ a lot. I get that it’s a slang word and I even know a few kids that do the same thing – they latch onto that slang word and use it until you want to smack them. That’s how I felt about Jesse for a little while. Of course that wasn’t how it was the whole book, so if you are like me in that easily annoyed respect don’t worry. I thought the first 100 pages was a tad bit low on the action, but I have to admit that I might have been expecting more action because of how much action there was in the first chapter. Way to suck me in Nick James! So that was my bad – don’t go in expecting just enjoy the ride. The Pearl Wars leads you in by the nose, giving you little sniffs here and there of history and the current state of things with the world, I would definitely have loved to know more, but I’ll just have to wait for the next book. Nick James has a lovely website with lots of info on the factions and characters - so that I gobbled right up.There are a a few supporting characters that were excellent additions that you can't help but wonder - no where is this going to go? Thankfully this was very light on any romantic aspects which for a YA book was oh so refreshing!Nick James has a lovely website with lots of info on the factions and characters - so that I gobbled right up.There is a definite surprise in store for readers, and I love being taken by surprise!

  • oliviasbooks
    2019-01-01 06:02

    2.5 stars. I have to admit that I didn't enjoy this much although I liked the setting and the idea. Partly to blame is my inability to like any member of the cast. The last third of the book was only a frantic rush from page to page in an effort to get it over. I felt like I was too far in to let it go and mark it as unfinished. But it was more like taking care of a chore than having a good time with a great story. Uhhg. I am so spent that even my review sounds like spontaneous combustion. Sorry, Surface dwellers and Fringers. This girl needs to power up.

  • Ravenous Biblioworm
    2019-01-22 10:05

    I obviously didn’t know what I was going into when I picked up this book. The plot was very interesting and fun. The pearls … were a pleasant surprise. Skyship is packed with science fiction and dystopia so for those of you who enjoy either genre or both, you should read this book. Skyship‘s world has gone arid and hot. Cities are kept alive under domes powered by pearls that fall from the sky from space. Two factions are almost point and center here, fighting over these pearls. Jesse is a thrown in the middle of the feud only to discover he has a bigger role to play than he has ever expected.Honestly, I’m straddling on how I feel about this book. Maybe I’m in a sour mood, but I don’t feel angry. Just restless. I really wanted to really really like – love – this book. I couldn’t. Do not get me wrong. I enjoyed it, but I didn’t love it (see verdict). It was entertaining. It was fun. The plot was different, refreshing from other YA novels and other science fiction novels. I think it came down to the characters.Jesse, our protaganist and narrators at certain times (the story alternates between first person, when Jesse is talking, and third person, when exploring Cassius’ perspective), wasn’t completely likable for me, but luckily I liked him enough. He comes off as a defenseless, an almost spineless guy, in the beginning, which I don’t mind… but somewhere in the middle of the book, he just switches personality and becomes headstrong and commanding. Nothing wrong with that, but why the change. What made him change? It wasn’t too clear. I can make assumptions but they aren’t too concrete. (I still don’t really empathize or care for him).Cassius, the other main guy in the story, is strong (in the self-seeing kind of way). Yet, he harms people almost without a second thought. There’s nothing wrong with this, only, the first time he does harming in a big way, he kind of pushed any feeling aside and preceeded to chase after Jesse. Later, he saves a man’s life (who only came into harm’s way because of him)… because he cared. Basically there were no emotional point A to point B to explain these changes in behavior.That’s it. Had to sit down and start writing this review to pinpoint out what bothered me. The characters are given light backstory, our main guys that is, and the other characters are just secondary characters. One moment the secondaries are them and the other moment they’re not (vague, I know, but I don’t want to spoil anything). Why? Why the sudden change in attitude? Never was given a reason. There’s no emotional attachment from characters in this story. We almost get it with Avery, almost recieve a reason of some sort, but then the story thread slips and her character’s personality loosens (I made the assumption of love for her reasons why she did the things she did). We get an array of people in the story, but they are given roles and not a life (hopefully you get my metaphor).But I did like the story. I thought the plot was interesting and intriguing. There were moments where the story was slowed, but it quickly paced up again. I really enjoyed the plot. Don’t know if I can say it enough. When I realized the book was nearing its end, I wanted to read more. I wanted to find out what happens next, but the books ends kind of abruptly. So there’s a second book.Anyway, the writing is vernacular. Prose is simple and plain. Nothing wrong with that either. James does well in creating his world. I believed the world they lived in and saw and felt its decay (not entirely right word…. morphing? terraforming?)… change from what we know (that’s better… I see I’m in a mood to talk in parenthesis tonight). I didn’t question the world. There were places and names that I knew and yet they were different in my mind because I knew they were different – I accepted the world that was given. It’s frustrating for a book to describe a place and your mind fights with it because it doesn’t match your memory or mind’s visual lenses and understanding. For me, James made his world and my brain cohesive.Overall, I enjoyed the book becuase of its plot. It’s what drove me to read this book. The interaction between characters were somewhat stiff and expected, but again the interesting storyline made up for it. Hopefully, James does not fail his story’s concept.Verdict: Not one I would buy, but one to definately read. I’ll be on the lookout for book two.Visit my book review blog at

  • Elevetha
    2019-01-16 06:07

    3.5 stars.This will be brief....Characters weren't the best but I didn't want to kill them and these days, that's a feat in itself. I loved Cassius more than anyone else. He was my broken, kinda-on-the-wrong-side, bad ass boy. I'm sorry you had to see that....But I need more of him and more backstory and more development and MOAR!!!!! The potential for this boy...Jesse was okay, I guess. *shrug* The whole Jesse/Avery thing actually kinda made me edgy. I mean, he's 15 and she's 18? 3 years and girl older isn't bad (just ask my grandparents) but, I don't know, it always strikes me as really weird when they're still in their teens. I saw one of the twists coming from a ways off and I was so proud of myself. Little did I realize that I was so focused on the one twist, I COMPLETELY ignored the other one. Yes, the other one that I should have seen coming *slaps myself* but I was quite pleased by. Very excited to see where that goes!So, yeah, I'll be back for more. Definitely.

  • Majd Abdulghani
    2019-01-10 05:06

    I think the mistake was reading this after two Michael Grant books. I was constantly comparing them. Very bad idea when you're actually trying to like a book.

  • Annie
    2019-01-11 08:53

    First Look:  I'm not sure what exactly drew me to this book.  The goggles and the word "skyship" screamed steampunk, though this book isn't even steampunk.  (Up close, the goggles look fakey anyway.)  Still, I decided to give it a shot.Setting:   I don't understand why the Unified Party and the Skyship people are at odds with each other.  It seems that all dystopian novels have to have two battling factions.  Pro tip: it is possible to write a dystopian novel without this aspect.  Patrick Ness uses this wonderfully in The Ask and the Answer and Monsters of Men, but in both these cases, it works.  Those novels take time to explore the conflicts, rather than just having conflict for the sake of it.  They use the warring factions to ask difficult questions of readers: When you only have two choices, who do you fight for?  A tyrant or a terrorist?  Also, who do you save: the lives of many, or the life of the one person you can't live without?  I wouldn't have minded the two factions aspect in The Pearl Wars, except that there was very little worldbuilding, and it felt thrown in just to give something to plot around.  Enough information was laid down to establish that these were warring factions, but we weren't ever given a reason why they were fighting.  Or a reason to care.Characters: I have mixed feelings about both main characters, Jesse and Cassisus.  Jesse had potential to be a character that felt real, with much for readers to connect with.  He had that, to some extent, but for me, his constant complaining prevented me from ever getting close to him, as a character.  He spends most of the first half of the book feeling sorry for himself because he's the worst trainee Skyship has.  But he never did anything about it.  If he really wanted to stop being the worst and stop being picked on for it, why didn't he work harder?  Talk to his teachers and get extra help?  Train for the paintball-type game on his own?  Cassius was more interesting, for me.  I'm not sure why, exactly.  This could be just my imagination, but I think he got less point of view chapters in the second half of the book, and Jesse's point of view took over the story.  Again, I could just be making this up, but it seemed like his storyline dropped out as soon as he crossed paths with Jesse.  I wish I could've gotten to know Cassius better--he seemed like an interesting character, and probably will develop throughout the rest of the trilogy. Plot:  The beginning was exciting.  Then it slowed down for 150 pages or so.  It finally picked back up, but by that time, it was too late to save this book from a three-star rating.  There was a snippet of action at the beginning, and it caught my attention, but then it turned into a long segment of Jesse's complaining, eavesdropping, and other less-exciting things.  Why is it that whenever a character randomly eavesdrops on a conversation just for the sake of it, that conversation always just so happens to be about him?  The plot picked back up at the end, in terms of things actually happening, but I wish it wouldn't have taken so long to get there.Uniqueness:  The aspect of the Pearls was unique.  Other than that, this book contained many too-familiar tropes of standard-issue dystopian novels.Writing:  The thing that annoyed me was the awkward point of view switches.  Jesse's point of view chapters were written in first person, present tense.  Cassius' were in third person, past tense.  This meant that, at the beginning of every chapter, it took me a few paragraphs to readjust to the switch.  It didn't make sense to me--why make one person's point of view one way, and the other character's point of view different?  It wasn't consistent.  And anyway, present tense tends to get on my nerves.  Other than that, I had no other major issues with the writing. Likes: Nothing not already mentioned above. Not-so-great: Same. Overall: This was an okay book.  The setting wasn't explained fully.  Jesse spent too much time complaining, but other than that, he and Cassius were decent main characters.  The plot was exciting at the beginning, slowed down for too long, then picked back up at the very end.  The switches every chapter or so between first person present and third person past tense were annoying.  Overall, though, it was a decent book.  It's more on the high side of three stars, for me, but not quite enough for me to bump up the rating.  Similar Books: The dystopian setting and dual point of view remind me of Proxy and Legend.  It also has a little bit of an Airborn vibe to it.

  • Kathy Martin
    2018-12-24 02:11

    This story is a science fiction dystopia. It features a corrupt earth government, Skyships of rebels, and aliens. In this future when the United States has been devastated by something and retaliated by nuking any perceived enemies, surface dwellers are divided into fringers and the residents of some protected cities. These cities are powered by pearls that fall from the sky and have enough energy to keep the cities going. The main characters are Jesse Fisher who has been raised on one of the skyships and is supposed to be training as one of the agents who are spies and soldiers. He's more interested in going to one of the other cities as soon as he turns eighteen. The other main character is Cassius Stevenson who has been raised on Earth under the control of the mysterious Madame who goal is to bring down the skyships. The boys first meet on earth in one of the abandoned cities when both are looking for a fallen pearl. When they touch each other something strange happens to each of them. Jesse develops the ability to call the pearls to him and to cause them to explode. Cassius gains the ability to explode spewing fire all around him. Cassius has no control over this ability but Madame says that she has the cure if only he goes to skyship academy and brings her Jesse.Jesse has plans of his own and wants to get to Seattle to find out about his mysterious past. This story is filled with action as both boys find themselves on Earth and making their way to Seattle. This is the first book in a series. I'll be reading more to find out more about Jesse and Cassius.

  • Anne Hamilton
    2019-01-02 07:45

    Some spoilers follow:I almost certainly would have rated this higher had I not made the mistake of reading Skyship Academy: Crimson Rising first, not realising it was the second in a series. Thus, the twists and surprises that I would have encountered on a cold first-read just weren't there. I already knew so much of what was going to happen from the second book.The year is 2095.The world is a mess. Society is divided. The privileged live in the Chosen Cities where atmosphere, temperature and living conditions are controlled by Pearl energy - a power source that drops out of the sky in balls of green glow fire. Those less fortunate - or criminals expelled from the Chosen Cities - live outside in the seared wastelands of the Fringes.Up in the sky are the Skyshippers - those who are separated from the Unified Party which controls the Chosen Cities - taking control of the great sky cities just prior to their launch.The Tribunal of the Skyshippers doesn't trust the Unified Party - not after they nuked entire countries in retaliation for a terrorist attack. The attack - the Scarlet Bombings - razed many of the major cities of the USA but no one ever claimed responsibility.Jesse Fisher has grown up on a skyship. He's been trained at Skyship Academy to retrieve Pearls. His first training mission - supposedly a doddle in the park to retrieve a Pearl in a deserted Fringe town - goes seriously awry when he meets up with teen Pearlhound, Cassius Stevenson.Cassius has been trained to kill. Brought up in the Lodge by the mysterious and ruthless Madame, he is totally loyal to her. She treats him as her son. He thinks he's the only one singled out for special treatment, but he's about to find out otherwise. In his devotion he wants to do anything to please her. And knowing she likes nothing better than Pearls, he borrows a transport without permission and goes out to a Fringe town to retrieve a Pearl. Before it falls into the hands of Skyshippers.In the Fringe town - Syracuse - he and Jesse meet. Jesse is, not to put too fine a point on it - a loser. His combat skills are limited to hiding really well. (And that's not just in his own estimation.)So when he and Cassius confront each other on a rooftop, it's no contest. Killer Cassius wins without effort and forces Jesse into a fall off the rooftop. Jesse falls twelve storeys. But not without first momentarily grasping Cassius' hand and feeling something strange happen.Strange enough to enable him to survive the fall without a scratch. Strange enough to cause Cassius to become a source of spontaneous combustion.Yep, Cassius can explode - burn down everything around him including his own clothes - and come out with the skin of a newborn babe. The first time it happens he burns down his own room. The second time it happens he's on a crowded train on its way to Spokane, hunting Jesse.Madame insists after the first incident that Jesse is the cure to the devastating problem. But she won't say why. Or how she knows.She concocts a plan to get Cassius onto the Skyship Academy. He's got instructions to kidnap Jesse and bring him back to the Lodge. Cassius doesn't like the plan. He's anxious about the pills to control his spontaneous combustion. And he feels he's not being told essential details. Jesse, back at the Academy, is sure there are things he is not being told. He discovers that two of his closest friends - including the girl he's been in love with for three years - have been spying on him. For opposite sides.Why would anybody be interested in a dorky, uncoordinated, always-getting-beaten-up-and-rescued-by-girls loser like Jesse Fisher? Because, it transpires, he was found as a three year old wandering by himself - alone and unscathed - inside a city totally destroyed by the radiation of the Scarlet Bombings. No one else survived the razing of Seattle, no one else within a massive radius was immune to the fallout, but Jesse was at ground zero unharmed. Ever since, people have been watching him secretly to see if there's something about him that's unusual.Fleeing Cassius' attack and attempted kidnapping, Jesse sets out for Seattle. On the way he discovers two unpleasant truths: one, he can call Pearls to him and break them open; two, Pearls aren't really energy sources - they are transport vehicles for people from the stars. This means that the Unified Party have been killing alien people to power their cities. In Seattle, with Madame and her stormtroopers threatening to kill his friends unless he cooperates, he learns another unpleasant truth.This time it's about Cassius.

  • Erica
    2019-01-07 01:53

    I feel I should probably warn you in advance that this is a super long review with lots and lots of love! Skyship Academy: The Pearl Wars was a book I had heard about briefly before BEA. I picked up a copy, thinking it looked pretty cool. Then I found out James Dashner had blurbed it, so that definitely put it on my radar. What I happened to find was one of those super rare gems of a book that are absolutely brilliant. Oh my golly, this book is absolutely, freaking fantabulous and I loved it so so much. This book was super well written - one of the best written books I've read in months. Then it was told in alternating chapters between the two main characters for the majority of the book, which was super cool. The premise of The Pearl Wars was really unique. I loved that it was unlike anything I had ever read, and then still every time I would think something was set in stone it was time for some new cool plot curve. The Pearl Wars kept my attention for the entire book – I literally sat for 3 hours and didn’t put it down until I finished. I didn’t want to. The one thing I wish I had known was just a little more background about Madame and the government. She knew so much and sent Cassius on this mission, I just constantly wanted to know more and the waiting drove me nuts! I still would love to know more, and I hope that more of those answers are revealed in book 2. The characters were really quite marvelous. I absolutely loved Avery. I thought she was super spunky and had so much confidence. I wasn’t Jesse’s biggest fan at first, but he was a character that really grew on me as the book went on. That really went for Cassius as well.This book really didn't have any romance, which was super lovely. I take that back, I guess it did, a little. But it was a super underlying plot element and really didn't like take over the plot. It was so refreshing. There really need to be more books like this.I cannot wait for the next book – this book was nicely tied up, but now there are so many questions I have and I am so giddy to find out where the story will go. It has been quite awhile since I’ve read a super fabulous science fiction-y read.The Pearl Wars was a marvelous debut. It was super brilliant and comes with a super snazzy looking cover. With its original premise and fantastic cast of characters, The Pearl Wars will be a book you will not want to miss.

  • Nikki (Wicked Awesome Books)
    2019-01-16 09:49

    What do you get when you mix a little sci-fi with a smidge dystopian, and top it all off with some incredible world-building? You get Skyship Academy: The Pearl Wars, that’s what. And it is one phenomenally written and executed book, with plenty of action and a plot that only thickens.Nick James has created this vast world that is still our Earth, but so different. The three different factions – Skyship, the Unified Party, and the Fringers – have these politics that govern them and it’s complicated, but James explains it in ways that make it interesting and easy to get. His descriptions of air ships, the broiling Surface, and the Chosen Cities are vivid. The reader will be right there, alongside Jesse or Cassius.That brings me to the main character: Jesse Fisher. How can the reader not love Jesse? He’s this uncoordinated, scrawny kid with a lot to live up to. Without any family, he always feels alone. He knows he’s not going to be the best Pearl agent – or even a decent one at that – but he strives to do well, despite it all.Cassius, like Jesse, is alone; but unlike Jesse, Cassius succeeds in everything he does. The two boys are on opposite sides of an imposing war, fighting to find the Pearls that power most of their planet. Their struggle to discover who they are, in the wake of bristling new powers, drives the story. Secondary characters like Avery, Alkine, Madame, and Jesse’s teammates Eva and Skandar all add some extra depth to the story.The Pearl Wars is a rare gem of a book that will keep readers on the edge of their seat and blow their minds with the startling conclusion. There was very little that I saw coming in this book and the one thing I did see coming, was miniscule in comparison to the bigger picture. I’m insisting that you read this one yourself. The world-building is astonishingly well-thought out, the characters are fully developed, and everything about the Pearls left me in shock. Nick James is an author to watch and now that I’ve started this series, I know I’ll be unable to ever put it down. I need the next one now!

  • Kat Heckenbach
    2019-01-14 05:10

    3.7 stars.This book started off great for me. For quite a while I would have given it five stars. The voice is strong, the main character is likable and easy to relate to. Some of the secondary characters are interesting, although many of them weren't as fleshed-out as they could have been. I thought the concept was original and the story world well thought-out. It began to slip for me during the last 1/4 of the book. A little too much info-dumping at the end, with Madame explaining her plan and then Alkine explaining his actions. Also, some of the ending confrontation felt a bit contrived--like the author thought the book had to have a big action scene with guns blazing--I'd have appreciated less theatrics and more character at that point. Also, I never really felt the Jesse-Avery connection. Cassius was interesting and I did very much appreciate how things turned out with him at the end--no spoilers! I did enjoy the book enough to want to keep going with the series. My WebsiteFind me on FacebookMy YA fantasy series:book 1book 2

  • Jan
    2019-01-09 04:02

    In the year 2095, the Earth is a parched, blazing hot planet. In order to survive, people are gathered in a few Chosen Cities, surrounded by Bio-Nets to protect and cool them. Power for the cities comes from Pearls -- warm globes of light that fall from space occasionally. Without them, the cities would die, so the search for Pearls is ongoing. Because the Surface Cities are so desperately crowded, political dissidents have established homes in the Skyships -- massive ships in the Earth's stratosphere, and they compete with the Surface dwellers for the Pearls.This story alternates POV between two 15-year-olds -- Jesse Fisher from a Skyship and Cassius Stevenson from the Surface. Each has some unusual abilities, and when they get together, they trigger some unusual reactions.I love the concept of this book. So many good ideas! But even with some extensive explanation, the complicated politics were difficult to follow. The Unified Party, the Separatist Movement, the Hernandez Treaty, the Commonwealth, the International Skyline, the Skyship Academy, the Scarlet Bombings, Fringers, Shippers, and the Chronic Energy Crisis Commission. Since I didn't get the politics, and kept reading anyway, I wonder if some of the explanations of politics could have been simplified or eliminated.Teen post-apocalyptic and sci-fi lovers would enjoy this book.

  • Wendy
    2019-01-14 07:01

    2.5 maybe.Earth is mostly ruined; the few cities left standing on the surface and the skyships in the air depend on mysterious and powerful pearls that fall from the sky. Two boys, Jesse and Cassius, on opposing sides of the political divide, clash over the pearls and eventually find out more is going on than they realize... and that they have a special connection to the pearls.While I liked the idea for this book, it didn't really work so well for me. The story is told in simple language and distractingly shifts perspectives from first person present tense to third person past tense. I never really connected with any of the characters (Jesse's kinda wimpy, Cassius is just angry and violent for no good reason) and honestly didn't see much to distinguish one secondary character from another. Worst of all everything was moved along by external and often random events instead of having the characters make choices that mattered. Definitely action packed and pretty obviously aimed at YA boys. For that audience it may be exciting enough. With all the YA books out there aimed at girls, I suppose it was refreshing to read from a male perspective, but since I'm not in that demographic it wasn't a huge hit with me. I prefer more plot, world-building and character development, even in my YA books. Will probably pass on the rest of the series.

  • Anja Manning
    2019-01-16 06:04

    DO NOT READ THE BACK OF THE BOOK before reading the book! IT IS ONE HUGE SPOILER. I just read it after finishing the book and am very glad I didn't, since it allowed the story to unfold naturally, without anything being given away. That being said, READ THE BOOK! IT'S AMAZING!I got this book from the library because I won its sequel in the First Reads Giveaway, and have made the experience that it's usually a good idea to read number 1 first.This book is amazing. The plot is very well developed, and information is revealed at a good pace. The characters are very interesting and I could not put the book down.The story goes a lot deeper than one might assume at the beginning, and now I cannot wait to read the next volume. Unfortunately it hasn't arrived yet, so it'll have to wait.

  • Veronica
    2019-01-01 01:47

    The Pearl Wars was an amazing book that was filled with action and some romance with a hint of comedy. There were some pieces of the book I felt were dull or slow but the book in a whole made up for it. Even though there were the dull parts, I still found the book entertaining and it kept me on the edge of my seat. I loved how there is a little bit of everything for everyone in the book. A little bit of romance, a lot of action, and a little bit of comedy. The crazy thing about the book is the ending. It is an unexpected and intriguing ending that makes you not want to stop reading and immediately go to the next book in the series. When I first started to read the book I thought I wouldn't like it, but I’m glad I read it.

  • Tam
    2019-01-15 08:08

    I tried to read this on Evan's urging, but couldn't stand the goofy, high-bravado, flat, hipster dialog. Barf. (Later, I was scolded by a knowledgable and trustworthy YA bookseller, who explained that it was *supposed* to be campy -- duh, mom!) Anyway, Evan *loved loved loved* this book. Chewed it right up. Get the impression that it is action-packed, creative, and highly entertaining. He eagerly awaits the sequel, coming out in September. He would give it five stars, I'd give it two. I'm compromising at three since 3.5 isn't an option. . . .

  • Kelly Zsuzsa Németh
    2019-01-03 03:55

    This book a mix of sci-fi and post-apocalyptic. I really like the whole ability thing, it was so fun.I will definitely pick up the next book!

  • Evan
    2018-12-24 07:13

    I read this one for a 40p challenge I didn't think it would be that good, but it was all right.

  • Courtney
    2019-01-15 10:02

    I liked Jesse from the start and disliked Cassius. Cassius's character felt under developed. I like where the story went, though some parts felt quickly tied up. I would be interested to see where it goes in the next book.

  • Ella
    2019-01-14 01:54

    This book is amazing! Definitely need to read!

  • Angel
    2019-01-05 01:47

    The only good part of this book was the ending

  • John Clark
    2019-01-09 08:49

    First rate story that straddles the line between dystopian and sci-fi. Edgy plot and two sequels. What more can one ask for?

  • Daisy Hu
    2019-01-04 01:55

    Pretty good book, boring in the beginning, so I started reading it and finished it like 1.5 months later.

  • Evie
    2018-12-22 09:54

    The first book in the Skyship Academy series is full of breath-taking action, totally unexpected plot twists, intrigue and jaw-dropping surprises! The narrative is addictive and absolutely captivating. It took me merely 5 hours to read this book, and I am NOT a fast reader at all. Nick James' writing style is approachable and easy to digest. I was so absorbed in the story, so eager to find out what will happen next, I didn't even notice the pages turning. I didn't make a conscious effort to start another chapter. It was kind of like being in a trans. It's insane how extremely well written this book is, especially when you take into account the fact that it only took the author 6 months to write it! Nick James is a born writer, he has a talent for words. I am a fan.Rows of shattered windows pass by above me in a blur, faster and faster until I'm mere feet from smashing into the ground. This is it. All I can do is close my eyes and pray. It's year 2095 and nothing is the same as it was before. America has been attacked. No one knows by who or why, no terrorist organization ever claimed responsibility for the bombings. But someone had to pay for that, people demanded revenge and so the American government retaliated, targeting countries and organizations that had been troubling US for a while now. The bombings and the chemicals almost drove the planet to extinctions, raising the temperature dangerously. That's when the Pearls started falling from the sky. Pearl energy helped power the Bio-Nets that protected and cooled the Chosen Cities. Chosen Cities weren't for everyone, though. Those who couldn't afford living in them, or simply didn't agree with the government's policy, were forced to live in the blazing chaos of the Fringes. Skyship Academy was formed as the government opposition, trying to collect Pearls before the Madam's people (the leader of the Unified Party) got to them. A never ending fight for the Pearl energy."Did I ever tell you I served in Operation Blackout?""Several times, sir." In fact, during school lectures he never shuts up about it. The defining moment that turned the tides of the Chinese-American war, he says. Alkaline nods, crossing his arms. "Best day of my life. I guess some of us are just born for battle."I glance at the door. Some of us were born to get out of this room. Jesse Fischer is training to be a Skyship agent. Cassius is Madam's protégé. They are born enemies. When their paths cross one day, something weird happens. An unexpected connection is made between them. Their meeting trigers a chain of dangerous events that no one has been prepared for."You know, you can't keep doing this, acting like a baby when things don't go your way." It's official, I am a total nerd. I went crazy for this book! Some scenes were so deliciously nerdy that I had a goofy smile stuck to my face, earning suspicious glances from my husband. This book is like a perfect cross between Star Wars and like a dozen nerdy TV shows from Space Channel. It's just as addictive as Buffy The Vampire Slayer and just as phenomenally complex as Matrix. It's an EPIC read, one that every YA fantasy/sci fi fan should have on his/her book shelf.The characters were top notch. I'd LOVE to see this book being adapted into a movie (or even better, a TV show!) one day. That would ROCK! I don't see any other option, it's just a perfect movie/TV show material! I loved Jesse and Cassius, they're the opposites of each other and yet they have so much in common! The twists involving these two were just crazy, I didn't see them coming at all, but once they happened I was like: awww.. of course! (=total mental-face-palm moment) I really connected with both of the MCs and had so much fun following their adventures. My only regret is that, unlike Jesse's POV, Cassius' wasn't in the first person. I think that would've been even more awesome. I'd like to get into Cassius' head and see what he thinks! The Pearl Wars turned out to be a really great read. It's one of my favorite 2011 books for sure. I had a lot of fun reading it. Dripping with tension and suspense, this book had me on the edge of my seat. I was impressed by the complexity of the plot. There are layers upon layers of well thought-out and detailed world-building. The intrigue turns out to be so much more than what you'd expect from the back-cover blurb, and you'll be pleasantly surprised at how brilliantly all the plot threads come together in the end. The ending is quite a tease and I can't wait to read the next book in the series. It's definitely one of the most anticipated 2012 releases for me!

  • Emily Ann
    2018-12-25 09:48

    3.3/5.0 review to come :)

  • Adam Ross
    2019-01-12 06:50

    Review: James’ debut novel Skyship Academy is a fast-paced, captivating thrill ride from start to finish. In the aftermath of the American-Chinese war a totalitarian government arose. Dissidents and cessessionists retreated to the great Skyships and a new world balance was created. After war loomed between those on the ground and those in the skyships, the Hernandez Treaty was signed, which drew a line in atmosphere no one was permitted to cross, separating the Skyship world above from the devastated earth and its corrupt Surface government. In this dystopian future the only viable fuel are fist-sized, emerald green pearls of energy which fall from the sky. The only power that can power a Skyship, the Pearls are a heavily sought-after commodity, and both governments are desperate to get their hands on as many as possible. The conflict has lain dormant for years, but both sides admit war is inevitable. Little does anyone know that the first spark that would become the Pearl Wars would be between two teenage boys, the Skyship slacker Jesse Fisher, and Cassius Stevenson, a Surface operative. What happens between them in the presence of a Pearl sets in motion a desperate chase spanning earth and sky as both governments search for the Pearls, and Jesse Fisher, said to be the key to everything.As debut novels go, Skyship Academy is, by most standards, excellent. It flows together nicely and runs at a fast pace throughout like a good thriller ought to. Non-stop action, as clichéd as the phrase is, remains just about the only good description of the book. It is also the only novel, to my knowledge, to combine first-person present-tense for one character (I go over to the fridge and open it. She stares at me curiously as I do so) and third-person past-tense for the other (He went to the door and stepped through it). If it is not the first to try it, it was certainly the first to do so successfully for me; as one generally annoyed by present tense or second-person narratives, this one integrated them both fluidly and in a way that did not disrupt my investment in the story. No easy feat.What is more, while James’ prose generally reaches toward the minimalist end of the spectrum, as is the standard for most thriller-oriented fiction, it is very solid. Especially with regard to Jesse his prose most often transcends functionality, bursting as it is with genuine character voice. His description of Cassius’ explosion on the train and its subsequent derailment in particular stands out to me as an act of narrative wisdom; where most authors would be tempted to wax eloquent with description of screaming people and great, blinding bursts of fire, James’ takes the unexpected route and instead paints for us a picture that steps away from the characters, reporting the event as a newspaper might have done. “At 10:08 p. m., halfway between Portland and Spokane, car number fourteen exploded in a great ball of fire, lighting up the darkness for miles around. … The Unified Party would later blame the accident on a Peal power surge, though the Fringers would somehow convince themselves that they were responsible. Nobody would believe the truth, that a fifteen-year-old boy had taken down the entire Chute carrying more than 500 passengers without so much as a weapon. The country was in dire straits, fore sure, but something like that was just ridiculous,” (229-230). A great narrative choice, that keeps the story fresh.This is not to say that the novel is free of problems. Occasionally a dialogue scene feels a bit forced, and once or twice the prose is too minimalistic or something happens too quickly. Cassius’ infiltration of the Skyship Academy warranted greater expansion, I think. At other times, James’ descriptions and atmosphere hit just the right note, as in the opening confrontation between Jesse and Cassius. While having a fifteen-year-old at a secret training academy aboard a Skyship does not stretch credulity, having a fifteen-year-old be a governmental operative does come close to stretching it. Otherwise, the book is sharply written, and a worthy debut novel. I hear that this is merely book one of a series, and so I await the others with great anticipation.

  • Miranda
    2019-01-17 09:45

    The problem about reviewing something a good five months or so after first reading it is that it's no longer fresh in your memory. And while I liked SKYSHIP ACADEMY, I don't really want to reread it, especially not when I have three new books on the waiting list.But I think how memorable a book is can be a telling factor about its quality, too. After all, I read DIVERGENT and WITHER before SKYSHIP ACADEMY, and I feel like I could still write reviews for either one that did the books justice.So I'm going to review SKYSHIP ACADEMY even though it's been five months. And I'm going to spoil a big reveal from the end of the book, so watch out for that.***As with Wither, what made me pick up SKYSHIP ACADEMY was the cover. I was in a sci-fi mood and those goggles looked wicked cool. The summary on the back sounded really interesting, too, so I bought it after reading only the first few pages.My memory of the plot is hazy, but my memory of the characters is even hazier, except for the two protagonists. But I know I didn't outright hate any character, except for the antagonist, and that was the good kind of hate where I wanted the heroes to win. (Some books make me root for the antagonist, which is never a good sign. *cough*ERAGON*cough*)Of the two main characters, I liked Jesse, but I loved Cassius. I think Cassius was a much more dynamic, flawed character, with a really interesting story arc, and tangible character growth. In fact, my only complaint about Jesse is that Cassius kind of upstaged him a little.The secondary cast, sadly, was not at all memorable. I can hazily recall the antagonist who, while not amazing, was still a decent antagonist. But the secondary cast... well, there was Jesse's girlfriend, who I remember I started off disliking but she became more tolerable eventually. There was Jesse's teacher who came off gruff and militaristic but actually had Jesse's best interests at heart and kept secrets about Jesse for his own good (golly, I haven't seen that dozens of times before). And there were Jesse's two friends, one of whom was OMG A SPY, while the other was basically just kind of... there. Obviously there were more characters than that, but I couldn't tell you much of anything about them.So yeah, nothing all that memorable.I do remember the plot marginally better, but that's likely because it gave me something to complain about. Oh, for the large majority of the book, it was good. Not great, but good. I believed the stakes and felt the tension, and happily immersed myself.And then there were human aliens. Jesse and Cassius weren't just brothers (which was fine, and about what I was expecting), they were alien brothers. Who looked totally human. And the plot-important Pearls were actually alien transports made out of energy, which, when properly unlocked by Jesse and Cassius, let out a human alien, but humans had been using the Pearls as an energy source, so it turned out that hundreds of aliens (or thousands, or more) had been killed and......and I'm sorry but that was just way beyond what I was willing to buy into at that point. For starters, aliens that look 100% human and only differ in that they have ~special powers~ are a huge turn-off for me. I know it's a thing, but... eh. It throws me out of the story because I don't buy it, and this came almost completely out of left field, which I hate even more. I wouldn't say it completely ruined the book for me, but, well...Let's put it this way. I have issues with where DIVERGENT's plot ended up going, but am I going to buy INSURGENT when it comes out? Hell yes. If SKYSHIP ACADEMY gets a sequel, would I buy that? No, probably not.It was a decent read, and relatively enjoyable up until the end. If the human alien thing doesn't put you off, go ahead and give it a look.

  • Christian Galano
    2018-12-26 07:51

    I’ve been waiting to read this book ever since I read the synopsis on Goodreads. The dystopian world seemed very different from the other books I’ve read, especially The Hunger Games and Divergent. I wanted to buy this book, but I had to make sure that the story, characters, and plot were worth the money. After reading the first page online, I thought that the beginning was super slow. I had several doubts. As much as I wanted to, I couldn’t get pass the first page. I had to set aside this book for a while and wait until the right moment comes. Finally, after several weeks, I went to Barnes & Noble and found myself staring at this book for quite some time. I told myself, “If I get past the first chapter, then I’m buying this book.”Five minutes later, I was walking out of the store with excitement on my face, holding the Skyship Academy in my hand. Here's what I thought about the book.1. After reading The Hunger Games and Divergent, I thought that this book was the most structured and most creative out of the three. While reading the book, I could tell that Nick James took his time on creating this magnificent and futuristic world very carefully.The world was very different and new. The government was corrupt and divided. America is now called the Unified Party, divided into 50 Chosen Cities to protect its citizens from chemical substances caused from the war and bombings. Unless you cannot pay the taxes, you are forced to live outside, the Fringes. There were so many things I wanted to know about this dystopian world. It felt like I was actually living in it. I hope that Nick James would reveal more information about the war, bombings, pearls, the sky-ships, and what happened to other nations.2. The plot was very fast-paced and easy to read. I wished Nick James could have toned it down a little, but the approach was fantastic. It would have made the story dull if a different style was used.3. The action, the suspense, the mystery. They were all written in a perfect way. I wished I could create a story in an action-packed, fast-paced way, yet still maintaining the imaginative detail that makes a story real. I salute Nick James for creating, not just a wonderful story, but a very different planet and futuristic Earth.4. The characters felt real from the start. Each of them had their own stories. Nick James did not just put a character in his book as a placeholder. None of them were ever a supporting character. I love it when authors introduce a character from the book, and 5 chapters later, they become an important part in the story. Nick James did not waste time in his own idea. The story seemed organized and very well planned. I hope they’ll be more characters in the next book, then I’ll be wondering what their roles would be while reading the book.5. I really did not expect the ending. It was so different. I thought that Nick James would have delve into another story, but it was also creative indeed. I wanted to know more about the planets outside Earth, the history and creation of Pearls, and the wars that happened years ago before this story started. I can’t wait for the sequel, Crimson Rising! For Nick James, I think this book deserved a 5/5 stars. Knowing that this was his first published book, the story was excellent.