Title: Clouds & Earth
Author: Sayde Scarlett
Page Count: 242
I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in return for an honest review. This in no way influences my opinion.
This review may contain some spoilers!
It’s 150 years into the future and the great Long War has changed everything. Lieutenant First Class Sandy Attiyeh is either a celebrated war hero or has committed war crimes, depending on what you believe. This was not the kind of world she thought she would come home to after fighting in such a brutal war. When caught up in a corrupt CEO’s twisted plan, Sandy must find a way to salvage the peace she sacrificed everything for.
Clouds & Earth is the first installment in a trilogy and after reading it I could have figured that out on my own without being told. The story ends with lots of unanswered questions and a little bit of confusion. And I guess that’s to be expected from a series that wants to leave you on a cliffhanger so that you will go out and get the second and third installments. Unfortunately, I can’t say that I’m excited or even want to read anymore of this story.
The main character Sandy was very difficult to like. She has a lot going on after being the poster girl for the Long War and with her love interest laying in a hospital on life support I can see why she has some issues. But I can’t understand her reasons for deciding to help Lyndon Hamilton, the CEO of Hamilton InfoSec. She was bored? That’s it? That justifies that she participated and helped in illegal activities? Maybe there’s more to why she did that in books 2 and 3 but even in a trilogy, I think the first book should stand by itself pretty well without me questioning every single thing. I didn’t really know or maybe I just didn’t understand what was going through Sandy’s mind through the entire book. The synopsis tells us that she’s either a war hero or she committed war crimes. The entire time I thought that she was a war hero but by the end of the book, I’m lead to believe that she may have committed war crimes and I really don’t know or care because I can’t understand her as a character.
There’s multiple stories going on in the chapters. We see obviously what Sandy is doing but we also have a story with cadets Massi and Natalia who are in training at the Academy. I could care less about these two. Massi really likes Natalia and Natalia might like him as well but she wants to wait before starting any kind of relationship. But I don’t even remember being told why she didn’t want to start a relationship. Maybe that detail slipped my mind but I think the way she treats Massi is terrible. She leads him on and there are no consequences for her actions in this book. Also, she’s a little bit sketchy. It was only at the end of book when Massi was going through his Combi, which is a test, that I really found myself enjoying. But alas, it was only for 2 chapters that I actually found myself getting excited for the story. After Massi’s Combi, when he’s about to receive his score, he makes the remark that he’s still not sure whether he passed or failed. I found myself saying, ‘what!?’ because just a page before, after his Combi was finished, Colonel Mathers hugged him and told him he was proud of him. How could Massi not know that he had passed?
Clouds & Earth just wasn’t the book for me. I didn’t like how the story kept jumping from one scene to completely something different within the same chapter. I also hated going back in time sporadically through the story. It just didn’t seem to flow and didn’t feel organic to me. I didn’t have any issues with the writing itself, I think it was well done for a debut author but I think the story as whole should be better told according to its timeline.