4 Star Review & Giveaway for When Planets Fall: YA Sci-Fi with Disability Rep


(Stars Fall Circle #1)
Author: Abby J. Reed
Pub. Date: April 12, 2017
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing
Pages: 420
Formats: Paperback, eBook

On a planet where the only difference between three tribes is their blood color, war is on the horizon. Breaker, an amputee, wants peace for his family and home. Malani, a kidnapped POW, wants to return home. Luka wants justice for his home. All three teens come together when Breaker is given seven days to fix a wrecked enemy starship or their home, and peace, is forfeit..

"In this richly imagined start to a new sci-fi series, Reed brings optimism to the goal of solving entrenched violence in a galaxy far, far away . . . A propulsive, sharply crafted tale about a planetary war." -Kirkus Reviews

Heads Up: Sci-Fi Racism, Rape, Torture, Warmongering, Scientific Experiments, Death, Dismemberment,

  • LOVE the disablity rep! Luka has chronic migraines, Breaker is a leg Amputee with PTSD, and Malani has PTSD as well as extra appendages,
  • The scenes dealing with panic attacks and flashbacks and nightmares were so fucking sweet!!
  • The scenes between Breaker and Melani coping with and talking about their mental and physical issues were my favorite scenes.
  • It takes about sex with a disablity in a non-creepy voyeuristic way that doesn't make it a pity act, but a legitimate attraction, appreciation, and ultimately orgasmic.
  • Breaker and his girlfriend's relationship is adorably bittersweet. Not perfect, not a fairy tale but real growth and understanding like the teens I know would be. This is not an adult relationship but neither is it immature or childish, if that makes senses. (Writing about teens is hard, okay?)
  • The inclusion of characters with physical limitations brings not only diverse representation, but an extra of layer of realism and tension as characters in actions scenes are usually limitless.
  • It's a dreamers escapism where you can actually see real people in it, not some action stars or Mary Sues or whatever, but you, your mother, your neighbors, etc.
  • Includes: lovers to friends, hate to love, enemies to allies, daring escapes, rescues,
  • Technically there's a love triangle, but it's not the annoying, pointless angst-y type. This one is due to the characters authentically progressing as people throughout the plot. It's not about being shady or backstab-y or fighting or extra drama.
  • The warmongering dictator is terrifying to watch in action.
  • While there are three settlements warring with each other, it never felt cluttered or overwhelming to keep track
  • I get the unnerving feeling there is far more going on than we know about this planet and its inhabitants but given the ending, will we ever find out? Is it a convenient cop out or am I just overanalyzing?
  • Some obvious plot points, events, and outcomes, but it wasn't a huge problem. So much else is going on, and it makes sense so I didn't really care until it got towards the end with Breaker's stubbornness about the truth staring him in the face.
  • If the greenbloods and the bluebloods knew this whole time about the secrets Breaker and crew uncover, then why didn't they remind the redbloods of their place? Why let them live? And only 100 or so years?!?
  • THAT ENDING!!! It's one of the most amazing, jaw-dropping and frustrating cliff-hangers I've ever read. I hate it and love it. It completes the whole "Survive this war and/or get off the planet" arc perfectly and opens up SO SO many possibilities of for the sequel. It's the perfect breaking point between books yet OMFGWTFHAPPENSNEXT?!? It does so authentically, like it's the natural progression of the story without the dreaded padding or shrinkage that plague book series.
  • I don't know how I feel about the human compound letting civilians live the outskirts unaware of what's going on and without protection. Something just doesn't sit quite right with me about it, though there's an explanation given.
  • There are no uses of savages or barbarians that I noted or remember, but I wanted to double-check. In the pdf file I have, no instances of savage(s) or barbarian(s) were found. If there are any other offensive or problematic material found by others, I will update my review to include it.
  • Here's the major gripe and cause for unease: there's a problem with the message of what constitutes a home. Yes, Breaker wants to avoid death and a war, but he screams about homes instead of using his head. It has this nasty underlying feeling of "go back where you came from". 
    • If you've lived somewhere for generations (simply fucking moved there, really there shouldn't a generational limitation), its' completely fucking normal for someone to consider it their home and fight for it. I was very frustrated with Breaker being obtuse on this point. You don't technically have to originate from somewhere to be home. 
    • What kind of message does that send to immigrants, migrants, and refugees? The other side is of course it's normal to want to return to your people's roots and that's not betraying your family or ancestors if you go that route or immigrate somewhere else. 
    • So Breaker's not wrong to want to move away, but he's not right with arguing to make other people abandon all that they know and love. I'm not saying this is intended, but it's certainly my impression and feel from what transpired.

Basically: Great sci-fi adventure with a dynamic cast, disablity rep, and the best-worst kind of ending. I really fucking enjoyed this novel and flew through it. Some plot points were obvious and I have some lingering doubts about the settlements. That pales in comparison though about my gut feelings regarding Breaker's message. Close, but not quite an unqualified recommendation.

About Abby:

Abby J. Reed writes young adult science fiction and fantasy novels that ask what if. She has a degree in English Writing and is drawn to characters with physical limitations due to her own neurological disorder called Chronic Migraine. Her debut novel, WHEN PLANETS FALL, will be published in April 2017 by Soul Mate Publishing.

Abby lives in Colorado with her husband and two fluffy pups. If her hands aren’t on the keyboard, they are stained purple and blue with paint.
Website | Facebook | Twitter |Pinterest | Instagram | Tumblr | Goodreads

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  1. Ooh, this sounds good. Thanks for the review!

  2. This sounds amazing! There are not enough sci-fi books out there with disability rep so I'll definitely be checking this one out.


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