Dove Alight by Karen Bao reminded me an awful lot of The Hunger Games except it was a SPACE Hunger Games, and I liked the main character.
Dove Alight is the third book in the Dove Chronicles (Dove Arising and Dove Exiled books 1 and 2 respectively) and reads well on its own. I was not able to find the first and second books before doing this review, but the author does a good job in providing enough information I was never lost or confused about what was happening, or how events fell into place. It made me curious enough to want to go back and read the first two books, so I could fill in the details, as it were. But this book was quite interesting, and the multiple battle scenes were very well written.
The story takes place on the Moon, and the citizens of the Moon are called the Lunars, while those on Earth are the Earthbound. The main character, Phaet Theta, is a likable young Lunar girl. She is portrayed as someone rather introverted and shy and fighting for a cause because events have forced her hand, and not because she made the decision lightly. While she kills in self-defense to protect herself and the soldiers she leads, she always mourns the loss of life, whether friend or enemy, and I found that an endearing trait. Again, I haven’t read the first two books, but she seemed like someone who had big dreams and ambitions in making her world a kinder place, and a rebellion was not her first choice. I thought she was a normal girl who wanted to dismantle the corrupt Committee in charge of her world’s future and establish a less militant order, but peacefully, not through war. Instead, it felt like she was sort of hustled into the chaos of battle, not because she wanted to, but because choosing the military life was her only sure guarantee of keeping her family safe while helping make that dream of a peaceful world a reality.
I would recommend this book series for readers of Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games trilogy, and Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game series.
This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Viking Books for Young Readers
Profanity/Language: 1 religious exclamation; 1 mild obscenity.
Violence/Gore: There are a few reports of past battles and battle strategizing; characters often engage in military warfare, with loss of life; a character sees a companion die; there are a few extended scenes of a military nature involving combat, violence and battle with some loss of life; a character is held captive; characters clean up the devastation after a battle; a character recalls nearly dying by inhaling poisonous plant fumes; a character is described having PTSD from past tortures; characters are often portrayed fighting in hand-to-hand combat; there are a few battles in space, with explosions and loss of life; characters are hostilely greeted under armed guard; a character is threatened and grabbed by another; a character reports damage done to her by another character; characters are frequently killed in battle scenes; a character often kills people in self-defense; a character shoots and kills a line of soldiers; a character shoots someone in the groin; a grenade is thrown and explodes; characters are often threatened with death; a character deflects laser beams back on her attackers; a character is captured and tortured; a character stabs and kills another; a ship crashes into another ship; characters receive video footage of a military attack, with some description of blood and gore; there is a report of a nuclear attack and subsequent loss of life; a ship explodes in an attack; characters occasionally mention past traumas; characters watch a video montage of all who died in a military attack; characters often battle with guns and knives, with some description of violence; a character slaps another character; surgery is performed on a severely injured character; characters fight to prevent a city being wiped out, in an extended scene involving aircraft combat and hand-to-hand combat, with some description of blood and gore and loss of life; characters blow open the doors to a hangar; characters are almost poisoned by carbon monoxide; in an extended scene, characters are surrounded and mildly injured, threatened with death, and form an unexpected alliance with others who attack and kill their aggressors; a character cuts of a dead man’s hand; weaponized drones are released over a crowd, and people are killed; character is left to die; a character is stung with poison; characters blow up a ship with loss of life assumed; fallout from a war’s aftermath is described.
Sex/Nudity: A characters sometimes recalls a kiss; a character meets her boyfriend after a long separation; characters discuss a broken engagement; characters press their foreheads together and almost kiss; a male and female character sit together with their arms around each other; a character has an emotional reaction when she thinks of someone; two women are described as being together in a relationship; a boy is described as being attracted to another boy; a male and female character lean against each other; characters are said to have once had a thing for each other; a young man is hurt when his love is unrequited from another boy; a woman strokes another woman’s face; a male and female character hug and touch each other; a male character gently touches a female character’s face; a character is described married with a daughter.
Mature Subject Matter:
Death, warfare, military lifestyle, military state, rebellion, PTSD, sexual orientation, torture, revenge, attempted suicide, treachery.
Alcohol / Drug Use:
Characters drink at a festival; people get drunk; characters are described as having celebratory homemade drinks.