Review: The Pearl Wars by Nick James

July 10, 2013 4 stars, Book Review 14 ★★★★

Pabkins’ One Liner: What is a pearl?

The Pearl Wars

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 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.


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 of a YA book I’ve ever read!

This is box title
“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 stengths 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.

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!


The Pearl Wars

Find: AmazonGoodreads
Follow: Website | Twitter


This is box title

• Purchased! All opinions expressed are my own. Please note that this post also contains affiliate links. To view our full Blog Policy, click here.

Stalk me!

Tabitha (Pabkins)

When I'm in the zone I can flip book pages faster than the eye can see - screaming "More Input!" I'm a book, yarn, & art supply hoarding goblin who loves to draw, make toys and craft all sorts of creepy cute things. My current habit is to listen to audio books while I'm arting it up!
Stalk me!

Latest posts by Tabitha (Pabkins) (see all)

14 Responses to “Review: The Pearl Wars by Nick James”

    • Tabitha the Pabkins

      Thanks! I read this when it first came out and realized my review had never gone up on MSC so I edited and posted it since I just grabbed book 2 from the library when I noticed the third was up on NG. I hope I still enjoy the second one!!

  1. Donna

    That is a great first sentence! This sounds like post apocalyptic with a bit of steampunk which initially had me deciding to pass on it until I continued reading your review and got to the part where you said that it was light on romance, has great supporting characters, and a surprise twist. Now I think I might want to read it.
    Donna recently posted…Audiobook Review: Attica by Gary KilworthMy Profile

  2. Cali W.

    Great review! Another great book to add to the dystopian TBR pile. 😉