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'Flame' by Amy Kathleen Ryan: The last in the "Sky Chasers" series

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Flame by Amy Kathleen Ryan

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"Flame" is the last book in the "Star Chasers" trilogy by Amy Kathleen Ryan. With her trilogy about ships journeying to a new planet because of the demise of Earth, she is following in the footsteps of Beth Revis, who wrote the "Across the Universe" trilogy; the third book in that series came out a year ago.

The "Star Chasers" trilogy features two ships. One ship, the New Horizon, is made up of people who are quite religious. Their leader is their pastor, a woman named Anne Mather, who is shown in the second book, Glow, to be evil. The Empyrean, the other ship, from which the protagonists Waverly and Kieran hail, is run on democratic principles, more or less.

Unlike other space travel young adult books, Ryan delves into the subject of religion and the power its leaders wield. Anne Mather, the leader and pastor of the New Horizon, is the spiritual leader, but she is not a peaceful leader and the reader will find her constantly wheeling and dealing to retain her power.

The New Horizon attacks the Empyrean and kidnaps the young children, killing many of the adults in the process. Kieran becomes the leader of the Empyrean and uses faith to try to bring the young residents together. He makes many mistakes while running the ship.

In the meantime, Waverly manages to return after being kidnapped, to find that Kieran now reminds her of the evil Anne Mather.

In the beginning of "Flame," the Empyrean has been attacked and practically destroyed. Almost all of the children have been moved to the New Horizon. However, there are a few who have not docilely followed Anne Mather's dictates, and things are not all that she would like on the New Horizon.

This last book has plenty of intrigue, politics and action, but it somehow lacks a bit of the energy and emotion that is ever-present in the first two books. Readers who read the first two books have been anxiously awaiting publication of this book and will enjoy getting closure to the story. Everything wraps up nicely, and there is an unexpected piece to the ending.

Please note: This review is based on the advance review copy provided by the publisher, St. Martin's Griffin, for review purposes.

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