“Promises Stronger Than Darkness” (Unstoppable #3) by Charlie Jane Anders (ARC Review)

Anders, Charlie Jane. Promises Stronger Than Darkness. New York: Tor Teen, 2023. 

ISBN-13: 978-1250317506 | $21.99 USD | 368 pages | YA Sci-Fi 


Promises Stronger Than Darkness marks the final installment of the international bestselling author Charlie Jane Anders’s absolutely heart-stopping YA series, Unstoppable.

They’re the galaxy’s most wanted—and our only hope.

When Elza became a space princess, she thought she’d be spending her time at the palace, wearing gorgeous couture and soaking up everything there is to know—but instead, she’s on the run, with everyone hunting for her and her friends.

Rachael followed her best friend Tina on the adventure of a lifetime—but now Tina’s gone, and Rachael’s the only one keeping her friends together, as they go on a desperate quest to save everyone from an ancient curse.

Rachael, Elza and their friends have found one clue, one shining mysterious chance to stop the end of the world. And that takes them back to the second-to-last place they’d want to be: enlisting the aid of Captain Thaoh Argentian, the woman who stole Tina’s body (and who now seems to be relishing a second chance at teenage chaos and drama, instead of living up to her legacy of an intrepid heroic commander).

With only a ragtag band of misfits, crewmates, earthlings, friends, lovers (and one annoying frenemy), the Unstoppable Crew are up against the universe–and they soon find that in order to survive, they may have to cross a line they vowed never to cross.


4 stars

I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley and am voluntarily posting a review. All opinions are my own. 

Promises Stronger Than Darkness brings the Unstoppable trilogy to an epic close, and I appreciate the way it delivered on promises established in the first two books. The tensions couldn’t be higher, what with there being a literal countdown that recurs marking the passage of days until the suns go out. 

And while this does in some ways follow similar beats of the final act of a “teens saving the world” narrative, Anders continues to make the trope and associated archetypes her own. Her major characters are easy to root for as they navigate this situation, and I love the increasing growth of community between the various leads, so it’s not just about one major character or a few outliers against the Big Bad. And with queer romance being a subplot of the series thus far, I really enjoyed the payoff for the Tina/Elza pairing in particular. 

I’ve really enjoyed this series, and I’d recommend it to anyone looking for a queer YA sci-fi/space opera style series. 

Author Bio

Charlie Jane Anders is the author of Victories Greater Than Death, the first book in the young-adult Unstoppable trilogy, along with the short story collection Even Greater Mistakes. Her other books include The City in the Middle of the Night and All the Birds in the Sky. Her fiction and journalism have appeared in The New York TimesThe Washington PostSlateMcSweeney’sMother Jones, the Boston ReviewTor.comTin HouseConjunctionsWired Magazine, and other places. Her TED Talk, “Go Ahead, Dream About the Future” got 700,000 views in its first week. With Annalee Newitz, she co-hosts the podcast Our Opinions Are Correct.


Buy links

Bookshop (affiliate link

Folio Books (signed copies)


Barnes & Noble


Google Play

Apple Books

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