A complimentary copy of this book was provided by Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review, and have not been compensated for this. All opinions are my own.
Series: Starswept #1
Published by Snowy Wings Publishing on August 29th 2017
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 376 pages
Some melodies reach beyond the stars.
In 2157, the Adryil—an advanced race of telepathic humanoids—contacted Earth. A century later, 15-year-old violist Iris Lei considers herself lucky to attend Papilio, a prestigious performing arts school powered by their technology. Born penniless, Iris’s one shot at a better life is to attract an Adryil patron. But only the best get hired, and competition is fierce.
A sudden encounter with an Adryil boy upends her world. Iris longs to learn about him and his faraway realm, but after the authorities arrest him for trespassing, the only evidence she has of his existence is the mysterious alien device he slipped to her.
When she starts hearing his voice in her head, she wonders if her world of backstabbing artists and pressure for perfection is driving her insane. Then, she discovers that her visions of him are real—by way of telepathy—and soon finds herself lost in the kind of impossible love she depicts in her music.
But even as their bond deepens, Iris realizes that he’s hiding something from her—and it’s dangerous. Her quest for answers leads her past her sheltered world to a strange planet lightyears away, where she uncovers secrets about Earth’s alien allies that shatter everything she knows.
Note: Kristin reads and reviews both Christian and secular fiction on A Simply Enchanted Life. Out of respect for my readers, I am including a content review. This content review will help you decide whether this book is suitable for you.
Christian or Secular: Secular. Possibly offensive to some Christian readers
Sex&Violence: Mild Violence and talk of babies born out-of-wedlock
Trigger Warnings: None
I’m going to be honest, I wasn’t sure what to think about this book because I’m not a fan of the cover. But, the synopsis interested me. My daughter is a violinist so the idea of a futuristic school of arts and aliens piqued my interest. I thought it was really cool that the story began in futuristic North Carolina—my home state!
This book reminded me of Divergent in a way. Only, instead of factions based on societal aptitude, students are divided by their Art.
All of this was really cool to me. Although it bothered me that ballerinas were described as birdlike and not at all human.
They’re beautiful on stage, but up close, their birdlike limbs, dainty heads, and lack of body fat make them seem not quite human. I’ve seen an actual alien, and he seemed less strange.
I’m not one to be overly offended by things but this felt fairly condescending and unnecessary to me. I’m not even a dancer but it just felt ugly to me.
I also feel that this book had the same cliched insta-love that seems to plague other Young Adults books. On one hand, insta-love makes me groan. On the other hand, this is a YA book and that seems the norm. And hey, I might swoon over a hot alien too—Maxwell from Roswell, anyone?
On that note, I do appreciate that the author slowed her roll and gave Iris and Dámiul time apart. I think this not only helped them sort out their feelings but it added some substantial depth to their relationship. Although I’m still not buying that a boy would endure what Dámiul had for a girl he met once. But, I’m not an expert in human/alien romance. So, maybe.
I also felt like the mild language was a bit archaic for the year 2157. You’d think they’d have a few new swear words by then.
Having said all that, this book is actually well written. Which really surprised me. Independent publishing is just so hit or miss for me. This one was a hit—much to my relief. I enjoyed the premise. The author did a fantastic job with painting a picture of futuristic North Carolina as well as Dámiul’s home planet. I’m actually rather interested in the rest of the series.