ARC Review – Our Dark Stars

While she sleeps, the whole universe changes.

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Princess Talia Starchaser has it all. Wealth. Status. Adoring citizens. But on the eve of her eighteenth birthday, she’s forced to publicly betray her best friend, a companion mock she’s had since birth, setting events into motion that lead to the destruction of the humans, and the princess floating through space, a remnant of a time when humans ruled over droids. One hundred years later, half-mock captain Will Perrault and his ragtag crew discover a device floating in space. When a very human Talia emerges from its depths, Will suspects she’s the key to buying his way back into the regiment he once commanded against the last remaining rebel humans—and the ruling mock queen’s good graces. Both Talia and Will would rather get space-tossed than trust one another, but with the queen’s forces chasing them across the galaxy and the fate of both worlds hanging in the balance, they’ll forge the unlikeliest of alliances to survive.

This book got my attention immediately. I knew it was going to be one I had to read and would love.

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I am on a roll with Netgalley at the moment. First Furyborn, then Clean and now Our Dark Stars. And even having read them, I’m so, so excited for them to be in the world. And not because I already preordered two of the three (and will add Our Dark Stars to my basket when I next do a book order.)

Because yes, today is the book birthday of Our Dark Stars! How did it come around so quickly? March felt ages away when I first heard about this book in January.

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So having read it, the blurb is a bit misleading. When we meet her Talia is indeed beautiful and wealthy and powerful. She’s also being forced into an arranged marriage, the world is at war and she’s being shoved into a very tight corset.

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It’s not a good start for our protagonist and it only goes downhill from there.

The Starchasers have a long and established dynasty, all the way from when humans first reached out to the stars to escape their dying Earth. Talia is the latest in that line, princess and soon to be Junior Sovereign, next in line to the throne. From here on out, everything will change, including her betrothal to a prince to form an alliance. The war between human and mocks is raging on, as the virus causes the mocks to turn against their masters.

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Talia’s best friend is a mock, made especially for her. Ailat is funny, clever and loyal.  Ailat has been with Talia for years and knows how to cheer her up and comfort her when the princess is on the verge of a panic attack. Ailat was tested, like all other mocks to see if they were faulty and contracted the virus. Ailat passes but Talia notices something strange about her results.

I love Ailat and wish she had been in it a bit more. I love strong female friendships and I adore those two together. Sadly, it was lacking a bit in that department for the rest of the book.

Talia is made to betray her best friend by her dirtbag fiance WHO IS THE ABSOLUTE WORST FOR NOT APPRECIATING AILAT LIKE THE ANGEL SHE IS, HOW DARE YOU. And to make matters worse the alliance goes sour. Talia’s last moments with her family end catastrophically. This was heartbreaking but one of my favourite moments. It’s so well written and while I knew Talia would be separated from them, it was still gutwrenching when it happened. She is put in the pod and drifts off into cryo-sleep, all the while hoping they’re okay and that they’ll be reunited soon.

But they won’t be. Because one hundred years later, her pod is hauled onto a scavenger ship and she wakes up. And boy, what a world she wakes up to.

I truly love the plot of this book and the world. While this doesn’t quite reach the lofty heights of my favourite YA sci-fi series of all time, it’s still a damn good read. You learn how humans came to live amongst the stars and why Talia’s family is so important. It subtly fits in backstory and world building without dumping it all on you.

The mock/human tension can be quite intense at times. The hatred and prejudice rings a bit too close to home occasionally. But the diversity and issues in this book is another thing I love about it and think it’s really well done.

And now I’m going to talk about the thing I didn’t like.

There are two main characters. I’ve only talked about one. I’m not a big fan of Will as you can guess. Yes, he’s not all bad. Yes, he does save and help Talia. Yep, loves his crew, blah blah. But he’s too much of a jerk for my liking. I have a strict No YA Jerks policy. And I’m afraid that a lot of the time his actions made me really, really dislike him.

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But that appears to be an unpopular opinion from what I’ve seen so far. But for this reason, too, I don’t like the romance. Luckily, it doesn’t overpower anything and the whole saving the universe thing comes first but I could do with a whole other love interest, to be honest.


 

Happy book birthday once again and congratulations to Audrey and Crystal for putting such a great book out into the universe. I am definitely getting a hard copy because that cover is gorgeous. I am totally swooning here. Plus I am so on board with all the YA sci-fi in the world. More of it, please!

This book does not get the full five stars (ahem, ahem, Will. You’re ruining it for everybody) but I literally don’t have another bad word to say about it. I’m docking half a point. That’s it. It was too good and I like that past me was right in my prediction of loving it.

I’d love to hear if you want to read this book or if you had and share my thoughts. Especially if you didn’t like Will either. I’m feeling guilty and alone in my opinion here.

 

 

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