Top critical review
it was an easy and quick to read
Reviewed in the United States on March 12, 2018
<i>All included quotes have been taken from an ARC and may not match the finished publication. I received a copy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!</i>
”Never forget that, Talia. You are a Starchaser, descendant of the first explorers.”
I almost DNF’d this read at a little under halfway through. I decided to stick with it because the plot became more complicated right at the moments I thought I was going to call it quits. While certain traits were intriguing, in the end, the book was too predictable and lacked the individuality I was hoping for.
Our Dark Stars is set in outer space, in various settings. It varies between onboard spaceships, and travels from planet to planet, following in the wake of the characters. The story jumps between 3731 AD and 3631 AD, then remains in 3731 for the remainder of the book.
Society is comprised of a mixture of humans and droids–the droids having different variations within their category (i.e. Ender, Permanent) signifying their ability to jump from one body to another, essentially living forever. Everything is very scientifically inclined, as no religions are identified.
Pacing & Readability
The pacing remains steady and rather fast. The only instances it lulled was when Talia first awoke on the Odysseus. Otherwise, it was an easy and quick to read.
Point-Of-View & Characters
The point-of-view not only shifts between Will and Talia’s characters, it also shifts between past and present time frames. Will Perrault is one of the main characters but starts out as an antagonist to Talia. With the relations between Fleshers and Mocks being strained for years, the two don’t know what to think of one another until the truth is uncovered.
”But don’t forget what your kind did. When I found you tossed into the mines like a piece of trash, skull split open, you were half-dead. That’s what the fleshers did to you. They’re savage, cruel beasts. It was us who took you in, who made you one of our own to save your life.”
Will’s character holds the most complexity, as his human and droid counterparts are constantly warring against one another. This aspect comes out more and more as the plot moves on, and he begins to develop feelings for Talia. He constantly tries to deny his human origins and emotions, trying to prove that he is a Mock. It is through Will that his rag-tag diverse crew of scavengers, including Lux, Leo, Jane, and Dorian are introduced.
Talia Starchaser grew up in a life of privilege. The next in line to the Starchaser dynasty, the princess is made into a makeshift scape-goat for the Starchaser family to patch up their reputation with the rest of the royals. Her abusive grandmother makes Talia’s position very clear and is part of the reason why Talia decides to betray her best friend, even though she doesn’t want to. Talia’s character acts privileged, and this is clear when she meets Will and his crew. It is a trait that makes her rather unlikeable, as she comes across as snobby.
Diversity plays a large role in the casting specifically in race and sexual orientation. In general, the plot rotates around the idea of station-reversal between the Fleshers and Mocks, ultimately driving them to work with one another in the end.
⇒ “What goes around comes back around.”
This was the aspect of this book that I disliked the most. The way this book ended was so disappointing. I was hoping for the moment for reconciliation between Ailat and Talia, but it never happens. Ailat’s character becomes unredeemable, which I don’t think is a great message to enlist. Yes, Talia did Ailat wrong. In turn, Ailat did Talia wrong as well by killing the rest of her family. Talia still went through lengths to find Ailat after the incident at the gathering. While what happened to Ailat after she became a fugitive was tragic, she never gave Talia the chance to explain her side. Both parties were are fault here. Yet, neither of them fully humbled themselves before the other in order to understand and forgive, resulting in this “payback” mentality (mostly seen from Ailat’s character.) It made the ending feel incomplete and somewhat unjust for me. I get that this is Sci-Fi, and disagreements are often settled by battles, but I hoped for more from these characters.
Things that I liked:
⇒ The layout of the book, and how it alternated point-of-views between Talia and Will in the different eras.
⇒ While the romance between Will and Talia is obvious (immediately when he says that Talia isn’t his “type” I knew they’d end up together), it managed to be realistic and not over-the-top. It didn’t take away from the main focus of the plot and helped to give further incentive to the characters’ decisions.
⇒ Will’s character overall, mainly with how he is both a Mock and a Flesher.
Things that I didn’t like:
⇒ This book felt like any other Young Adult Sci-Fi. There wasn’t anything that set it apart.
⇒ The brashness of some of the characters, and the overall sexually-charged interactions. Personally, this aspect made this another reason why this may be a read more appropriate for the New Adult genre.
⇒ The “what goes around comes back around” mentality. Payback over reconciliation.
Overall, Our Dark Stars didn’t really impress me. While there were some elements that I enjoyed, there was nothing that made it distinguishable from its genre. It felt like a mix of Heart of Iron with a dash of The Hunger Games towards the end.
Vulgarity: Moderate. I counted 50 words total.
Sexual content: While there’s nothing explicit, some characters were crude with making sexual remarks. There’s also a scene in a strip club, and mention of brothels and escorts.
My Rating: ★★