And All the Stars
Monday, February 4, 2013
And All the Stars
Andrea K. Host, 2012
Premise: Maddie wasn’t where she’d told her parents she was going, instead she was on her way to meet her cousin, to work on the painting that she hoped would win her an important scholarship. Then there was an explosion, and afterward, everything would change.
The premise is strong: aliens invade, but in a different way than I’ve ever seen, affecting people in various ways and quickly threatening to take over. Maddie and a growing collection of new friends first have to survive and then figure out whether they can fight back.
I really liked Maddie’s perspective throughout. She’s a little shy and awkward, and she has a particular way of looking at things which is filtered through her artistic abilities. This can make her seem cold and distant, and she’s surprised how quickly things change for her after the initial catastrophe, in terms of connecting with others.
There were a few plot twists that I really didn’t see coming, and they were basically amazing. The exploration of the post-disaster groups and the mechanics of the aliens were fascinating as well. I loved the presence of the internet, and how people used it to spread knowledge and rumor worldwide as the situation changed.
There’s a romance, and it’s important, but very well handled, with realism and depth. I would stick this book more firmly in YA than some of this author’s other work, but I’d stick it on the top of any list of “recommended YA Science Fiction”.
My only real quibble is that I didn’t like the epilogue. I found it tedious and unnecessary, personally.
Spoiler-y comment regarding both this and the Touchstone series: I actually really enjoyed Gratuitous Epilogue, on the other hand. I had spent so long with those characters already that the description of growth and happiness felt earned. With this story, I didn’t need that, and the pat happily-ever-after wasn’t satisfying for me, but rather undermined the uncertainty and hope of the closing chapter which preceded it. Other reviewers have said that they liked it, though, so it’s a personal opinion.
A strong plot with a varied cast from a great storyteller. What’s not to like?
4 Stars - A Very Good Book