Light from Uncommon Stars

Light from Uncommon Stars Ryka Aoki, 2021

Premise: Katrina knows anywhere has to be better than her parents' house. Shizuka must find another prodigy or lose her soul. Lan Tran needs to pretend she doesn't have a spaceship hidden under the family donut shop. Intrigued yet?

So there's a semi-immortal woman with a contract with a demon, a family of intergalactic refugees, and a trans teenage runaway with a talent for music. None of this is hidden from the readers, or even from the other characters, for long. I love that this book doesn't waste time on setting up complex twists for the reader or much in the way of interpersonal angst. There's enough going on with each character without worrying too much about secrets and lies. 

The story is funny and touching, with enough drama and tension to stay interesting, but no real stress. The main characters are extremely interesting, and the book is full of little side stories and characters. 

Honestly, the only reason the book isn't quite a slam dunk for me is that it's a little too easy for some of the time. I appreciate the lack of angst, but it's just a smidge too far the other way for the satisfying moments to be fully satisfying. The characters are always interesting, but there isn't a lot of change or growth for most of them. The heavy parts don't quite hit completely right for me either. 

That said, the writing is lovely, the misunderstandings between Shizuka and Lan hilarious, and the descriptions of music and musicians perfect throughout. I liked the mash-up of fantasy and science fiction, and I found the ending (complete with multiple climaxes) charming and wonderful. 

4 Stars - A Very Good Book


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