Saturday, 1 February 2020

Triple Review: The Stars we Steal by Alexa Donne

Three times the value today! We all managed to read this novel, so we have all reviewed it for you.

Faded royalty engage in a courtship ritual. In space.

Leo is the heir to a nearly penniless royal family, living on the generosity of her mother's family. Her only chance to save her family is to marry well. And luckily for her, the five yearly courtship ritual is just beginning. If she's careful, if she's wise, she can save her father and sister.

It's probably partly my fault. I kept thinking this was the Count of Monte Cristo, with Elliot's strange return and sudden wealth. It isn't, but I didn't realise that for a long time, and I was almost disappointed when it turned out to be something quite different. That's not fair to this novel at all, because it's a great read packed with great characters - I love Carina, and Daniel is, pun completely intended, ace - and I enjoyed it. I'd love to read more novels set in this world. I think there's a lot more to be explored in it.

A great read. I'm hoping for more.

Leo, heir to a rundown and almost destroyed spaceship, is depending on either her mechanical mind or an advantageous marriage to save her family.

The backstory is a bit confusing here, but as far as I can tell, Earth went belly up at some point and some of the population escaped on spaceships. Some of their descendants now call themselves royalty, but it's unclear whether they're actual royalty or have just co-opted the title. I'm leaning towards the latter, but I'm really not sure.

It doesn't really matter, because this book is about 35% plot and 65% clothes, jewelry and will-they-won't-they. The plot is excellent, a mix of politics and Leo's attempts to save her family with a new type of water filter she's invented. The froth is at least entertaining. If you enjoyed all the parts of The Selection where America described her clothes, you'll enjoy this.

I've seen claims that Leo is demisexual. I didn't pick that up from the novel. She shows no attraction to anyone, except the guy she was already in love with, but I read that as 'I resent being forced to get married' not 'I'm not attracted to anyone until I know them'. However, that's just me, and maybe another reader will have a different experience.

I enjoyed this read, and I'd love to read more set in the same world.

First of all, let's take a moment to appreciate these amazing covers. I think I like the UK cover just a little more, but the US cover is fantastic...those colours! The swoop of the writing! Beautiful. (The labels showing US and UK look fine on every device I've tested it on, but in case they're not lined up for you, the US is on your left, copper rose, and the UK is on your right, lots of jewels.)

Second of all, this is a great read. The characters are fabulous, the descriptions are great, the story is intriguing without being over the top. I could maybe have done with a couple of less parties and events, but that's all part of the point; Leo hated them, so do we. The froth is delicious and I'm not complaining about the amount of times a character was partially unclothed! I loved Daniel and I want more characters like him in our fiction. 

Boringly, I'm going to agree with my coreviewers. I really hope there's more planned for these characters, because it would be a shame to leave this universe here.

US cover                                  UK cover

Engagement season is in the air. Eighteen-year-old Princess Leonie “Leo” Kolburg, heir to a faded European spaceship, only has one thing on her mind: which lucky bachelor can save her family from financial ruin?

But when Leo’s childhood friend and first love Elliot returns as the captain of a successful whiskey ship, everything changes. Elliot was the one that got away, the boy Leo’s family deemed to be unsuitable for marriage. Now, he’s the biggest catch of the season and he seems determined to make Leo’s life miserable. But old habits die hard, and as Leo navigates the glittering balls of the Valg Season, she finds herself falling for her first love in a game of love, lies, and past regrets.

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