he believes N’Terra should be run, and he’s influencing others to follow him. When Octavia witnesses one of the Faloii—the indigenous people of Faloiv—attacked in front of her in the dark of night, she knows the Council is hiding something. They are living in separate worlds on a shared planet, and their fragile peace may soon turn into an all-out war.
With the help of Rondo, a quiet boy in class with a skill for hacking, and her inquisitive best friend, Alma, Octavia is set on a collision course to discover the secrets behind the history she’s been taught, the science she’s lived by, and the truth about her family.
My Rating: ★★★☆☆
When I received this book in the January Uppercase Box, I was thrilled. The dust jacket promised strong STEM girls (which whom I can closely identify with my love of math), alien planet zoology, secrets, and even some romance; I was hooked. I was a little disappointed when I got further into this book and found myself liking it less and less. Don’t get me wrong—I enjoyed it. My expectations for the book as a whole were a lot higher than what the book ended up being.
The story started off wonderfully. Olivia Cole has a talent for world-building that most authors could only dream of having. With some books, I find myself skimming through the world descriptions (don’t look at me like that—you and I both know we all do it), but with this book, it was an entirely different story. I got excited whenever I saw an enormous chunk of text because I knew that I was going to find out more about the planet, Faloiv, and its people and animals.
Octavia, our main character/narrator, was the perfect protagonist. She is one of the only characters I’ve ever read about who has wanted to be a scientist and made school her priority. School and grades are important in my life, so to see that reflected in a heroine, (a heroine of color, no less) is marvelous. I am all for relatable characters; it adds a personal connection to a story that I otherwise wouldn’t have.
And now for the bad. One of the biggest things that stuck out to me in this book was the pace of it. The beginning portion of setting up the world took up a good part of the first third of the book. I felt like it took forever for the actual conflict and plot of the story to set up. Consequently, at the end of the book, the climax and resolution of the story were crammed into only a handful of pages, when there could’ve been more room to explain what had happened and what Octavia was thinking in the situation.
I also felt like there were a lot of subplots and side conflicts that ended up getting cast aside as the central focus shifted towards the main conflict. This book is the start of its series, so maybe Cole plans to pick them back up in the second book, but to me, they blurred the focus and provided unnecessary information. Once I finished the novel and was reflecting on the story, I realized how many questions I had about these different subplots I had that went unanswered. Hopefully, we get some answers in the next book.
Have you read A Conspiracy of Stars? Are you planning to? Let me know your thoughts in the comments, and also any book recommendations you might have for me.
Your STEM girl,
Fear makes people stupid.
― Olivia A. Cole, A Conspiracy of Stars
Ashton is a high school girl with a passion for books. She also participates in other activities such as sports and musical groups.
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