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Sarah
Welcome, friend! Relax & rest awhile, if you please. I'm an ordinary girl, a follower of Christ, mama to Gabriel, & wife to Evan. Here in this little space of the online world, I share all manner of bookish things, including full content reviews, writerly snippets, encouragement for everyday life, and a whole collection of names & their meanings.

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Book Review | Our Dark Stars

As you can see, today's post is not my usually writerly/inspirational, er, post.  (This is where one would quote in Snape's voice, "Obviously.")  Actually, this entire week has been an off-week for my blogging... And, as I'm still working on the managing-my-time thing, I did not prepare anything ahead of time... *twiddles thumbs*  But, instead, I have a rather intriguing book review for you.  As it was released only a mere three days ago, I was in a rush to finish reading and now to post the review. 

// Be aware, this review is LONG. \\

I must add also that I had high hopes for this novel.  However, due to some content regarding language, inappropriate gestures, crude "jokes," and a teensy bit of immorality, I can only give it a mid-level rating (as you'll see below), when in all actuality and under other circumstances---again, regarding content---I would have given this a rocking five-star review.

Please read on, regardless!
My reviews are always rather thorough and list the good, the bad, and the ugly for the benefit of other readers and their own moral consciences.  They are, however, my own opinions and I would wish those who pick up this novel and others I've reviewed will come to their own conclusions.  On to the review!


Our Dark Stars
Audrey Grey, Krystal Wade

Blaze Publishing, LLC | March 6, 2018
Sci-Fi, Space Thriller, Dystopian/Futuristic

{GoodReads}
While she sleeps, the whole universe changes.

Princess Talia Starchaser has it all. Wealth. Status. Adoring citizens. But on the eve of her eighteenth birthday, she’s forced to publicly betray her best friend, a companion mock she’s had since birth, setting events into motion that lead to the destruction of the humans, and the princess floating through space, a remnant of a time when humans ruled over droids.

One hundred years later, half-mock captain Will Perrault and his ragtag crew discover a device floating in space. When a very human Talia emerges from its depths, Will suspects she’s the key to buying his way back into the regiment he once commanded against the last remaining rebel humans—and the ruling mock queen’s good graces.

Both Talia and Will would rather get space-tossed than trust one another, but with the queen’s forces chasing them across the galaxy and the fate of both worlds hanging in the balance, they’ll forge the unlikeliest of alliances to survive.


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WARNING: Possible Spoilers
I received an ARC copy from the authors in exchange for my honest review.

{The Basics}
This is a Sci-Fi/Space Thriller/Galactic Romance/Almost Faerietale.  I was hooked from the first!  This novel has an amazing storyline and plot, the characters are each their own, and it's set in 3731 AD. . . in SPACE---so, yeah, I wanted to devour ALL the pages.  

I mentioned among the list of genres that this is an "Almost Faerietale," and I say that because it kinda reminded me of a Sleeping Beauty retelling, with the obvious exception this princess must save the worlds (yes, plural) in basically the entire galactic universe.  Many details lead up to her one-hundred-year sleep, but she does, and eventually has a rather rude awakening.  It's not until later she learns just how much time had passed, and the whole time I was reacting like, "AHH! She needs to KNOW!! NOOOOOOWWWW"  It happens, of course, and there is great sorrow for those she lost, but she has much bigger problems to face.  Her world has literally FLIPPED.

In the reign of the Starchasers, humans ruled over their synthetic counterparts---android-like robots called mocks.  Mocks served humankind until a virus corrupted their programs, causing a rebellion and an evolution of the mocks into creations with minds of their own.  One hundred years later, humans are now enslaved by the very mocks they created, and the world pretty much needs saving.

{Positives}
While Talia may not like or agree with her grandmother's cruel, harsh ways, her father's aloofness and all-too-busy schedule as the ruling Sovereign, her mother's coldness, or her little brother's irritating personality, it is quite obvious she loves them dearly.

Will, demoted captain of the Odysseus with a dark/painful past, tolerates his grumbling crew's arguments and criminal leanings, it is clear he cares for them clearly. 

{Negatives}
A male mock kisses another male mock right smack on the lips (supposedly in greeting, but it could be implied they have "history". . .).  *GAGS*  This was a HUGE loss of rating for me.  Even something that seems so small, is just so wrong---but I will not go into that can o' worms today.

An escort is a fancy name for prostitutes---both mock and human.  At one point, we enter the scene of a strip club. . . No details, turns out to be a meeting place.

A character makes an inappropriate gesture with the middle finger---at least TWICE.  Some characters like to gamble.

More negatives in the Language//Drugs section.

{Spiritual Content}
This is a secular novel.  There is no mention of a Higher Being or Creator.  A phrase is used, "thank the gods" at least once.  Jesus' name is misused also once.  God's name is used in vain multiple times.

{Violence}
Space battles are a given in this book.  Needless to say, there's a rather high body count.  Ships spew bullets at others, attempt daring maneuvers to evade blowing up themselves, and one in particular is used as a giant battering ram (causing much death and explosions).  A man kicks another in the groin, claiming he's a coward and that he "never used 'those' anyway."  A mock woman is out-maneuvered in a battle and crashes to her death.  A giant cruisership is ambushed.  People are killed by either blasters or lack of oxygen as the ship's engines and utilities fail.  We see many bodies, blood, and destruction.

A marriage is arranged to secure an alliance between two worlds due to the need for resources.  The prince shows himself to be openly cruel and abusive.

A man is goaded into showing his loyalty to the mocks by hitting a human bartender.  He is reluctant at first, but ends up taking his pent-up anger out on the poor man, literally beating him to a pulp and splattering the man's blood everywhere.

A girl is attacked by Hunters, giant androids built to instill---and carry out---fear.  They're sidekicks are these weird spider-dogs and flying spotter-drones.  The spider-dogs sniff out their prey and attempt to decapitate it.  The Hunters and their "dogs" bring down a small spacecraft into a lake, nearly drowning the girl.  (SPOILER: she lives!)  

A character loses part of a limb in a big battle.  He's a mock, but evidently even mocks can bleed out.  Their blood is black, and they are comprised of metal and wires.  He's tortured, and nearly executed by "corruption"---where something like a virus would've been uploaded into his system that literally fry his circuits (a slow, painful death).

{Language//Drugs & Alcohol}
MULTIPLE uses of "s---," "a--" and "a-holes," "h---," "p---" and "p---ed," "d---ed," "bastard," and "b----."  Phrases like "to h--- with it" and "what the h---" and so on are present.  Extremely crude language and inappropriate jokes.

Bar scenes are frequented.  Whiskey, champagne, liquor, alcohol, etc. etc. is pretty constant.  Characters get drunk.  

{Lovey Content}
Crewman Leo is known for his "love" of women.  He's described as an unbelievably beautiful man, er, mock.  (I imagined him with the look of a chisel-faced, blond surfer dude.)  

After two characters nearly drown, girl and guy, they attempt to warm their literally freezing bodies by the engine of their ship.  But obviously, they just have to take off their wet clothes (down to basically nothing, save for goose-bump flesh and unmentionables that cling to particular---um---places) in front of each other.  Nothing happens, but both notice a personal attraction for the other.  Much later in the story, they embrace (or rather she jumps into his arms and wraps her legs around him) and share a tender kiss.

{Conclusion}
Overall, I would say I most certainly enjoyed this story and would love to recommend it to all my peeps.  BUT, I cannot do so in good conscience.  I love a good, thrilling tale as much as the next person, but does the addition of a wide range of language and inappropriate and crude behavior (in detail) really add anything to a story?  

I did not give away much regarding the plot and twists in the novel itself, but I feel I did mention what was necessary and what I would want to be aware of should I pick up a book I'm interested in and unfamiliar with.  All's I can say is, read it for yourself!  But only if you can look past the unnecessaries and enjoy the tale.  To me, language and immorality and inappropriate behavior in a novel that I have high hopes in just leaves me with a bad taste.  

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18+
NOTE:  Regarding the content, this would have been a mere two-star review because I was so shocked by the content in what I would have considered a YA novel.  But, because I liked the story so much, I give it a modest 3.5.

If you made it this far, thanks.  I very much dislike giving such promising books a harsh review, but in my mind it was necessary.  I just hope you don't get me wrong and quote me as saying "she hated that book!"  That is outrageously untrue!  It would've made the top five of my favorite 2018 reads had it not been for the content.

Happy weekend, y'all!
Got any Sci-Fi novels you could recommend me??

Comments

  1. That is so SAD this has so much content! Because it really does sound like an amaaaazing book! A Sleeping Beauty retelling IN SPACE? Um. YES PLEASE!!! But with all that STUFF, I don't think I really want to pick it up. SUCH A SHAME. D':

    I get furious with secular books. Every. single. time. I decide to venture out into the secular YA book world, I end up regretting it. Can we not have SOME mainstream novels without crude content??? Ugh. Sorry, it's a huge pet peeve of mine. XD

    Thank you for giving us the details. I LOVE your reviews. They're so helpful!

    ReplyDelete
  2. UGHHH

    Another trashy YA book. Like Christine, that is a huge pet peeve of mine. The premise does sound interesting, it's such a pity that there is so much content in it.

    Great review, Sarah! Keep it up!

    Catherine
    catherinesrebellingmuse.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks for another detailed review, they are helpful in deciding what makes it into the ever burgeoning TBR lists. I tend not to be selective enough, so I always appreciate your candor & discernment. :)

    Risa

    (P. S. I am not only now reading your posts, all appearances to the contrary. You know me, I'm just terribly slow to comment. Xp)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Christine: I KNOW. TT_TT Otherwise, it would've been AMAZING in my eyes! All the content is so UNNECESSARY and completely distracting to the story. Thanks, girlie! When I discover new books, I would kinda wanna know more details (especially if it's secular) before I invest my time and/or moolah into it.

    Catherine: Thanks, girl! I know what you mean. If you've not already guessed, it's a pet peeve of mine as well. But it's good to know there ARE some good novels and series out there without all of the trash. And perhaps someday, we ourselves can contribute to the bookshelves?? ;D

    Nightingale: It's my absolute pleasure! I try to be pretty selective in books I find, especially random ones I've never heard of, or with new authors. It's always a treasure to find the AMAZING ones. But I very much dislike reading those that just leave you with a nasty taste in the mouth and mind, ya know? (And I completely understand! No worries! I was actually behind in my comment replies to everyone, so yours helped to remind me. :])

    ReplyDelete

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To each is given a bag of tools,
A shapeless mass, and a book of rules,
And each must make, ere life is flown,
A stumbling block or a stepping stone.
-Anonymous-

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