I feel so lucky and grateful to have been sent an early copy of The Sound of Stars. I had seen it in a Ink Yard Press’s stories and I had re-storied it to mine, tagging the author and Ink Yard Press stating how excited I was for this title. And Alechia Dow – the author – was sweet enough to send me a signed ARC. And I’m so ridiculously grateful.
Let me tell you why.
The Sound of Stars is a semi over-the-top YA story about a successful alien invasion of earth, the beauty and power of art (especially books and music) and a fight against the new alien oppressors. Oh yeah, there’s a road trip too! Woohoo! Allow me to get a little more in-depth with a synopsis.
Aliens have taken over Earth with the goal of hitting the reset button on it before we fucked it up (kinda wish that could actually happen) but they are doing it to turn the entire planet into a kick-ass (for all but humans) alien vacay hot spot. They plan on making the planet lush and shelling out the humans so they are habitable ‘suits’ of sorts to chill out in during their stay. That’s the not so great bit.
So the new Earth is a depressing place to be and most of the humans have been wiped out. But there are those who are being kept alive to be the future shells. Janelle, or Ellie, is not only one of these humans, but also one half of our 2 MC’s. Ellie knows that the rules that the Ilori (the alien race) are absolute, and deviation means death. All artistic expression (painting, music, books etc) have been banned and most have been destroyed. But Ellie has no time for that BS as books are her life (same girl, same) so she runs a secret library of sorts for the humans in her apartment block prison.
Life is difficult, but manageable – until one of the Ilori discovers her library. Lucky for Ellie, this particular Ilori is M0Rr1s, or Morris, and he’s the second half of our MC duo. Morris is a lab made Ilori and is thus inherently inferior to the true Ilori. But he’s an anomaly – he’s lonely, he doesn’t like what is going on on Earth and, most shocking of all, he loves music.
Upon finding Ellie’s library, he decides to break Ilori rules and he helps to keep her safe.
What follows is an adventure of trust, connection, love, challenges and danger as Ellie and Morris attempt to quell the Ilori invasion and stop the practical annihilation of humanity.
Books, a road trip, aliens, music and a fight for humanity in a YA book. What’s not to love?!
The Sound of Stars is told through the dual POV’s of Ellie and Morris and both characters are an absolute delight. They bounced off of each other perfectly, every place that Ellie was hard, Morris was soft, where Morris was in the know, Ellie was unsure. They were opposites that had to overcome differences through working together. Both characters were surprisingly easy to root for, but I have to admit that Morris held a special place in my heart and he stole the show for me.
I really liked the entire concept of the Ilori, they are something I’d never really read about before. And the lack of emotion they display, coupled with their hive-mind aspects made the cat-and-mouse aspects of the story really enjoyable. And let’s just say that there’s a certain antagonist that made me want to rip out the page she was on every time she appeared (that’s a good thing by the way!).
Now don’t get me wrong, whilst I loved every single page of this end-of-the-world-or-is-it story, I was left wanting in some places. Mostly I wish the roadtrip had lasted a little longer, and I also wish the romance was less insta-lovey. I wish they’d have had a few more weeks perhaps for both, that way the love and trust could develop over the course of the road trip. But these are only afterthoughts. I was having a hell of a lot of fun reading this that I barely noticed. But ya’ll know me, I nit-pick and I don’t believe in such a thing as ‘a perfect book’.
On top of all of this, The Sound of Stars has a load of representation without ever feeling preachy or tick-boxy. There is POC rep, non-binary rep and a load of LGBT+ rep to name a few.
The ending is perfect in my eyes – it can leave the story as a standalone of open up for a sequel (which yours truly is eagerly hoping for).
When all is said and done, The Sound of Stars is a 5 star read that is all about being reaching across a void (race, species, division etc) to make a connection via art and emotional expression in the face of adversity and oppression. Throw in some high-stakes alien action, a road trip and a bit of romance and you’ve got me sold!
And can we also appreciate two additional things – Alechia Dow is a debut author (way to knock it out of the park!) and can we appreciate that cover! Wow!
The Sound of Stars is a story about the power of art, love and hope and it’s a hell of a lot of fun! I had very high expectations for this book and I’m so happy to say that it surpassed them.
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