First things first, how gorgeous is that cover? Absolutely breathtaking. Now i’ve got that serious comment out of the way, let me get on and tell you how awesome this book was.
This is the book that I wish I had found after finishing my beloved Mortal Instruments series. It’s the only book I’ve read that has filled the void left by my precious Shadowhunters. In fact, Trey and his crew really reminded me of a team of Shadowhunters at times. Even though they’re more military and you know, built like tanks. I’ve not managed to find any young adult reads that have me invested in its world and characters as much as this book has managed to do so quickly. Kricket and Trey might be my new Clary and Jace. Powerful stuff guys.
Under Different Stars is a great example of a young adult read that manages to ace it on romance, be packed to the brim full of action, have a kick ass female protagonist, and all against a vivid science fiction fueled backdrop. I barely even got annoyed with any of the characters, and the only time I could have possibly rolled my eyes was during the typical ‘I’m-really-into-you-but-can’t-possibly-be-straight-and-direct-with-it-because-fate’ moments between Trey and Kricket towards the end. I’m resigned to the fact I’m going to get this in most teen romances. I’m coming to terms with it.
The new world that the author has built, called Ethar (btw, I see what you did there!), was so beautifully crafted and described in such vivid detail that I could picture it with ease and awe in my head. I loved the idea of the different houses or clans being at war, and the fact that physical attributes are how you could tell them apart. Alameeda with their blonde hair and cerulean eyes, Rafe with their dark hair and striking purple eyes. Even the landscapes for each territory seemed specifically designed to fit in with the general aesthetic. All the men are hunky and all the women are stupidly beautiful, obviously, but I still enjoyed this aspect. Also, everything was so much cooler on Ethar. They’ve got an instant mall where you can just digitally scroll through clothes, chose them, and they appear. Check this out – an automatic makeup device that looks like binoculars, you just stick it by your eyes, and boom. I need these things in my life. Someone make it happen.
It I had to complain about anything, I could probably find it in me to moan that there weren’t enough female characters. Having said that, towards then end we are introduced to liaison Aella, which was a nice feminine energy added to the otherwise skewed masculine dynamic. I feel up until this point though the all male cast was partially necessary and on purpose, being surrounded by very ‘manly’ men was a device to distance Kricket further from her unfamiliar surroundings. She’s meant to be sticking out like a sore thumb. Let’s be honest though, I am picking at straws here, it’s still getting 5 stars damn it!
Surprisingly, there was a lot of humour in this book, I found myself actually giggling during some really amusing moments. I greatly enjoyed the use of certain Etharian words, such as ‘nim’ and ‘knob knockers’ for insults, ‘polar’ for sexy. A lot of their dialogue is lost in translation for Kricket at first and this was fun to witness. There’s a lot of banter between Trey and his crew (not so much Trey actually, *much intense, sexy and serious*, he was very much their leader. Or overprotective dad figure), and I was quite fond of the scenes where there’s a team effort and you see their dynamics at work.
Kricket was a solid, likeable, strong female lead. She was always sticking up for herself, didn’t show any regard for what the male character’s thought was correct or appropriate for her. Managing to stay focused, optimistic and poised in most cases despite her being thrown into a completely different world in amongst new people, their strange ways and old-fashioned customs. Full of power, intelligence and ability in her own right. She’s a firecracker. No wonder pretty much all the men in the book are practically falling at her feet.
This book was packed full of action throughout. Giving chase, fight scenes, mystical creatures proving to be problematic… It’s got it all. I liked all the characters, all of them had their own unique personalities and by the end you could tell a character simply from their choice of words in a sentence. I love it when characters have strong autonomy. I’m super excited for the next book, which I can get my hands on next month! All this from a book I just happened upon during a trial of kindle unlimited. Must be fate. I’m pretty stoked at this find.
Thanks for reading!