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Posted April 5, 2013
Posted February 21, 2013
Initial Impression: Whenever I read the description on NetGalley, I was hesitant to request it. I wasn't sure if I was up for reading a sci-fi book. Eventually, I decided to request the book because I wanted to learn more about Madeleine and her cousin.
Overall Review: I'm really glad I requested and received this book. I ended up liking it a lot more than I thought I would. It was definitely different than anything I've read lately or at all, for that matter.
The characters were real and relatable. The story was interesting. I definitely recommend reading this book.
What I Liked Most: I liked that Höst kept the story to a single book. It's becoming more and more rare for an author to wrap up a story in one book instead of dragging it out. That being said, if a sequel were to come out, I wouldn't be opposed to reading it.
What I Liked Least: The ending of the story was a little abrupt to me, but it wasn't enough to completely throw me off. And I really appreciate Höst adding the epilogue to polish off the story.
Posted February 10, 2013
Confession: When I see the words "alien" and "invasion" at the same time in the description of a book, movie, t.v. show, whatever, I automatically picture some campy 1950s horror flick and assume I won't like it. (Which is just ridiculous considering how much science fiction, aliens included, I actually like!) But, BUT...do you see this cover? And Andrea Höst is an Australian YA author (which basically means it has to be good, right?) I am so glad that I decided to take a chance on And All the Stars.
Höst completely took me by surprise with this one. And All the Stars has that rare combination of being action packed while still having incredibly developed characters. The plot was exciting and engrossing, but the story was still just as much character driven as it was plot driven. The way the different relationships between the characters developed, or were revealed, made me feel like I was one of the group. Höst's world is an entirely fresh take on so many ideas in science fiction. She throws some serious curve balls in the plot, and I completely didn't see them coming! I wish I could say more about it, but much of the pleasure in reading And All the Stars is in the unexpected. I would hate to spoil the reading experience for someone else.
I also really liked the diversity found in Höst's characters -- it felt effortless and natural, a pleasant change from much of what I have recently read! If I had one complaint, it is that the ending was tied up just a little too neatly, and felt much less authentic to the characters than the rest of the book. The "where are they now" vibe was a little too removed from the characters with whom we had become so intimately acquainted.
Posted December 17, 2012
In a unique twist of a non-dystopic apocalyptic story, Andrea Host has created a series of characters that will grab your heart and imagination and thrust you into the midst of the action. Although this is very much an ensemble cast, one of the favorite characters for me was Madeline: smart, capable and beautifully flawed, with a core of strength and goodness that enhance the woman she will become. The other characters that she befriends along the way are all uniquely defined, described and voiced: what develops is a truly diverse cast of characters who all understand the value of friendship, cooperation and above all safety and comfort in numbers.
With several mysteries surrounding the characters, there are several twists that reveal the skill with which the author has led the reader to the dissolution of the relationships that all make sense once the backstory is revealed. Although there are some active moments, the majority of the pacing and adventure from this book all derive from the multi-cultural and diverse characters and you will find yourself without a singular clear character to declare a stand out favorite.
Emotionally impactful without being overly angst ridden, this is a book that will be enjoyed by many.
I received an eBook copy from the author via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review, and all conclusions are my own responsibility.
Posted December 7, 2012
(I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Andrea K Höst and Netgalley.)
Madeline wakes to find herself trapped in an underground train station. There seems to have been an explosion of some kind, and everything is covered in dust.
Managing to escape, and trying not to look at the dead bodies surrounding her, Madeline escapes by following the tunnels to the next station. This is not a simple bomb though, instead a huge black spike rises above Sydney.
Making her way to her cousin’s apartment, Madeline washes then turns on the news. Similar spires have also turned up in large cities all around the world, and with them this odd dust. Exposure to the dust seems to result in odd blue or green discolouration of the skin, and raging hunger, which Madeline realises she has.
Most people seem to be dying from the dust, but Madeline survives. She’s very blue though. Apart from her neck and most of her face, she is a deep velvet blue with tiny twinkling stars.
Venturing outside the apartment in search of food, Madeline meets another girl called Noi who has also survived, and is also somewhat blue.
Together, Madeline and Noi set about carrying on after this strange apocalyptic type event, helping those people that are still alive, and trying to figure out what to do next.
Unfortunately the instigators of this whole mess then turn up – some sort of aliens who want to collect the people that have turned blue, and use them in a body-snatcher type of way.
Can Madeline and her new-found friends avoid the Aliens for long enough to survive? What exactly do the aliens want anyway? And how long until this nightmare is over?
I was totally in two minds about this book, because there were parts that I really liked, and parts that were just okay. I liked the idea of everyone turning blue with stars. I had never come across something like that before, and found the idea interesting.
The biggest problem I found with this book is that I would read something, and think ‘I’m supposed to know about this already?’, so then I would go back a bit, and read through again to see if I missed something, but not be able to find it. This happened to me a few times, and it started to annoy me. I really hate when a story suddenly starts talking about something as if you’re supposed to know about it already, when you have absolutely no chance of knowing it already because they haven’t told you. I did wonder if this was just me not paying enough attention or something, but the more it happened, the more I decided it wasn’t.
As I said, some parts I liked – I have been loving dystopians this year, but then other parts I just found a bit boring, and that’s how the book progressed. It was a bit like one of those ‘sine’ curves you get in maths – up, down, up, down etc. and that was half the problem, because some of the ups were brilliant, and some of the downs were just bad. At 47% I couldn’t drag myself away from it, then at 87% I was having serious trouble convincing myself to finish, which with only 13% left, shouldn’t really have been an issue. I’m sure you’ve all read books like this and know how annoying they are.
I have to say that I wasn’t expecting the sex scene. The book was very PG up until then, and the couple in question had only really kissed once previously, (and it was the girls first kiss), and then suddenly the prophylactics are coming out! Nothing really wrong with this; it was just a little unexpected! (Oh, and I didn’t need to know if their private bits had turned blue either – as interesting an idea as this was – ick! Too Much Information.)
Another moan (sorry about this), but this book is long. It says on amazon and goodreads – 204 pages. NO WAY! On my kindle fire, smallest font size, it is easily double that, and believe me, when you’re going through those low points, it feels long.
I also have to say that this was the first post-apocalyptic type book that I have read where there are no problems with modern technology. Not only did the people in this story continue to have hot and cold running water, electricity, heating etc, they still had the internet, television, and even twitter, which put a bit of a different spin on things. How bad can things be if you still have the internet?
So where does that leave me – again in two minds. At 47% I would have said 4 stars, at 87% I just wanted it to be over! So confusing. This book has loads of original ideas, I mean literally heaps of originality, and it is well-written. At times I really didn’t want to put this down it was so engaging, and I really liked the fact that the characters weren’t all Caucasian, and that this book was set in Sydney. If it wasn’t for the slow parts this would have definitely been an 8 out of 10 for me, but I just can’t overlook those low points.
6 out of 10.
Posted November 30, 2012
I loved Madeleine and her friends! I am so glad I took a chance on reading this. I am a little leery of self-published books, not that a traditionally published book is guaranteed to be good, but at least it goes through a few more stages than self-published books might...
No worries, here though. This is a well-written (i.e. good grammar! lovely, clear sentences!), interesting story, that kept me up nice and late when I should have been sleeping. Um, yeah, like now, when I'm writing this review and ought to be in bed...
I'm going to avoid writing too much, so I don't inadvertently spoil anything. The story is unusual, and deserves to be discovered as you read, not in a spoiler.
One small quibble is that the cast was overly large for me: I had a bit of trouble keeping track of some of the characters, they seemed to overlap in my mind a bit. Most of them, though, are fleshed out enough to be interesting, and I really loved the fact that the group was very diverse. And the diversity didn't feel forced (i.e. I didn't feel like the author was trying to check off certain ethnic and sexual orientation categories on a list).
I very much want to visit Australia some day, so it was especially fun to read something set in Sydney. A lot of the dystopian /post-apocalyptic fiction I've read lately has "felt" US-centric, so reading something set somewhere that was completely foreign to me was a nice change. It makes me want to go there even more than I did before!
And of course, this is not post-apocalyptic: this is happening during the apocalypse itself. I found myself sitting back several times thinking about how much I agreed with the author about how certain things would probably go if an actual apocalyptic event took place.
Bottom line: highly recommended if you are looking for a fast-paced, unique adventure with some nice humor (humour?) and a sweet (and well-done) romance.
Posted October 25, 2012
Allow me a moment to sound like a lovestruck teenager please. I love this book, cue sigh. No, I lurv this book! Cue more dramatic sighing. Okay, lovestruck fangirl moment has passed, let’s get on with this reviewing business. I admit that the synopsis of this book made me think long and hard about if I wanted to read it or not. But I do love apocalypse novels and the idea of potential alien invaders was fantastic. It piqued my interest enough that I requested a copy for review. Part of me wants to rave about this book from the rooftops all night, but first let’s get the things that got on my nerves out the way. Don’t worry, it’s short.
The descriptions of the dust coming down from the sky and covering everything was interesting at first, but I thought that it went on a little too long. After awhile I found myself thinking, “Okay, I know, the violet dust is EVERYWHERE! Now please talk about something else.” I found that this happened a few other times as well, where I just felt that some things went on a bit too long and I was skimming for a few pages until we moved on. For example when Maddie was looking through empty apartments that was rather cumbersome and when they were planning their attack on the invaders I wanted to get to the actual attacking sooner than I did. These were minor annoyances and frankly didn’t really impact how much I enjoyed the book but I thought it should be mentioned.
Now for the good parts, Maddie was fantastic. She is the YA heroine I have been searching for for months! She is strong, smart, kicks ass when she needs to, and knows when to step aside and let someone else take charge when necessary. I love this heroine so much. All of the female characters in this book were like her in a lot of ways. In general, the characters were very genuine and authentic and not stereotypical or cliche at all. Oh, and we also have a lesbian couple in the book…you don’t see it until near the end but there is. That is rare in YA as well, putting in any LGBT characters. Tyler, I am not quite sure if he was transgendered or a crossdresser but he is in there as well. There are Asian characters and white characters, and lesbian characters, and transgendered characters and NONE OF IT SEEMED FORCED. All of the characters were natural and fit in this world and that was so refreshing to see. No token “a black man walked down the street” moments in this one!
The plot was also very unique and interesting. I loved the idea of it and also the way it was written. Everything was explained without feeling like the information was just being dumped on me. I liked the way the plot played into social structures in our society without hitting you over the head with it. It was a statement about our society but was never preachy. And the ending was a cause for celebration and also sadness. It made me cry, and I rarely shed tears at a book. I felt the emotions of these characters very clearly and my heart broke for them.
I can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t enjoy this book. It is a worthy book to buy and I doubt it would disappoint. Give it a try, even if the synopsis doesn’t seem like your thing. It just might turn into one of your favorites by the end.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest and thoughtful review. No monetary compensation or promise of a positive review was given.
Posted February 14, 2013
No text was provided for this review.