“The Seas of Distant Stars is a coming of age story in an era of human history in which we’ve lost such rituals. This book perhaps even suggests that humanity as a whole requires a collective coming of age, an endeavor that requires us, like the protagonist in The Seas of Distant Stars, to remember our past.”
–Theodore Richards, author of The Conversions
Francesca Varela delivers an inventive tale of young Aria. In this futuristic coming of age tale, our heroine is transported to another world where she learns the true meaning of friends, family and home.
–Mark Daniel Seiler, author of River's Child
"Agapanthus was kidnapped when she was only two years old, but she doesn't remember it. In fact, she doesn't remember her home planet at all. All she knows is Deeyae, the land of two suns; the land of great, red waters. Her foster-family cares for her, and at first that's enough. But, as she grows older, Agapanthus is bothered by the differences between them. As an Exchanger, she's frail and tall, not short and strong. And, even though she was raised Deeyan, she certainly isn't treated like one. One day, an Exchanger boy completes the Deeyan rite-of-passage, and Agapanthus is inspired to try the same. But, when she teams up with him, her quest to become Deeyan transforms into her quest to find the truth--of who she is, and of which star she belongs to. A deftly written and thoroughly entertaining novel that showcases author Francesca G. Varela's genuine flare for originality and narrative driven storytelling, The Seas of Distant Starswill have a very special appeal for dedicated science fiction fans and will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to community library Science Fiction collections."
-Midwest Book Review
“The Seas of Distant Starscombines convincing, imaginative world building and vivid imagery with lush writing that is often poetic and lyrical, and at times masterful and sophisticated as well. Francesca Varela is an impressive young writer with the potential to produce classics of literary science fiction in the tradition of Le Guin’s Hainish novels."
–Lara Campbell McGehee, author ofWhite Sky
“A Truly original, otherworldly coming-of-age story.”
–Beth Kander, author ofOriginal Syn
"Varela’s uneven third novel (after Listen, 2016) spans two planets and 26 years in the life of Agapanthus Caracynth, who is abducted from Earth as a toddler and taken to Deeyae, where she is raised by foster parents as an “exchanger.” Deeyae orbits a red dwarf; its inhabitants were brought from Earth millennia ago by the same alien gods who kidnapped Agapanthus. The Deeyans evolved red skin and compact, muscular bodies, physical differences that make young Agapanthus feel like an outsider. Her Deeyan family forbids her from attempting their rite of passagea dangerous swim to the neighboring islandbut she secretly trains with Aster, an exchanger who’s completed the rite. Varela’s portrayal of a fictional society is imaginative, and it raises troubling questions about the Deeyans, their guests, and their enigmatic gods...."
In this coming-of-age story featuring alien abduction and experimentation, readers follow the life of young Agapanthus (née Aria) from the moment the four-year-old girl goes literally out of this world. An outsider on Deeyae, a realm of heavy gravity and two suns, she's marked by her appearance and weakness amid a race of strong, squat humanoids with red skin and iris-less eyes. She's not the only "exchanger" experimented and looked down upon and never completely integrated society. When she rebels against her underclass status, she's returned to Earth with no memories of her previous existence, forced to start over with a family she barely remembers and a life that feels unreal. In her search for a place to belong, she finally finds her true identity. For most of this latest work from Varela (Listen; Call of the Sun Child), Agapanthus is a child determining her place in a world she loves but can never belong to. When she's returned to Earth, her journey is still that of self-discovery. VERDICT Recommended for fans of sf new adult narratives with strong YA crossover appeal.—Marlene Harris, Reading Reality, LLC, Duluth, GA