Title: The Stars We Steal
Author: Alexa Donne
Pub. Date: February 4, 2020
Engagement season is in the air. Eighteen-year-old Princess Leonie “Leo” Kolburg, heir to a faded European spaceship, only has one thing on her mind: which lucky bachelor can save her family from financial ruin?
But when Leo’s childhood friend and first love Elliot returns as the captain of a successful whiskey ship, everything changes. Elliot was the one that got away, the boy Leo’s family deemed to be unsuitable for marriage. Now, he’s the biggest catch of the season and he seems determined to make Leo’s life miserable. But old habits die hard, and as Leo navigates the glittering balls of the Valg Season, she finds herself falling for her first love in a game of love, lies, and past regrets.
This will be a spoiler free review.
I went into this book with pretty much no expectations. I’d not read Alexa’s debut, but this sounded like something right up my alley and I knew I needed to read it.
Can I just say that, that sentence was kind of weird to write…which is ridiculous because I’m clearly not the author, but I always find it weird when I’m talking about any other Alexa’s.
Anyways, I digress. I went in with no expectations and was pleasantly surprised. I really enjoyed this book, though I did think the ending was a bit rushed.
Honestly, I think it could have been a duology, but I do appreciate that it was fairly easy read and definitely engaging. I read it in two clumps of time, not putting it down during those hours. I also appreciate that it was a standalone, because that meant no waiting for book 2 to come out.
The Stars We Steal kind of reminded me of kind of reminded me of These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner, which doesn’t upset me in the slightest. I’m a big fan of these more fantastical science-fiction stories – that and the fact that it’s set on a spaceship is an automatic selling point.
I think this book is a really cool take on what humanities future could look like if or when we make it to space – splitting up based on royal affiliation and country. With that being said, I think the whole ‘world’ that is created in this book could have been explored further and in more detail. I found it hard to keep track of all the ships – most just mentioned in passing. It was hard to understand the massive scope of it all, and why we should really care about the suffering people – not to sound like a horrible person. I think the whole humanity suffering, ships becoming dilapidated and the lack of resources issue wasn’t really expanded on and just put in there as a catalyst…since nothing really comes of it.
Sorry, maybe that’s a slight spoiler, but I didn’t get the point. I feel like a lot of the ‘political intrigue’ just didn’t hold the weight it was supposed to, therefore I didn’t care. I also think that if this story had been two books, instead of a standalone, we would have gotten more, and it would have held more weight and impact for the characters. Because as it stands, it really doesn’t impact them greatly at all, and for it to be an inciting incident…it fell flat. It was like all this tension and chaos and calamity was building and before the balloon could burst, it just slowly deflated and that was that. It’s unfortunate
As for the cast of characters, my least favorite was Leo and Carina’s father. I can’t stand parents who act like insufferable children and can’t get their shit together to be the parent. I get that it happens in real life and it’s very unfortunate, but it’s just one of those things that irk the hell out of me. That and the whole ‘the oldest child has to carry all the weight, while the younger one can do whatever the hell, they want sans consequences.’ No thank you, it’s bullshit.
But overall, I really enjoyed the cast. Leo and Carina were great, and I loved their bond. Though, I will say, that I had a bit of trouble picturing them (which seems to be a trend in this book). I liked how they were opposites, but were fiercely loyal to one another, even when they don’t get along.
Elliot, Evgenia and Klara were all great supporting characters as well. Elliott being stubborn, goofy and also loyal. Evgenia being pretty much ball of sunshine and easily likeable. Klara, who spends a great deal of the book being a bit unlikable, but powerful and unyielding and loyal to her family when it truly matters. Oh, and Daniel! I loved Daniel. I loved his character and I wish there was more book so I could see his and Leo’s friendship grow.
Also, the whole Vlag – month long dating scene. I get why it happens, but I also felt like maybe it could have been handled differently? I don’t know. I liked it, because as a plot element, yes, but I also felt like it was lacking.
I think that’s the biggest thing with this book. While it’s a good read, and fun and just overall enjoyable, it’s lacking in so many areas. So many elements and ideas that just don’t quite pan out to their fullest potential. I know reading it, I was down to the last 100 pages in this 400-page book, and I had no clue how it was going to end, because there seemed to be so much story left to tell…like a whole other book’s worth of story. It’s why I think the ending felt flat and rushed and just not what I expected. I think without the Epilogue, I would have been more disappointed. By the time I reached the end, I just wanted more.
I want to be clear – I didn’t hate this book, despite the issues I had with it. I was invested, I wanted to know what happened next, I loved the characters and hated others and I loved the setting and the feel and overall, just really enjoyed the book. But I also had issues with it and that’s okay. I do definitely recommend this book and you should definitely pick it up. It’s a good escape, and that’s what books do best – provide a few hours escape from the real world. You can pick up The Stars We Steal on February 4, 2020 when it hits shelves! I hope you enjoy!