The Sound of Stars
Can a girl who risks her life for books and an alien who loves forbidden pop music work together to save humanity?
Two years ago, a misunderstanding between the leaders of Earth and the invading Ilori resulted in the deaths of one-third of the world’s population.
Seventeen-year-old Janelle “Ellie” Baker survives in an Ilori-controlled center in New York City. Deemed dangerously volatile because of their initial reaction to the invasion, humanity’s emotional transgressions are now grounds for execution. All art, books and creative expression are illegal, but Ellie breaks the rules by keeping a secret library. When a book goes missing, Ellie is terrified that the Ilori will track it back to her and kill her.
Born in a lab, M0Rr1S (Morris) was raised to be emotionless. When he finds Ellie’s illegal library, he’s duty-bound to deliver her for execution. The trouble is, he finds himself drawn to human music and in desperate need of more. They’re both breaking the rules for love of art—and Ellie inspires the same feelings in him that music does.
Ellie’s—and humanity’s—fate rests in the hands of an alien she should fear. M0Rr1S has a lot of secrets, but also a potential solution—thousands of miles away. The two embark on a wild and dangerous road trip with a bag of books and their favorite albums, all the while making a story and a song of their own that just might save them both.
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Published: February 25th 2020
Death, Alcoholism, Racism, Domestic Abuse, Brief Mention of Lack of Consent, Colonization, Violence, Execution, Oppression, Brainwashing/Mind Control, Anxiety, Panic Attacks.
Heads up: The longer I wrote this review, the more angry I became? I won’t call it a subtle change, but… it’s there. Sorry.
I also recognize everything happening with the FFBC and i’m not affiliated with them any longer. This is a late review and the disclaimer is necessary.
Now, I desperately wanted to like this. It ticked off every box that put this on my radar in the first place and there was A LOT going for this book….. but this wasn’t my my thing. And I’m sad.
I know I say this a lot, but this is another case of appreciation? There was a lot of things here that I liked being added to the story. We have a bisexual, demi-romatic, fat black main character with anxiety. There was the portrayal of successful black people and them being treated as out of place despite their hard work and qualifications.
Yes, there’s an alien invasion and we’re in a situation, but that doesn’t stop the bigoted people from being bigoted, you know? It didn’t feel like something to be added on to everything else, it was just… there. And I appreciate that.
… okay, now onto the… issues.
You know it’s bad when the only real enjoyment I’m getting is from deliriously laughing at how bizarre and just…. bizaare things are. Like, I think at one point during my read I exclaimed loudly that dude reminded me of an IPhone. So there’s that.
But, not even that: there was a big dependency on infodumping. We’re on the run? Let’s give some exposition. Resting in the car? Let me give you the entire history on the alien race. Are we having a moment? Here’s a 500 word essay. Which in turn made this 400-ish page book sluggish.
Though, the entire alien species here gave me major 1989 vibes— thoughtcrimes and Big Brother is Watching You and no one’s safe… that’s neat.
I didn’t exactly care about the characters. They were very basic, YA protagonist— main female voice is stubborn and follows a “be kind no matter what” message and is an outsider while main male voice is the quirky, naive but super model attractive alien who loves music and people and hates death and is an outsider like her! They have more in common than we thought? We know how this goes–
But, when one is manipulating the other into helping them and there’s that power imbalance… makes me uncomfortable, you know?
Which also means the tropey – instalove thing happening was not my thing because dude had been on Earth three days and is already calling our female main character the most interesting person he’s met… which… don’t make me point out the irony of that statement.
My main issue was that
and this is partially my fault I was expecting one thing and got another? This book starting throwing out the darker themes and I was intrigued… but it didn’t deliver. I don’t know if the writing wasn’t up to par, as the writing for me at least felt a bit juvinile for said topics.
And I’m a firm believer in allowing BIPOC to write mediocre books, but I just… wasn’t having fun with this. Maybe my expectations weren’t high enough, but… I can’t see myself coming back to this in any kind of future.