Tuesday, June 20, 2017

SciFi/Fantasy Book Review: An Accident of Stars by Foz Meadows

Long Review after the Jump:

An Accident of Stars is really really good, but for a few flaws, one of which isn't actually a problem with the story itself.  The book is LGBTQ friendly and feminist, featuring multiple female main characters (most of whom are women of color) of various sexual orientations, and well, these characters are really strong characters.  The Plot is solid and not too predictable (and yet while not predictable, it is totally fair),
Plot Summary:
Our World, Earth, is merely one world amongst a Multiverse of worlds.  Gwen Vere is one who knows this very fact - born on Earth, she has traveled between worlds and established herself with a family on the world of Kena, where she put a ruler on the throne of the country where she lives.  Unfortunately, it was the wrong ruler, and this ruler, Leoden is a monster, along with his mysterious ally and wife, the exiled priestess Kadeja.

But when Gwen accidentally brings another earth girl, the high schooler Saffron, into Kena, things suddenly change.  Saffron knows nothing about this world, but will soon find herself involved with events that will change it and possibly the multiverse, forever.

The story is told from several point of views:
Saffron aka Safi: A Girl from Earth who finds herself accidentally following Gwen through a portal to Kena, and is caught up in events;
Gwen: The original worldwalker looking to fix the catastrophic error she made in putting Leoden on the throne
Zechalia aka Zech: A girl from the neighboring country of Veksh, who is an acolyte to a man who knows language magic, looking to assert her place int he world:
Iviyat aka Viya: A girl who is technically the second princess of Kena, but who is merely a pawn, who attempts to break free and save her country.
These characters are all terrific (I love Zech in particular) as are the non-POV characters, and the plot flows really well - I burned through this book really quickly.  Themes of identity, personal strength, the meaning of language and borders, are major parts of this book, as each of the characters struggle to figure out who they are, who they want to be, and who they will have to be in order to do what must be done.  The Three young main characters (Viya, Zech, and Safi) are all struggling in a world they barely understand and know to control their own destinies and do good in the world, and to do so in a way that is the result of their own choices, not anyone else's.  And the intertwined stories are written phenomenally.

The only reasons this book doesn't get a perfect score is two fold:
First, and this may be a minor problem that is fixed in later editions, but the paperback edition I read has a really annoying formatting problem: The book shifts repeatedly between a few points of view, and the paperback edition doesn't include any indications as to when these POV switches take place.  The ebook of the sequel that I read fixes this problem, but in this one, it's really annoying as I found myself having to reread certain passages when I would realize the POV had changed.

Second, the book ends kind of abruptly and does so on a major cliffhanger.  It's not a crazy abrupt ending, but it's enough to feel kind of unsatisfying, even if the majority of the book is terrific.  If you want a single book to read that tells a complete story, this is not it.

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