Tuesday, January 9, 2018

A Conspiracy of Stars by Olivia A Cole

Title: A Conspiracy of Stars
Author: Olivia A Cole
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Source: Katherine Tegen via Edelweiss

Octavia has only ever had one goal: to follow in the footsteps of her parents and become a prestigious whitecoat, one of the scientists who study the natural wonders of Faloiv. The secrets of the jungle’s exotic plants and animals are protected fiercely in the labs by the Council of N’Terra, so when the rules suddenly change, allowing students inside, Octavia should be overjoyed.

But something isn’t right. The newly elected leader of the Council has some extremist views about the way he believes N’Terra should be run, and he’s influencing others to follow him. When Octavia witnesses one of the Faloii—the indigenous people of Faloiv—attacked in front of her in the dark of night, she knows the Council is hiding something. They are living in separate worlds on a shared planet, and their fragile peace may soon turn into an all-out war.

With the help of Rondo, a quiet boy in class with a skill for hacking, and her inquisitive best friend, Alma, Octavia is set on a collision course to discover the secrets behind the history she’s been taught, the science she’s lived by, and the truth about her family.
Review by Nara

It seems like 2018 may be a great year for young adult novels, because it seems like almost every one I've read so far has been absolutely fantastic. A Conspiracy of Stars grabbed me initially because of the cover, and to be honest, I just went for it without reading the blurb at all. I even thought it was a high fantasy, and was pleasantly surprised to be reading a wonderful pure science fiction.

The novel seems to be possibly set in the far off future (with the people being called N'Terrans- is this short for New Terrans i.e. New Earth? I don't know). It's quite heavy on the science aspect of science fiction, and probably not for those who are not somewhat versed in science fiction, or have at least read some dystopians or something.

I think one of the main positives of the book is that the pacing is excellent. The "conspiracy" was so interesting to follow and made it extremely difficult to put the book down. It was filled with enough twists that as soon as you think, okay time to take a break, BAM comes the next twist, and I ended up reading the book basically in one sitting. There was a romance subplot which was cute and thankfully did not distract from the main storyline. There were some suspiciously convenient aspects of the plot e.g. how the love interest and main co-conspirator of the narrator is also apparently a genius hacker, but on the whole I felt the plot was quite well thought out. I especially liked how open the relationships were between the protagonist and her friends.

All in all, an excellent novel from Cole. I will very much be looking forward to seeing what else she has to offer in the future.

Overall: 9/10
Plot: 4/5
Romance: 4.5/5
Writing: 4.5/5
World Building: 4/5
Characters: 4/5
Cover: 4/5