My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The first thing that grabbed me with Under Different Stars was the cover. I love the image and after reading the story, it all came together in how it was tied to the book. After reading the summary, I have to admit, I was pretty excited to see it come up on Netgalley.
Kricket has been avoiding foster care case workers for a while now and as she gets closer to her 18th birthday, she is looking forward to leaving the running behind so that she can figure out what is really important to her. Kricket has always been careful who she gets close to and she has also always been an observer – as she is headed home one night, three huge, strange men approach her on the train and that is the night her life changes completely.
I liked Kricket and thought she was the right mix of tough, smart, and growing teenager. As she learned more about who she is and where she comes from, it was hard to not feel sorry for her situation. Because of the rules on Ethar and the situation she is in, Kricket has no idea what she is getting into by leaving Earth with Trey…not that she has any choice. Despite that fact, and perhaps due to how she grew up on Earth, Kricket was able to adapt to her situation.
Trey was an interesting character. As he begins to learn more about Kricket and her upbringing, he starts to get a sense of life on Earth and who Kricket really is. He also begins to realize that she means more to him than just being an assignment and he takes on more responsibility to educate and protect her. I thought the romance between him and Kricket moved at a good pace and while it took him longer to admit his feelings, I thought the reasoning fit with his personality.
I really enjoyed the secondary characters in this book as well. Of course, the main characters drive the story but I don’t think it would have been the same if we didn’t have Wayra and Jax to add balance and humor. Additionally, the “bad guy” of this story, Kyon, is an interesting character and I will be curious to see where things go with him.
I thought the world building was done well in this story and the transitions from Earth to Ethar were done wonderfully. I loved how Kricket had to adapt and work to survive in a new world where things were not quite the same but still had a bit of similarity. Tied to the world building, I thought Bartol did a wonderful job of explaining the differences in the clans and how they aligned with the structure in Ethar.
As the story moves along, we find out that everyone wants a piece of Kricket because of who she is….that is a mix of two of the clans of Ethar. Her mother’s clan gives Kricket the traits that link her to the priestesses and therefore, make her valuable to the house. As we find out, her gift continues to grow but the thing that impresses everyone is the fact that she is able to use it without any real training. As this is revealed, there is an even greater desire for Kricket to pick a side.
Overall I thought the story was a great introduction to Kricket and the new life she is going to have. There is a great mix of action, world building, and romance in this book which had me turning the pages to find out what was going to happen next. I definitely look forward to the next book in the series and if you enjoy a good Fantasy/Science Fiction series, I think you might enjoy this one – check it out!
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the review copy!
My rating: 4 of 5 stars