Children of the Stars – K. Aten

4.5* – I’m new to K. Aten’s writing (this is only my second book), which is wonderful as it means I have so many novels to look forward to reading. Because, yes, I am loving what I’m discovering.

Amari Del Rey is seventeen when she finds out that she’s not who she thinks she is. A fall off a cliff while hiking leaves her unhurt and instead of the pain she should be feeling, she’s full of energy. Running – incredibly fast – to tell her parents, she learns that – surprise! – they are not who she thinks they are either. When she was less than a month old, her biological mothers, the Queens of the planet Reyna, escaped the war that was threatening to end their world and the rogue general aiming to take over. With them was another infant, the daughter of the King and Queen of Tora, Zendara Baen-Tor. Reyna and Tora had been about to sign a peace treaty when Tal Boraan forced the two queens to flee, hoping to save the young princesses. When their pursuers reached their ship, the mothers had no choice but to launch two escape pods, one each with a child, towards another planet, Earth. Alien observers, called the Watchers, are spread all around the planet, keeping an eye on humans. Two couples of Watchers, on either side of the United States, welcomed the children into their home. Which is how Amari grew up in Washington State, the extremely gifted homeschooled daughter of loving parents. Yet despite all that love, she never felt whole. On the other coast, in Maine, Zendara – Zen – felt the same void inside herself, but without the doting and safe parents who could explain everything when the time was right. Everything being that they’re all aliens and that both girls are destined for each other, each other’s “Q’sirrahna”. And have huge superpowers.

At the same time the princesses were growing up and very slowly making their way through the country to each other, one knowing she would find her soulmate eventually, the other simply following the pull she felt to move, a government experience creating human hybrids with powers, called the Chromodecs, went all kinds of wrong and a new force was created to deal with the consequences, the Chromodec Office of Restraint and Protection (CORP). In all good superhero stories, there has to be a supervillain, and in this story, it’s an insanely powerful and revengeful Chromodec with, as should be, an evil plan to conquer the world.

I don’t usually write so much about the story but this one is so full of details… I loved the tone, the world-building, the multidimensional feel, the many characters (I got a bit lost at times because there are many of them and most have code names in addition to their real names), the pace. Have a little patience if you feel the story is a little slow to start, Aten took the time to create the world it’s set in, and she did it well.

An omniscient narrator gives an old-school comics feel to the story. I liked the idea and the way Aten made it work, even though there were too many interruptions in some chapters and some felt redundant. Every now and then, however, they brought a welcome pause in a hectic – and exhilarating – narrative.

As I wrote above, Aten took her time to set the scene, introduce the characters and let them grow (Zen, most obviously, but others such as Rocket too), unfold the events. Since I sometimes have the attention span of a gnat, the book felt a tad too long but it was well worth staying with it. And it also means the story never feels rushed and there are no loose ends.

I’m rating this 4.5* because it’s smart, intricate, fast-paced, very entertaining and well-written, and with another breathtaking cover by Ann McMan. The reason I’m not going the full 5* is that, as with my favourite superheroes movies, I love and enjoy it supremely while it’s happening but I don’t know how much of it will stay with me. And my 5* are reserved for books that, in whatever small capacity, change my life or move me above all others. Children of the Stars is not one of these but I’ll love it as much as I love most Marvel and some DC movies: a whole lot. Instantaneous entertainment has its own value and I, for one, am a fan.

5-stars

Children of the Stars @ Regal Crest

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