For those who have been reading my blog for a while, you may recall my Andrea K. Höst mini-glom earlier this year. Mini only because there were sadly only seven books in her backlist. And why yes, I think I read them all within a single month (and I have to admit that I’m pretty impressed I actually have reviews up for all of them – I am obviously not as far behind as I thought!).
Needless to say I was all excited for her newest release – AND ALL THE STARS. And rightly so.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I love how Andrea K. Höst tells stories that feel fresh and new, and AATS was no exception – yes, it’s a post-apocalyptic* YA SF, which appears to be *the* subgenre at the moment, but I don’t think I’ve read one quite like AATS.
It’s set immediately in the aftermath of an initially-incomprehensible appearance of an alien tower in the centre of Sydney, and the story captured me from the first pages onwards – I felt as disorientated as Madeleine was, caught in the chaos of the initial incursion, trying to figure out what was happening and somehow survive. There was something vaguely Robinson Crusoe-like in how Madeleine and her new-found friends bonded together and figured out how to survive in the immediate days following the alien invasion – and oh, a fun element of wish fulfillment too, with the teens having free rein in luxury apartments and hotels.
Madeleine’s voice was a key part of my enjoyment of AATS – she was wry and down-to-earth, and I enjoyed seeing her drop her guard and make friends with her fellow Blues. I loved how diversity was the “norm” in AATS – it made the story feel that much more contemporary and relevant. And I liked how the book was very much grounded in contemporary Sydney – it wasn’t just a generic AnyCity setting.
Plot-wise, oh my. I love being surprised and I was. Minor spoilers ahead (highlight to read)I’ll be honest… a page before THE TWIST, I was thinking that this plot is getting slightly predictable, and then *bang* I swear my jaw dropped open. It’s a risky twist in so many ways, but the author totally pulled it off IMO, and it just added so much more depth to the story.
The book did feel a tad slow in places, and I skimmed the passages on the alien politics and history somewhat, but really, AATS was one of those satisfying reads. I cannot wait to see what Andrea K. Höst will release next.
*Estara commented on my Goodreads review that this is technically an apocalyptic SF, as it deals with the events itself – I have to agree.