There’s always been a mystery to Vika Hale’s life. Ever since she was a child, she’s had an unknown benefactor providing for her and her family, making sure that Vika and her sister received the best education they could. Now, Vika longs for a bigger life than one as a poor barmaid on a struggling planet, but those dreams feel out of reach. Until one day Vika learns that her benefactor was a billionaire magnate who recently died under suspicious circumstances, and Vika has shockingly been included in his will. Invited to live on a glittering neighboring planet, Vika steps into a world she can hardly believe is real.
The only blight on Vika’s lavish new life is the constant presence of Sky Foster, a mysterious young man from Vika’s past who works for her benefactors. She doesn’t like or trust Sky, but when she narrowly escapes an explosion and realizes someone is targeting the will’s heirs, Vika knows Sky is the only one who can help her discover the identity of the bomber before she becomes their next victim. As Vika and Sky delve into the truth of the attacks, they uncover a web of secrets, murder, and an underground rebellion who may hold the answers they’ve been looking for. But Sky isn’t who he seems to be, and Vika may not escape this new life unscathed.
In The Stars Between Us, Cristin Terrill sweeps readers away to a Dickensian-inspired world where secrets are currency and love is the most dangerous risk of all.
Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free e-ARC in exchange for an honest review! All opinions contained within are my own.
We all know that I love SFF books, but I often neglect the ‘SF’ part of that acronym. Whenever I pick up science fiction, I tend to enjoy it, so I’m not sure why I don’t read it more. Another genre I’ve been attempting to read more of lately is romance. Though I am still very much a newbie, I’ve found myself enjoying the genre more and more. So, when I was sent an email promoting this novel as ‘Bridgerton meets Illuminae‘ with a pre-approved Netgalley link attached, I jumped all over it!
The Stars Between Us follows a young woman named Vika Hale. Vika has lived her entire life on the struggling planet of Philomenus. She barely gets by living in a cramped flat with her family and working at a job she hates. But Vika Hale also has a strange aspect to her life. She has a mysterious benefactor that has providing things that no ordinary citizen of Philomenus would ever be able to afford. Her life gets even stranger when that benefactor dies and Vika finds herself included in his will in the strangest of ways. Throw into the mix the mysterious Sky, a young man who appears in her life right around the same time, and Vika’s world is about to turn upside down.
I love when I find myself completely immersed in a story as soon as I open it up and that definitely happened here! The author does a great job of building this world and settling you into it. I loved learning about this interesting society and the juxtaposition of the poverty of Philomenus and the luxury of Plutos. This book brings up a lot of issues when it comes to money and what it can do to a person and I thought they were all handled rather well. I will say that the plot is pretty straightforward, to the point that I guessed pretty much all of the major plot points almost immediately. But the journey to get to those points was still a compelling ride!
Now, we gotta talk about our main character, Vika. Oh, Vika… I don’t think I’ve been this frustrated with a character in a long time! Vika is a hardworker who would do pretty much anything for the people she loves. She’s also vain, selfish, pushy, and generally kind of obnoxious. This isn’t why she frustrated me, though. In fact, I think we need more books where the main female lead isn’t likeable! No, the reason Vika was frustrating was because she was so dense! For someone who is constantly touted as clever throughout the novel, there were so many moments where I was genuinely flabbergasted by the decisions she makes with the information she has. Like… girl! What is you doin’?! Sigh… Still, to evoke so much emotion from me is a mark that I was truly invested in her character. So that’s a good thing!
I will say that the romance left me feeling a little ‘meh’, though, because the love interest was like the physical embodiment of a doormat.
Overall, though, this was a quick, easy, and fun sci-fi read that pulled me in very quickly. It’s like a popcorn book that is just fun to snack on! It has great worldbuilding that settles you firmly in this universe. I loved that it tackles some tougher issues as we follow the main plot of the book. And, though the main character made me want to shake her and the mystery was pretty easy to figure out, I ended up having a good time with this one.