Review: Wayward Stars

Wayward Stars (Starswept, #2)Wayward Stars by Mary Fan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book picks up right where the previous one left off – Iris Lei and the rest of the abolition are trying to plan out their next steps. From there, the plot goes off into a few twists, but in a fairly expected progression. The end is satisfying on its own, but it seems like Ms. Fan might have been setting up at least a trilogy if not an on-going series.

This book was supposed to be a nice, light book after having finished The Parable of the Talents and The Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler. Both take place in a dystopian America that’s just a little too close to home. Vs, say, Panem, where it’s so far in the future it wasn’t painful to read. Sure, Iris Lei is former slave who is now part of an abolitionist movement, but the book was so much lighter than Ms. Butler’s books. I can’t remember if Starswept is meant to be YA, but it sure seems that way. (At least in terms of violent/sexual content being 99.9% absent). So I figured I’m in for a light dystopian romp. NOPE-TY NOPE NOPE!

Ms. Fan brought out the real emotions (and near-tears) as Iris went through her plan and met with various resistances. The previous book mostly just spoke about mind control and mind wipes. But this book has it in spades. One character’s encounters with it seemed like a metaphor for Alzheimer’s. Another character has everything taken in a way that is just heart-breaking and seemed more of a violation and torture than any scene I’ve seen or read of physical or sexual violence. It was crazy. (And probably would have been even crazier in a non-YA world…. if you can erase memories why not an underground Ka’rasil Red Light District)

Look, this is a YA sequel in which most of the main characters are older teens/young adults who are in the arts and who carry torches for their crushes like they’re on a CW show. This may or may not be your cup of tea. But if you got invested in the main characters in book 1, then I can’t believe you’ll escape this book without having “the feels” really hard for the characters. They go through some stuff. I’m a fan of Ms. Fan’s work (no pun intended), and I think this series continues to do a good job of melding her passions (Music – she has a degree; and the performing arts – her Twitter account is her learning circue-de-solieil-style ropes stuff). I look forward to seeing if this story continues.

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