A CONSPIRACY OF STARS by Olivia A. Cole
(This book was graciously sent by Olivia A. Cole in exchange for an honest review).
A Conspiracy of Stars is an innovative new YA science fiction novel that follows the journey of Octavia, a girl who wants to uncover the mystery surrounding their planet in order to save their society and all the creatures inhabiting their world. ACOS is brilliantly written, captivating, and once you start this book, it will be hard to stop!
Here’s a short summary taken from Amazon.com:
(Octavia has always dreamed of becoming a whitecoat, one of the prestigious N’Terra scientists who study the natural wonders of Faloiv. So when the once-secretive labs are suddenly opened to students, she leaps at the chance to see what happens behind their closed doors. However, she quickly discovers that all is not what it seems on Faloiv, and the experiments the whitecoats have been doing run the risk of upsetting the humans’ fragile peace with the Faloii, Faloiv’s indigenous people. As secret after disturbing secret comes to light, Octavia finds herself on a collision course with the charismatic and extremist new leader of N’Terra’s ruling council. But by uncovering the mysteries behind the history she’s been taught, the science she’s lived by, and the truth about her family, she threatens to be the catalyst for an all-out war.)
I love books that seem to transport me to a new world, and ACOS does just that. The world-building – as well as the descriptions – are enough to give me a vivid picture of the beautiful world of N’Terra, but not enough to bog down the action. In my opinion, that’s the best kind of writing; losing the pace of the story is sometimes enough to make one not want to finish the book, but that doesn’t happen in ACOS. The whole story is fast-paced and entertaining, and you’ll definitely want to stick around until the end to find out what happens to Octavia, Rondo, Alma, and the rest of the characters.
If you’re a fan of Fantastic Beasts or Jurassic Park, you’ll enjoy A Conspiracy of Stars! The plot focuses on Octavia and her friends being able to finally go to study in the lab they’ve always dreamed of visiting. There, they discover many new creatures. It was great to have a description of each creature; it helped me individualize them and keep them separate from each other. Even though each creature had a description, I did find myself wondering back to what they were when their names were brought back up later in the story. While I was reading along in the book, I thought it would be so neat if in another edition of ACOS there were small illustrations added in the back of the book that gave a vivid picture of the creatures. (Kind of like a mini visual dictionary, with an illustration, the creatures’ names, and small facts about them!) I think that would be a beautiful addition to the book, as well as help keep all the different animals and species straight.
Octavia’s mom is a great scientist, and even though Octavia respects her mother, I like that Octavia wasn’t trying to follow exactly in her mother’s footsteps. I liked that she was making her own path, even if it wasn’t the path she necessarily would have chosen (no spoilers here). Octavia’s dad is a scientist as well, but he is rather mean, and the reader immediately gets the feeling that he’s untrustworthy. While he doesn’t have a good attitude through the book (and he makes some unfortunate decisions), I got the feeling that toward the end, he was regretting his actions and would maybe change in the second book. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but I would love to see Octavia finally have a good father-figure in her life. Alma is such a great character – and a good friend to Octavia. I think I liked her the best, and I would *love* to see her have a bigger role in the next book.
Now, onto Rondo. Rondo is a boy that Octavia had generally avoided because he was strange, As the story progresses, we see Octavia’s heart soften and she ends up really liking Rondo. While I like Rondo’s character, I wasn’t really a fan of Octavia and Rondo’s romance. For my tastes, it moved a little too fast. I would have enjoyed seeing their relationship grow over time, instead of it just -*bam*- happening. Honestly, that was the only thing that I didn’t like about ACOS. But, Octavia and Rondo are very sweet, and it’s a nice, mutual romance.
Toward the end of the story, Octavia meets one of the women indigenous to their planet (called the Faloii). The woman enlists the help of Octavia to free her father, who is being held captive by the Council of N’Terra. Octavia realizes that in order to have a truly perfect society, they need to accept the Faloii and let them have control of their lands once more. I really enjoyed reading about the Faloii and learning more about their culture, as well as the way they communicate (via mindspeak).
If you’re looking for an adventure story, political intrigue, vivid landscapes, entertaining characters, and amazing creatures, then ACOS is for you. I would hands-down recommend it for YA fans who don’t want to dive into a world full of science fiction elements right off the bat; I know some sci-fi stories can be confusing at times because of all the new terms and fundamentals involved. A Conspiracy of Stars is a delightful book where the sci-fi terms are easy to understand, but still create that sense of wonder when reading them for the first time. Plus, the cover is simply gorgeous! I really hope this book is an option to vote for on Epic Read's Book Shimmy Awards 2019!
Thank you again, Olivia, for sending the book! I really enjoyed it!
Pick up a copy of A Conspiracy of Stars from Olivia’s website, or from using my Amazon affiliate link below!
A Conspiracy of Stars receives 4.5 stars out of 5.