Book reviews

Review: Chasing the Stars

I was fortunate enough to win a copy of this books via Goodreads, having entered the giveaway primarily due to the cover alone (I’m a sucker for a pretty cover). I didn’t really know what to expect from it but sadly I was rather disappointed.

There are a large handful of characters that are important to the plot but the main focus is on Olivia (or Vee as she’s mostly called) and Nathan, and the chapters alternate from one POV to the other. Vee has spent the past three years manning a spacecraft with only her twin brother for company and the pair are slowly making their way back to Earth’s star system when they receive a distress signal from a nearby planet. It’s upon Barros 5 that Nathan, his mother and a small settlement of people are under attack from the Mazon, a xenophobic race that do not appreciate humans residing in their corner of the universe. Vee puts her own life at risk and makes the decision to try to rescue as many of the settlers as possible – a decision that she soon comes to question whether it was such a good idea to have done so. From here we speed our way through mutual attraction, mistrust and even murder until we reach our final destination, or rather the end of the book.

All that I really knew about the story before reading it was that it was based on Othello but set in space. Not that that helped me much as Othello is one of the many Shakespeare plays that I know pretty much nothing about. It turned out to be an advantage however as it would have probably given too much away about latter stages of this novel’s plot. I’d be interested to know though from those of you who are already familiar with the play as to how it affected your enjoyment of the book.

As to why I found it disappointing then. One of the main issues I had was with the internal dialogue of the main characters, in particular the fairly heavy use of exclamation marks. They’re meant to be 18/19 years old but when you’re often reading the likes of “Wow!” and “Oh my god!” and “Dahell!” it sometimes feels more like they’re 12. There’s also the problem of instalove and everything that goes with it, however I can somewhat appreciate that it’s needed with regards to the rest of the plot. Whilst I did read the last quarter in one sitting in order to find out how it all came together and confirm if my suspicions were correct (which I have to say they were), I wasn’t left with any real enthusiasm for what I had read. A shame as it’s the first of Malorie Blackman’s novels that I’ve read and so I’m now a little unsure as to whether it’s still worthwhile getting round to reading her Noughts & Crosses series.

I also have to comment on the final editing of the book. I’m used to finding the odd mistake or two in books and I usually let them slip by without comment, but the sheer volume of errors that weren’t spotted before production of this book is ridiculous. Missing speech marks, lower case I’s, paragraphs that hadn’t been properly separated and the repetition of words were all too distracting for me. I’m hoping that these are all corrected for future publications as every time I encountered an error it brought me right out of the story.

I’m sorry that I’m unable to finish this review on a positive note. Maybe I’m just being too harsh. I’ve finally settled on giving it 3 out of 5 stars on Goodreads instead of just 2 though so I guess there’s that.

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