Engagement season is in the air. Eighteen-year-old Princess Leonie “Leo” Kolburg, heir to a faded European spaceship, only has one thing on her mind: which lucky bachelor can save her family from financial ruin?
But when Leo’s childhood friend and first love Elliot returns as the captain of a successful whiskey ship, everything changes. Elliot was the one that got away, the boy Leo’s family deemed to be unsuitable for marriage. Now, he’s the biggest catch of the season and he seems determined to make Leo’s life miserable. But old habits die hard, and as Leo navigates the glittering balls of the Valg Season, she finds herself falling for her first love in a game of love, lies, and past regrets.
What I Thought:
You may know that I’m a sucker for a Jane Austen retelling, but that also extends to books that take their inspiration from Austen, and move the action to an original location – hence, I really enjoyed The Stars We Steal.
This book is loosely guided by Austen’s Persuasion, but the setting could NOT be more different, being set as it is in a future world where humans have abandoned the Earth and live in a cluster of spaceships. I know, right?? This is such an original take on a story that seems firmly rooted in the past, that to move it into the future is a brilliant idea.
I’ll ‘fess up – I’ve not actually read Persuasion (I may correct this this year with a category on #40for2020) so I don’t know how the books really compare. Having said that, you could read this book without having any idea of the Austen connection and still find it a compelling read.
There’s a bit of everything here – sci-fi, romance, social justice and more than one suspicious death – but despite the many ongoing threads, the narrative is clear.
The Earth in space is also clearly described and planned out, so we know exactly who is aligned to who (for the most part – mystery and smugglers too, you see) and what kinds of games are being played.
I also really enjoyed the central romance plot – the will-they-won’t-they between Elliot and Leo is delightfully maddening and it’s not a spoiler to say that it resolves to everyone’s satisfaction…
Overall, I would recommend this book (and actually have done already) and I would not be disappointed to see more set in this world, and from these characters.
The Stars We Steal is published by Titan Books.
Please note: I was sent this book for review. All opinions are, as ever, my own.