I have very mixed feelings this book. That makes reviewing it somewhat uncomfortable.
Inan is a fun character. She’s not human and her society is different, but she rebels against their expectations in such a familiar way. Add Hijinks to the story and things get even more fun. Hijinks is an odd mix of tough and endearing that makes her a great sidekick for Inan. And both of them need to work together with human Alan to achieve their goals. There are a few great scenes where one relies heavily on the strengths of another and where they help each other face fears.
However, the opening of the book was a bit tricky. It started slow then played with time in a way that really didn’t make sense to me. I didn’t really get hooked until Hijinks was involved. Also the early things about her not being supposed to read books about the stars confused me when it was then quickly established that interplanetary travel was normal for her species. That setup and anxiety about the book made me expect a closed society that didn’t allow contact with other planets.
A part of me is very unhappy not to rave about this book. The character interactions were fun. The world had some interesting and creative pieces. The characters made choices that impacted what happened to them.
But… There’s always a but, isn’t there?
But the conclusion didn’t feel fully satisfying to me, although I’m likely more critical than the average reader. It tied up a big aspect of the plot, but I don’t feel like Inan and the others had enough character development in achieving the climax of the story. Instead of that happy full of story feeling when I think back over the reading experience, I feel a little let down. Like the potential the story had wasn’t fulfilled.
It doesn’t help that an aspect of the ending relied on a coincidental fix. Nor does the blatant hook for a sequel on the last page assist in making me remember it fondly. But it’s more than that, although I struggle to explain it, especially without adding spoilers.
I would definitely read more work from this author because the writing showed real talent for character and world. And I suspect a lot of other readers will have far more warm fuzzy feelings for this one than I, which is great. I just want a little bit more from my reading experience.
Overall I am only able to give this 3 stars.
Note: I did not purchase this book, but chose to download it from NetGalley with the intention of reviewing it.