Author: Katie Khan
Publication Date: January 2017
Genre: Adult Fiction/Sci-Fi
Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone
Synopsis can be found here.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Hold Back The Stars is nothing like I’ve read before. Living in a utopian society, its citizens arerestricted from forming longterm romantic relationships with others until they turn 35 years of age, when they are encouraged to settle down and have a family.
Two young people (mid twenties) find themselves in love, and in a sticky situation. Get kicked out of their utopia? Or hide their relationship from everyone?
Sci-Fi Romeo & Juliet, it’s Carys and Max’s story from the beginning as they are floating through space, too far away from their ship and running out of oxygen. There, they reflect on their relationship and how they got there. And if, at all, they can get back.
The story bounces back and forth between the present and their memories, each giving new layers to their story in their utopian society. Carys is intelligent and independent, she has a job as a pilot and isn’t looking for a relationship. But when she meets Max, she knows something about him is different. Max comes from one of the founding families of their utopia and so even though he has feelings for Carys, he’s not sure he can go against everything he’s believed in since he was young, alienating his family in the process.
I really liked the premise and the pace of the story kept me on the edge of my seat. I like jumping back and forth between their current struggles and their memories of how they fell in love. There’s a lot of heartbreak and sadness and happy times, just like in real life. And I feel like the ending was satisfying and well done. Though I have to admit, there was something missing from the book.
The characters seemed too cardboard to me. I had a hard time sympathizing for Max and Carys, even when they were in space. There was a certain distance between me and the characters so that when emotional events did happen, I read them rather than felt them. Obviously, this is a problem when you have them then thrust out into the unknown, fighting for their lives. I was curious to know how it would tie up, but I was not emotionally invested in the characters which was sad considering the story required me to be.
Overall, the story is intriguing giving the reader lots to think about. Lots of sci-fi/romance readers will enjoy the smart world building.