Tuesday, March 3, 2020

The Stars We Steal by Alexa Donne

Summary from Goodreads:
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.
I absolutely loved Brightly Burning, and as soon as I learned that Alexa Donne was going to re-tell an Austen story in space (like she did Bronte), I put a request in at the library. I completely forgot about said request. And then when it came in, it was like a surprise birthday present (not on my birthday). I pushed aside all other books. Persuasion is a close second favorite Austen book for me. There’s not a lot of retellings out there of it….let alone YA retellings of it…let alone YA retellings of it in space….
I’m glad that I was able to get my fears out of the way with Jane Eyre in space. So, I knew that this author could handle the intricacies of a well-known plot put to a modernized setting. Otherwise, I might have been a little hesitant to start this. Instead I approached it like a big bowl of microwave popcorn. I dug in. I left little left until I was completely done. Basically, I finished it super quickly.
I like that the author took liberties with time. Leo thankfully did not have to wait as long as Anne Elliot (From Persuasion) for the return of her true love. I also love that Donne turned Austen-eque courting into an almost The Bachelor-type dating game. I’d love to know what Jane Austen would think of reality tv dating shows…
This book also had a lot more political background to it. There’s  captain campaigns, black markets, mini revolutions, classicism, upstairs/downstairs hierarchies, and plenty of otherworldly suspense in the background of all the dating game courtships, wayward persuasions, and necessary marriage proposals. I loved every moment of it. I also loved the characters. The sister relationship, the cousin rivalry, the newfound friendships, and the dating moments were all so much fun to read about.
There were a couple of totally cliché moments involving the villain of the story and Leo’s mother that I didn’t really think added much to the overall plot. I kind of wish they weren’t there. I knew they were coming from a mile away. They made the bad character of the story seem more like a cartoon evil villain and less like a real person. I feel like she was bad enough without that. But, still, it was a very small part of the story.
This is the second Jane Austen type book I’ve read in a row, and I have to say this is definitely my preferred book of the two. I hope Alexa Donne continues to retell stories in space, and I cannot wait to see what she comes up with next. I give this a 9/10.

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