The Stars Between Us by Cristin Terrill #BookReview #YA #scifi #mystery

There’s always been a mystery to Vika Hale’s life. Ever since she was a child, she’s had an unknown benefactor providing for her and her family, making sure that Vika and her sister received the best education they could. Now, Vika longs for a bigger life than one as a poor barmaid on a struggling planet, but those dreams feel out of reach. Until one day Vika learns that her benefactor was a billionaire magnate who recently died under suspicious circumstances, and Vika has shockingly been included in his will. Invited to live on a glittering neighboring planet, Vika steps into a world she can hardly believe is real.

The only blight on Vika’s lavish new life is the constant presence of Sky Foster, a mysterious young man from Vika’s past who works for her benefactors. She doesn’t like or trust Sky, but when she narrowly escapes an explosion and realizes someone is targeting the will’s heirs, Vika knows Sky is the only one who can help her discover the identity of the bomber before she becomes their next victim. As Vika and Sky delve into the truth of the attacks, they uncover a web of secrets, murder, and an underground rebellion who may hold the answers they’ve been looking for. But Sky isn’t who he seems to be, and Vika may not escape this new life unscathed.

In The Stars Between Us, Cristin Terrill sweeps readers away to a Dickensian-inspired world where secrets are currency and love is the most dangerous risk of all.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

What’s it about (in a nutshell):

The Stars Between Us by Cristin Terrill is a cozy sci-fi mystery for YA readers.

Initial Expectations (before beginning the book):

The first thing I noticed about the book is the cover. The stars forming a beautiful ballgown are so stunning. The cover’s cartoonish quality tells me this book is more of a light read, perhaps even humorous. The book description, interestingly, reads like a sci-fi thriller. So, I feel like I’m getting mixed messages about the book, which I’ve learned to take as a warning to the reading experience.

Actual Reading Experience:

The Stars Between Us, read as a cozy mystery, is compelling, and has some shocking twists and turns – all of which I enjoyed. I knew the culprit early on, but I had no idea the why. There is a predictability to the story, but that really wasn’t a huge concern until I became bored with reading it. At that point, I could see what the predictability was doing to me as the reader in this case.

The writing, though otherwise, is wonderfully accessible and flowed with an ease that I enjoyed. The dialogue flowed naturally, and the descriptions detailed a world foreign to me, which sounded very intriguing. However, the world-building stayed highly focused on Vika, so I couldn’t immerse myself in a world I didn’t know much about.

I did find the plot highly entertaining. Vika has been chosen to marry a billionaire’s son, and he only gets his inheritance if he weds her. On his way to meet Vika, his spaceship explodes, ejecting him into space. Once Vika goes to live with the couple that ended up inheriting the money by default, she makes it her mission to learn the killer’s identity before they strike again. This is a very compelling plot and leads to many thrills, spills, and shocking twists.

Characters:

The main character, Vika, is so shallow that I had a tough time with her. She professes to love her family, but she jumped at the first chance to get off the planet and live a life of luxury with complete strangers. In many instances, I didn’t understand her choices versus the words she said or thought. I would have understood, however, if she went with the couple to solve the mystery. Still, she didn’t decide to do this until further into the story.

None of the characters are particularly well-developed. They seemed to me to be almost as cartoonish as the cover. This story could have used more character development to add the depth it lacked.

Narration & Pacing:

I loved the story’s fast pace and the many thrills and spills. And the third-person focused narration was well done. I particularly loved the little breakaway sections that focused on the culprit and what they were thinking and feeling. This kept the intrigue up throughout the entire story.

Setting:

This book is set on two different planets: Philomenus and Ploutos. Philomenus was for the lower classes of this world’s society, while Ploutus was the planet for the upper classes. Travel between the planets frequently happened as the people on Ploutos often had business dealings in Philomenus.

To Read or Not to Read:

I think this story is perfect for younger YA readers unfamiliar with sci-fi and who want to get a touch of the genre. I can see where the story would positively captivate their young minds.

Ratings:

Overall

Rating: 4.5 out of 10.

Originality

Rating: 7 out of 10.

Writing Quality

Rating: 5 out of 10.

Pace  (note: generally speaking, I prefer a fast pace)

Rating: 8 out of 10.

Character Development

Rating: 2 out of 10.

‘Couldn’t Put It Down’-ness

Rating: 2 out of 10.

World-Building

Rating: 4 out of 10.

23 Replies to “The Stars Between Us by Cristin Terrill #BookReview #YA #scifi #mystery”

  1. Great review Tessa. I’m always cautious with books that are labelled YA as characters and plots can be very underdeveloped, which it sounds like this one was. I’m quite picky about that sort of thing 😊. I love your new more detailed rating system too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, thank you! I saw it on Edelweiss+, which is like NetGalley but is mostly used by librarians and book store personnel. I thought it better reflected thoughts. ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Character development is so important to fully enjoy a story. I would have also kept reading just to figure out the mystery.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t think this is a book for me, Tessa, since I enjoy strongly developed characters, but I can see why it might appeal to younger YA readers new to sci-fi. Thanks for the thoughtful review. And I like the rating system. Is that new or have I just been oblivious? Lol

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s new. I was poking around Edelweiss+ for no apparent reason and pushed the “review” button for the first time ever. They format their reviews with this multi-star system and I liked that, so I’m utilizing it and tweaked it a bit to fit my needs.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Nice, honest review, Tessa. I find YA is hit or miss for me and lack of developed characters would be a miss. The premise sounded good and I love the cover.

    Liked by 1 person

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