ARC Review: All the Stars Left Behind

All the Stars Left BehindAll the Stars Left Behind by Ashley Graham
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Release date: June 6, 2017

Relocating to Arctic Norway would put a freeze on anyone’s social life. For Leda Lindgren, with her crutches and a chip on her shoulder the size of her former Manhattan home, the frozen tundra is just as boring as it sounds. Until she meets her uncle’s gorgeous employee.

Unfortunately, no matter how smoking hot the guy is, Roar comes with secrets as unnerving as his moving tattoos. And Leda doesn’t trust him.

Roar shouldn’t be drawn to the moody human girl with eyes that leave him weak in the knees. But when Leda gets shot by one of his enemies and survives, Roar finally understands why he’s drawn to her: Leda is exactly what he was sent to Earth to find. A weapon of immense power capable of saving his planet.

She just doesn’t know it yet.

When I read the blurb, I was non-committal about it. When I started I thought – Oh, this book had so much promise! An alien story with a disable MC, and an intergalactic war – it had some good components, but the writing failed it. So, you have these two species – Aurelite and Weodes – both at war with each other, with the latter having an upper hand, and the former a hidden weapon that was to be retrieved from Earth. So Aurelia sends Roar, who is basically a genetic bloodhound, to get the weapon back, who is Leda, our MC. On the way to the planet they are meant to save, though, they come across many obstacles like a kidnapping, space attacks, and their ill-fated love (eyeroll for the last one).

I’m going to start with what I like first, because if I started with the opposite, this review will go on and on. I liked that it has a diverse set of characters – disabled POC (in human sense, not alien, but she is not white, basically) main character, a transgender character, (at least) two gay characters, and possibly an alien-human romance. The story is novel, in a way, utilizing the diverse cast in the plot structure. It also takes unexpected twists, which kept me on my toes, sort of. And it has a fast pace, so you are not bored if you are looking for a space adventure. It is also good on details, when it came to the science and the action.

However, this book had many problems, starting with plotholes that I was getting exponentially enraged by. I’ll list out a few but it’s not a complete list. It is never mentioned how long Roar and his squad were on Earth before he found her – when it is clear that he has an instant connection to her like a beacon. And when he found her, it still takes some time for her guardians to reveal her to him, which considering they are raising her for, didn’t sit with the adults-hiding-the-truth cliche that somehow all YA novels have; wasn’t the war in Aurelia time sensitive enough for them to not waste time dawdling on Earth. And then when they finally decide to go? They waste days fixing the spaceship’s cloaking system which is useless BECAUSE THEY GET ATTACKED MULTIPLE TIMES IN SPACE ANYWAY SO THAT CLOAKING SYSTEM CLEARLY WAS USELESS TO WASTE PRECIOUS TIME ON! Where is the urgency in returning the weapon back to the planet they are meant to save? And how did Leda survive in space without a suit during that climactic scene (last I heard, vacuum was still a thing)? *screams in frustration*

Another grievance I had was the characters – sure, they are diverse, but there is barely any development between them. Nils (a half-Weode) and Leda – instant friends and days later, Nils is friends with the Roar and his crew as well, though they all have a war between them. He even asks to come along with them as a hostage, because what? He suddenly feels a strong friendship with them or Leda? It is never shown how they become friends; everything just falls into place a few pages later and we are supposed to go along with that. And lets not even start with the instalove between Leda and Roar. Even with their supposed genetic connection, which also becomes a hindrance to them, these two had no chemistry. And speaking of that hindrance, since when is blood being incompatible equals to them not being able to bone? They kiss quite fine – without any energy explosions, so what gives with, um, other kinds of fluids to mingle? Even if they did bump uglies, how would they blood reacting to each other be a problem unless they have some sort of weird sex involving bleeding?

And lastly, what is with these villains popping out of freaking nowhere? You can’t sacrifice logic for cheap twists in plot! Where did that other bounty hunter come from? How is Aurelian society a capitalistic utopia that still has equal rights for all citizens but still they have a big economic divide? World-building seems to the weak point of this book. Anyway, so I was pretty much infuriated by the end, because I could see how the book had good components, but it had all been arranged so badly or not utilized well enough. Instead, we get three very detailed kissing scenes, and endless angst over a sexual relationship.

Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review from
Entangled Publishing, LLC, via Netgalley.

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One thought on “ARC Review: All the Stars Left Behind

  1. Pingback: May Wrap-Up | YA on my Mind

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