THE STARS WE STEAL
Written by Alexa Donne
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, February 4th, 2020
My star rating – 3.5 stars
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. Find it on Goodreads
There’s a big chance that this review won’t make any sense at all…. i’ve got quite a few mixed feelings on this one!! The positives were really great – but the negatives were really annoying. It might sound at times like i’m being really harsh with this book so stick with me! Even though there were elements of this book that I didn’t enjoy, I can explain my reading experience as FUN! It wasn’t perfect yet I still had a really good time 🙂
When I read the synopsis to this book I was completely sold due to three things – space, a whiskey ship, and a love to hate to love relationship. Sadly, all three of these things fell flat…….. I guess I’m jumping into this review with the negatives first then…..
1 – Space. As a huge lover of science fiction novels, in comparison, this element was lost to me. I wanted more space!! At times I honestly forgot that they weren’t on land and felt that the book would have been relatively close to the same if it were set on earth. Ok, they spacewalked for fun once….. I guess that’s spacey right? And there was talk of docking fees with larger ships and water filtration systems….. but it wasn’t a large enough aspect for me to say to myself “YAY SPACE!”
2 – The whiskey ship. When I think of a whiskey ship, I think burley workers. Dudes with bad language, beards, bar songs, booming laughter, and the search for a good time. Nope. That’s my fault for assuming I guess. I just hoped that the ‘whiskey ship’ would have been a central focus but it wasn’t. Well, it was actually, but it went in a totally different direction. I can’t say why – you’ll have to read it to find out!
3 – Love to hate to love relationship. Annnnnnnd here’s where this book took the biggest dive for me! Things started off well enough. We learn that these two people have a past and were once engaged for a total of 12 hours. Something happened, their engagement fell through, and they separated. Now, here they are years later, completely over each other, but finding themselves stuck in a gravitational pull towards each other. They tried to convince themselves that they were over and to move on yet they slowly moved towards warmth. I LOVED that!!!! Then, something happens due to a lack of communication and they fall apart. This is something that I absolutely HATE in books. If they had just talked then none of this would have happened!!! Is it really that hard? Both characters even admitted that they were stubborn idiots and should have just talked to each other….. seriously???! This scenario always bothers me in books but this one was particularly irksome!
There was also an element of revolt that happened very early on in this book and it never took off from that point. It was mentioned in passing but never fully explored. I hoped that there would be more from that story line instead of sticking with royals dancing and dating….
Whew! Negatives out of the way, lets’s get to the positives! This is basically the bachelorette in space with matches being made to financial, royal, and political power. I absolute can’t stand the bachelorette yet, in this book, I loved it! What is happening to me? I thought I would be rolling my eyes on repeat but I was all in for it! I loved the different ways that these couples were brought together. I loved the apps used, statistics, events, and so much more. It wasn’t just one match that was explored but many. To say that I’m shocked by my enjoyment of this is an understatement! Apparently the author did something really right to make me like this lol! I kept imagining the characters with their different matches and wondering who would make the best couple and why….. I’ve lost my mind lol!
Another element that was really well written was the sister/sister relationships and the friendships. Both of them showed all sides of a relationship. Knowing when to support each other, realizing that even though you may be upset at someone that you can still support and be there for them, and being loyal no matter what. I don’t have any siblings but, if I did, I would want a relationship like this one! Also, as Leo has always been responsible for the family, she never took the time to make friends. She starts a friendship with someone and allowing that to grow and put her guard down was really interesting!
No, this book wasn’t the most original thing I’ve ever read. And, no, I didn’t think it was even close to perfect. BUT – I had an absolute blast while reading it! Sometimes that’s better than a perfect book. I found myself thinking back to certain scenes and things that happened with a smile on my face. I would all of a sudden conjure a vision of how something would look if it were made into a movie or something. I will most definitely read more from this author!
Thank you so much to Raincoast Books Canada and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for the chance to read this in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own and are uninfluenced.
Until next time, happy reading!