ABOUT THE BOOK:
“Utterly swoony…an endearing reminder that true love can change the world”
—J. Elle, New York Times bestselling author of Wings of Ebony
To save a galactic kingdom from revolution, Kindred mind-pairings were created to ensure each and every person would be seen and heard, no matter how rich or poor…
Joy Abara knows her place. A commoner from the lowly planet Hali, she lives a simple life—apart from the notoriety that being Kindred to the nobility’s most infamous playboy brings.
Duke Felix Hamdi has a plan. He will exasperate his noble family to the point that they agree to let him choose his own future and finally meet his Kindred face-to-face.
Then the royal family is assassinated, putting Felix next in line for the throne…and accused of the murders. Someone will stop at nothing until he’s dead, which means they’ll target Joy, too. Meeting in person for the first time as they steal a spacecraft and flee amid chaos might not be ideal…and neither is crash-landing on the strange backward planet called Earth. But hiding might just be the perfect way to discover the true strength of the Kindred bond and expose a scandal—and a love—that may decide the future of a galaxy.
The premise of this book was intriguing. A society where everyone is mentally paired up with another person at birth, so that no one ever feels like they don’t have a voice. In Joy’s case, had she not been paired with Felix, the heir to the throne, she probably wouldn’t have had much of a voice at all. Poor and Black, she and her mother have to work hard to get by.
Joy and Felix have feelings beyond just Kindred-ship for each other, even though Joy has been given shots once a year for years that gave her the ability to block out her connection to Felix. Joy has resigned herself to fulfilling her obligation to her people, to getting married ( even though it’s going to be to someone she isn’t terribly fond of) and having children. Felix is throwing himself into music, distracting himself with the social scene to try to keep his mind off what he’s been raised to believe he can’t have with Joy. They haven’t even been allowed to meet, much less potentially fall in love like some Kindred pairs do.
Then the royal family is assassinated. Felix finds himself next in line for the throne, but he and Joy are also suspected of being the assassins. They have no choice but to flee, hoping to go to a system that’s friendly, or that at least won’t sound the alarm when they land. But things go awry, and they end up on Earth. In Florida. With a damaged ship. They’ve got to figure out how to blend in, fix the ship, and get back home.
I LOVE Joy. She is a delightful character, the embodiment of her name. She almost always can find the positive in a situation, and even on an alien planet, she finds it pretty easy to connect with people. I also love that she’s fat. While there are characters who would shame her for her size, she finds her worth and value without having to conform to someone else’s norm of beauty. It also helps that Felix adores her just the way she is, and it’s nice to see a romantic relationship where the characters aren’t portrayed as physically perfect.
Parts of the story really had me working to suspend my disbelief. Like the fact that Joy and Felix land on Earth and just happen to encounter, not only a student about their age whose surviving parent goes off and leaves him alone for days at a time, but also a community where there are already aliens there who can help them escape their pursuers. Really? Of all the places on this big planet, they land where there are already aliens. I know, I know, it’s science FICTION. I like the rest of the story well enough to not get hung up too much on this.
The civilization in which Felix and Joy live, and the other alien civilizations we see described, are well constructed. The villain of the story was pretty obvious early on, but another person who might have seemed to be a villain was a bit of a surprise. The teenage characters are written, and read like, teenagers. Overall, this was an enjoyable, clean story in a universe I want to read more about.
Thanks to Netgalley and Inkyard Press for an advance reader copy. All opinions here are mine, and I don’t say nice things about books I don’t like.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Alechia Dow is a former pastry chef, teacher, and librarian. When she’s not writing, you can find her having epic dance parties with her little girl, baking, reading, or traveling.
Author website: https://www.alechiadow.com/