Book – Our Child of the Stars by Stephen Cox
Brief disclaimer: Stephen is a member of my writing group, though I joined just before the book came out so I wasn’t involved in the actual process of giving him feedback on it as he went along.
As with the last review I am going to be breaking this into two parts, a spoiler free one and one with spoilers. The second part will be under a cut for those who wish to avoid it.
The book is the story of Molly and Gene Myers, who sadly have lost their own child. In the aftermath a meteor strikes their small town and changes their lives forever as hidden in that event is the crash of a spaceship. The sole survivor, Cory, is a young boy who the Myers end up adopting.
Cory has to be kept secret though for fear of the government taking him and that means not telling anyone in their lives, not friends or family, but can such a secret be kept forever? And can Cory help heal the Myers and can they help him deal with the trauma of his own loss?
The story is a beautiful tale of family and the love between one, no matter how the family comes to be constructed. As the relationships are central to the story I wouldn’t call this a high action book, though it does get more tense as it progresses. I would also say that it doesn’t need to be. Like Becky Chambers Wayward series, the focus is more on the characters so what it needs to carry it is strong voices and that is what you get.
Gene, Molly and Cory are all well developed people who jump off the page at you. None of them are perfect and that makes them more real. Likewise you get to see a number of people in the town, many with differing views on politics and other things, yet most with a strong sense of community in spite of those differences and that is really refreshing to see.
Overall the messages in the book are pretty positive. Not all of the people are nice and some make terrible choices, but they all have their own motivations and differing goals so the cast feels pretty solid. The nicer parts of human nature are shown more but that feels like a deliberate choice to be more positive and that works well.
I have been struggling to put words to why I gave the book 4 stars instead of 5, because it is a good book and I definitely enjoyed it. I think it’s likely that something just isn’t quite clicking with me in the way I require for it to be 5 stars, but it is also a debut novel so plenty of room to grow and I am very much looking forward to the sequel.
Spoiler part below
The book has a slow burn plot to it, but I did like that the more people who got brought into the circle of knowing, the more you felt sure that something was going to go wrong and get out. When it does I think I was slightly disappointed that the leak did not come from the circle of friends and family, but from a nurse who knew from the hospital and wasn’t liked. It just seemed a little bit of a cop out. I mean, someone we like as a character could have let something slip by accident, such things do happen and that would have perhaps felt a little bit more real to me.
I think that was my only real issue with the story and it’s not a major one. The characters do make mistakes, but I loved that. I liked that the bad guys had understandable motivations and were not just one note villains who were bad guys for the sake of having conflict.
Given the state of the world at the moment I must say that reading something with an overall positive vibe on humans interacting with an alien was lovely and frankly a nice palate cleanser from all the doom and gloom my normal life seems to have going on.
Highly recommend taking a look, the book is well written and the author is absolutely lovely.