Where the Stars Sing by Aminah Fox is a new dystopian novel with a scheduled publication date of October 4, 2021. Based on Goodreads, this will be the beginning of a new series. The story follows Charles Sykes who begins the book at 7 years old at which time a global science experiment goes wrong and people in this world develop superpowers. After seeing Charles briefly as a teenager secretly falling in love with Arthur, a rich boy from the mansion-filled side of town, we catch up with Charles as a 27 year old who now lives in his own mansion. He bumps into Arthur again and receives a mysterious book exposing some dark secrets of the world of Wonders.
I hate to rate an ARC as one star and especially a debut but this was just not good. I really tried but I did not like anything about it.
First off, the writing was incredibly confusing despite a fairly straightforward plot. Lots of long convoluted descriptions, random flashbacks that didn’t add anything, and a timeline that jumped around. Many of the chapters started out halfway through a thought and gave you all of Charles’ feelings about it and then told you what had happened. This was the same with characters, it’d give you all of this information (feelings, description, etc.) of a character that had appeared and it wouldn’t tell you who it was until a few paragraphs later. It was really annoying and made this really hard to read.
I also didn’t like Charles. He’s a bit of a sad sack that mopes around and doesn’t really do much except pet his rabbit. The romance(s) portion fell flat because Charles didn’t seem invested in Arthur or Francesca, I didn’t believe either one of them. He didn’t seem to care so I didn’t either. And possibly even more annoying, the dude gets superpowers and instead of learning about them, trying to use them, helping people, etc. like you’d expect, he researches and takes notes. If he doesn’t seem to care about anything, why would I want to read about it? I also have absolutely no idea how he went from poor to rich and the author never bothered to explain other than saying it was his job which we never know what it is or see him do.
Then there’s the world building or really lack of world building. This world is not developed at all. It just exists and we learn nothing about it through the book. There’s Nox and Wonders and Terrors and other terms thrown about but nothing is explained in any satisfactory way. The Compendium is never really explained and the whole Everhawk mess just doesn’t make sense, I still don’t really understand what all was happening there and the thing the bad guys were doing was ridiculously weird.
Lastly, and this may be because it was an ARC but, there is a lot of conflicting/confusing information throughout the book. This happened a lot with naming of people. Charles refers to his family members as “mom”, “dad” and “grandfather” but also by their first names, totally interchangeably. This especially weird in the first section when he’s supposed to be 7 and again, just made the book hard to read. There’s also a character who is referred to as “Wendy”, “Lynn” and “Wendy Lynn”. She’s only briefly in the book and within a few pages all of these are used. If this is a mistake, hopefully it’s fixed but if it is intentional, it’s just weird. Perhaps the most upsetting of the conflicting info is where Charles seems to develop telepathy for about 10 paragraphs in the middle of the book. Never mentioned before or again but for a little bit, he can read thoughts. What??
So obviously, I didn’t like this one and certainly won’t be continuing the series. It’s a shame, the premise really was interesting, even now rereading the blurb, I know why I requested it and wished I had enjoyed it more.
**I received an eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.**
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