Light from Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki · Book review

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Shizuka Satomi has sacrificed the souls of six violinists to the devil, and has now found her seventh soul in runaway teen and violin prodigy Katrina. When she visits a local donut shop, owner Lan Tran catches her eye. What she doesn't realise is that the donut shop hides a spaceship, and the Tran family are actually aliens from another planet.

In amongst the quirky plot, the book touches on a lot of serious topics. The main one being the transphobia that Katrina experiences throughout the book. Her parents are unsupportive and abusive, she has to do sex work to make a living, and there's mentions of sexual assault. When she performs as a violinist on stage, she's misgendered and made fun of for wearing a dress. Most of the characters are Asian, so we also see some casual racism directed their way, as well as some bigotry towards two other LGBT characters. There's also the side plot of a violin-maker with super low self-esteem, because her father told her that the secrets of violin-making can only be passed down to his sons.

Unfortunately it didn't quite come together for me. The book tries to straddle too many things. I'll admit I went into expecting a comfy sci-fi read (the book is described as "Good Omens meets The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet") so I finished it feeling really confused and disappointed.

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Shards of Earth


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