You better prepare yourself for picking up A Conspiracy of Stars because it will absolutely captivate you. I started it and stayed up until I was done. It took me hours, but I stayed up until I couldn’t see anymore.
Octavia has only ever had one goal: to follow in the footsteps of her parents and become a prestigious whitecoat, one of the scientists who study the natural wonders of Faloiv. The secrets of the jungle’s exotic plants and animals are protected fiercely in the labs by the Council of N’Terra, so when the rules suddenly change, allowing students inside, Octavia should be overjoyed.
But something isn’t right. The newly elected leader of the Council has some extremist views about the way he believes N’Terra should be run, and he’s influencing others to follow him. When Octavia witnesses one of the Faloii—the indigenous people of Faloiv—attacked in front of her in the dark of night, she knows the Council is hiding something. They are living in separate worlds on a shared planet, and their fragile peace may soon turn into an all-out war.
With the help of Rondo, a quiet boy in class with a skill for hacking, and her inquisitive best friend, Alma, Octavia is set on a collision course to discover the secrets behind the history she’s been taught, the science she’s lived by, and the truth about her family.
So it’s been terribly difficult to write a review about A Conspiracy of Stars because there isn’t anything I didn’t love. This is one of the most unique science fiction stories I have read in a long time, not only for its content, but it’s amazing world building. If you like zoology and fiction, then you absolutely need to check out A Conspiracy of Stars.
But besides that, A Conspiracy of Stars is incredibly rich in themes – free will, science versus emotions, and respect. One of my favorite was the different ways the characters in the book view the native population, the Faloiv. It’s almost equal parts respect, mixed with some fear, and what Cole does well is communicate the varying feelings of the community.
When we’re guests, but it becomes our home, how does our relationship change to the planet, the native people, and the environment? In A Conspiracy of Stars Cole asks us what we should do, even if we can do more? In the book, the various community members have opinions that range from respect, all the way to anger, grief, and fear. Along with the shifting politics, the main character, Octavia, and her friends have to figure out not only where they stand, but what they will fight for.
Another theme that I enjoyed was how her father, who I have many thoughts on, does not think that you can be scientific and emotional. Numerous times he tells Octavia about how she’s too emotional, but her mom sticks up for her and tells Octavia that empathy, compassion, and passion are all necessary. Not just pure science.
Throughout A Conspiracy of Stars there is a tension that only builds to a crescendo. We wonder what she’s stumbled upon and within this almost hyper competitive atmosphere, who can Octavia trust? Cole delivers a stunning look at ethics, respect, and friendship in the face of lies, deception, and intolerance.
One last peep from me on A Conspiracy of Stars, I loved how Cole shows the important not only of taking care of our future, but also honoring and learning about our past. When our future is at stake, can we learn from our mistakes in the past?