Book Reviews

Review: Light from Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki

Light from Uncommon Stars is my most recent obsession. It’s tender and heart warming with scenes that will break your heart and put it back together. Beautifully written with fantastic emotional highs and lows, Light from Uncommon Stars is a true gem. Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.


Shizuka Satomi made a deal with the devil: to escape damnation, she must entice seven other violin prodigies to trade their souls for success. She has already delivered six.

When Katrina Nguyen, a young transgender runaway, catches Shizuka’s ear with her wild talent, Shizuka can almost feel the curse lifting. She’s found her final candidate.

But in a donut shop off a bustling highway in the San Gabriel Valley, Shizuka meets Lan Tran, retired starship captain, interstellar refugee, and mother of four. Shizuka doesn’t have time for crushes or coffee dates, what with her very soul on the line, but Lan’s kind smile and eyes like stars might just redefine a soul’s worth. And maybe something as small as a warm donut is powerful enough to break a curse as vast as the California coastline.

As the lives of these three women become entangled by chance and fate, a story of magic, identity, curses, and hope begins, and a family worth crossing the universe for is found.


(Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

TW: rape, racism, homophobia, misgendering, transphobia, outting, deadnaming, sexual assault

I was immediately hooked by Light from Uncommon Stars. By its magic, its captivating love of music, and its characters. You become instantly intrigued by these stories you don’t see behind people’s eyes. For the beginning of Light from Uncommon Stars, it felt like watching a flower unfurl. To see the ways their lives intersect full of missed connections and passing ships. Coincidences and opportunities we flounder that only speaks to the relatability of human experience.

But what truly lies at the core of Light from Uncommon Stars are the characters. Because the entirety of the book feels tender. Tender in the way that these characters not only form new relationships, but learn about themselves. Their limits, loves, and capacity for dreams. My love for this book stems from how precious Katrina, Lan, and Shizuka became to me. Moments where the characters melt my heart. Where their flaws pierce your heart with the pain and empathy.

Light from Uncommon Stars is emotional in ways you may, or may not, expect. It’s heart breaking and endearing all at once. A story about friendship, the essence of our obsessions and love, and our ability to imagine our own future. I would recommend Light from Uncommon Stars to absolutely everyone. If you love SF, this one may not have laser battles each scene, but there’s a distinct thread you will adore! And for everyone who doesn’t read SF, think of this as a story about passion, heart, and discovery.

(Disclaimer: Some of the links below are affiliate links. For more information you can look at the Policy page. If you’re uncomfortable with that, know you can look up the book on any of the sites below to avoid the link)

Find Light from Uncommon Stars on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound, & The Book Depository.


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