Alien invasion? Post-apocalyptic vibe? Count me in! I was so excited about The Stars in Their Eyes because I’ve been searching for that post-apocalyptic world to suck me back in. And while this book certainly has it, what I loved more was the ways it navigates humanity. Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.
The stakes were clear after the Change – survive together, or die.
Calay and Tess’s love has kept them alive four years after the aliens decimated Earth. But when Calay finds herself fighting for her life and Tess missing, she hears death knocking. Banging, really. She has nothing. Scraps for food, the clothes on her back, no safe place for respite. And yet, she is determined to risk it all to reunite with the one woman she has ever loved. She only has one choice: she must find Tess.
Reluctantly, Calay braves the new nightmares of a ravaged Pacific Northwest, alone. Thrust into the darkness, she is haunted by horrors beyond her imagination — alien executioners, a mysterious man whom she can’t quite put her finger on, the rise of a sinister cult, and a shocking family secret that challenges everything she thinks she knows.
As the lines between good and evil blur, Calay’s desperation threatens to spill what’s left of her humanity. Her heart smeared across her tattered sleeve, she is pulled deeper into the madness of a world that has become kill or be killed. Calay realizes she must deny her feral instincts and resist becoming a monster herself, confronting her demons as share stares down the barrel of a terrifying truth: she may actually be forever alone. Time is running out and she knows it. Her only hope is to become who she is truly meant to be and unify with the love of her life once and for all. But, at what cost?
To survive, Calay must choose between the unthinkable: give up, or give ‘em hell.
TW: sexual assault, torture
The Stars in Their Eyes has an explosive beginning, quite literally. With flashbacks to the past, we find ourselves wondering what happened. And while this intrigue holds you over for the book, I ended up being more fascinated by the themes of humanity. Because in this search to save the person we love, will we become unrecognizable? Will what we have to do turn us into someone else? Throughout The Stars in Their Eyes, this world asks us what humanity will do for itself, to itself, at the end of our world.
Because the world doesn’t have to literally end for our world to end. And when humanity, when individuals, are faced with their end, what do we resort to? The ways in which our trust has eroded and we can’t even trust ourselves. While reading, you find out that before the aliens came, humanity may have lost its way. And what becomes a story about finding the one we love, turns into something far more dangerous. I think my only complaint in The Stars in Their Eyes is the pacing towards the end.
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There was so much good stuff in terms of plot and thematic exploration, that I just wish there was a bit more time to fully sink into them. To reconcile with our past choices and the consequences. Because throughout the book Calay really has to find her own power and choices. In these survival stories we can feel like we’re just being pushed towards something. To survival, to the next meal, and we forget the conscious choice of who we will become. The different approaches to survival and to life after. How our fear can twist our decisions. If you like the idea of these themes in a post-apocalyptic world – with aliens – then you have to give this a read. Find The Stars in Their Eyes on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound, Bookshop.org & The Book Depository.