The Light from Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki

The Light from Uncommon Stars by Ryka AokiThe Light from Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki
Published by Tor on September 21, 2021
Genres: Science fiction
Pages: 384
Format: Hardcover

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

About The Light from Uncommon Stars

Ryka Aoki’s The Light From Uncommon Stars is quite simply amazing. She deftly weaves the stories of three very different women together in a way that will punch you in the feels.

Katrina, an abused, trans, runaway with an incredible but unpolished talent as a violinist.

Shizuka, the Queen of Hell who made a bargain with the devil and now is paying with the souls of her students. One more soul delivered to Hell and she’s free. Katrina’s soul could mean Shizuka’s salvation.

Lan Tran, spaceship captain who escaped intergalactic war by fleeing to Earth with her family. They’ve bought a donut shop, Starrgate to help blend in.

My thoughts about The Light from Uncommon Stars

With three main characters, secondary characters, backstories, and side stories, this book could’ve been an absolute muddle. But it wasn’t. I always knew which character was speaking, who they were, what they were feeling.

The amount of detail about such a breadth of topics was amazing whether it was doughnut types and recipes or violins/violin makers/classical music/composers/gaming music. Yet it never felt like a dry info dump; instead, it was all so fascinating. And the descriptions of food, so luscious!

The found family trope is one of my favorites and The Light From Uncommon Stars scratched that itch so hard and satisfyingly. These characters show so much love and concern for each other that was heart-melting. Not just caring but affirming and protecting each other.

I got teary more than once reading this because I was so invested in the characters’ lives. I also giggled more than once at the joyfulness and hopefulness.

In conclusion

There are some seriously tough subjects in this book – transphobia, homophobia, abuse, rape, and racism. Ryka Aoki wrote them with amazing care, heart, honesty, and skill.

For fans of the Wayfarers series by Becky Chambers.

Thanks to NetGalley and Tor Books for the ARC.

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About Ryka Aoki

Ryka Aoki is a writer, performer, judo black belt, and professor of English at Santa Monica College.

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