Wayward Stars (Starswept #2) by Mary Fan
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction
Publisher: Snowy Wings Publishing
Publication: February 26th 2019
My Rating: 4.5/5
A month has passed since Iris joined an underground rebel group to save Dámiul from the brutal prison he was sent to for fighting back against his world’s oppressive system. Here, conformity and compliance are enforced through telepathy, and Earthling performers are brainwashed into absolute obedience.
Word of a merciless crackdown on those who sympathize with their cause leaves both Iris and Dámiul yearning for action. Determined to liberate her kind, Iris volunteers to return to her former patrons and covertly recruit supporters.
A raid on their hideout catapults her plan into action sooner than expected and forces her to leave Dámiul behind. After persuading the authorities that she’d been telepathically manipulated into helping him, Iris assumes the role of a dutiful musician while secretly spreading whispers of a possible uprising among her fellow performers. But the authorities always seem to be one step ahead, and anyone who defies them is swiftly mind-wiped.
Soon, Iris is forced to confront a horrifying fact: there’s a traitor among them. Desperately clinging to her cover, she races to find out who before her true loyalties are discovered—and the search leads her to an unthinkable answer.
This book was provided to me by Mary Fan for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
The sequel starts fairly close to where Starswept left off. Iris and Dámiul are hiding in their hideout until suddenly the Adryil police find them. Iris soon finds herself back in Mistress Ydaya home with Cara and Milo as she pretends she was kidnapped and brainwashed by the (abolition) while trying to figure out how to free her fellow members of the Arts from this under covered slavery they are in.
I loved Iris so much. Especially in the sequel. The thing about Iris is that she never loses sight of her goal and objective — not even for the boy. Iris is persistent, brave and stands up for others even when fear is eating her up.
Much like in book one Mary Fan does such a fantastic job describing music. And I don’t mean describing it in sounds, but describing how it feels and the emotions it brings. It’s really powerful and it shows that she understands how music feels and how playing an instrument feels. As a former violist, the way Ms. Fan explains how playing/listening to a song feels to a musician is so magical. At times it gave me goosebumps.
The novel was split into two acts. Much like a play or musical. However, act one felt very slow and it felt like it dragged on for ages. I felt like nothing was really happening and I found myself putting the book down to go do other things. But it’s towards the end of act one that things begin to get very interesting and I could put the book down. And act two was phenomenal, it really felt like the second part of a symphony where everything comes together and many things are happening at the same time. It could not set the book down during act two. I don’t want to say too much without giving away too much, but the way Ms. Fan wrote Iris’ thoughts and her actions were so great. Especially the muscle memory about the fact that you never truly forget something or someone.
New characters were introduced in Wayward Stars and they were all so fantastic. However, the one person we still haven’t met was Iris’ mom which annoyed me a bit because in book one Iris was very desperate to reunite with her mom but in book two it is never brought up even when Dámiul destroyed the walls blocking her memories. How did someone so important to Iris just become so meaningless? The whole time I was waiting for her to run into her mom, but nada.
Other than the lack of mom, my other key complaint was that sometimes the dialogue was a bit hard to follow when Dámiul and Iris were communicating through thoughts using the Zexa device. It was hard to differentiate who was speaking and I have to read the passages several times to try to figure out if it was Iris speaking or Dámiul.
Wayward Stars was a fun read, and I when I reached the end I was caught off guard because I wanted to read more! Did they win? Is change coming? Where is Iris’ mom? And the beautiful opera singer Estelle? I have so many questions!!!
If you haven’t read Starswept check my book review. You should definitely give it a read.
Also, check out the special interview with Mary Fan on my blog!