Blog Tour: Review & Giveaway “Under Different Stars” by Amy A. Bartol

Quando la copertina di “Under Different Stars” è capitata, un po’ per caso, sotto i miei occhi qualche settimana fa, me ne sono subito innamorata, tanto da parlarne nel meme “Cover Lovers” (il post lo trovate qui) e anche nella mia pagina Facebook. Già allora avevo però notato che, sebbene venisse presentata come una distopia, l’elemento principale sembrava essere quello sci-fi. Ora dopo la lettura non posso che confermare quella mia iniziale sensazione, sottolineando che comunque ho decisamente amato questo libro (ma ne parlerò nella recensione). Questo è anche il primo libro di una serie (Kricket), di cui scommetto mi sentirete parlare in futuro, scritta da Amy A. Bartol, autrice già di un’altra serie di successo “The Premonition Series”.

When the cover of “Under Different Stars” has happened to appear, a little by chance, under my eyes a few weeks ago, I immediately fell in love, so much to talk about it in the meme “Cover Lovers” (the post can be found here) and also on my Facebook page. Even then, however, I noticed that, although it was presented as a dystopia, the main element seemed to be sci-fi. Now after reading it, I can confirm my initial feeling, emphasizing that however I really loved this book (but I’ll talk about it in the review). This is also the first book in a series (Kricket), of which I bet you’ll hear more from me in the future, written by Amy A. Bartol, the author of another hit series “The Premonition”.

Title: Under Different Stars
Author: Amy A. Bartol
Date of Publication: December 17th 2013
Language: English
Source: Publisher E-ARC – Blog Tour
Genre: YA, Dystopian, Sci-fi, Romance

All she wants is a home, but can she find one…UNDER DIFFERENT STARS

Kricket Hollowell is normally not one to wish upon stars; she believes they’re rarely in her favor. Well versed at dodging caseworkers from Chicago’s foster care system, the past few years on her own have made Kricket an expert at the art of survival and blending in. With her 18th birthday fast approaching, she dreams of the day when she can stop running and find what her heart needs most: a home.

Trey Allairis hates Earth and doubts that anyone from his world can thrive here. What he’s learning of Kricket and her existence away from her true home only confirms his theory. But, when he and Kricket lie together under the stars of Ethar, counting them all may be easier than letting her go.

Kyon Ensin’s secrets number the stars; he knows more about Kricket’s gifts than anyone and plans to possess her because of them. He also knows she’s more valuable than any fire in the night sky. He’ll move the heavens and align them all in order to make her his own.

When everything in their world can be broken, will Kricket rely upon love to save her under different stars?

 

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Kricket Hollowell has always had to fend for herself, although she is only a seventeen girl with blond hair and violet eyes. She knows she can not count on anyone but herself and a few trusted friends like Enrique and Bridget, who considers in some ways her family. Shortly before her coming of age, she also knows she have to be more careful than usual, because so little time separates her from freedom and, after years of running away from the terrible social services, she can not afford to end up back in that hellish system. Her dream is very close, and soon she will come of age and at last be free to do what she wants for a long time: attend Northwestern University and get back the control over her life.

Suddenly, though, she is chased by strange men, massive and very tall, with eyes like hers and tribal tattoos on their neck. They say their name are Trey and Jax, but is what they will say after that proves they are looking for her. They know, in fact, her name and say to want to bring her back home, to Ethar, a place she has never heard before, to pay for her crimes. With a clever trick, she manages to escape and outrun them, but inside she knows that those people are not part of social services, even if they do not know who she is. Those, however, are not the only men chasing her: another group of threatening men with blond hair seem to be interested in her and soon one of the two groups will be able to capture her.

Kricket is the opposite of the damsel in distress, she knows she can get away at all time simply by her own efforts. She had to face major challenges in her short life and has become a master in the art of survival. Yet, in a place that she doesn’t know like Ethar, her home planet, will she be able to fit in and not be crushed by events, all of which seem to revolve around her figure?

To do so she will have to come to terms with her solitary existence and trust of those around her, hoping not to have undue reliance placed in them. One of those people is Trey Allairis of Rafe clan, which seems to be sincere towards her and also seems to be willing to bring her safely to the place he calls “home”.

The relationship between Trey and Kricket will become more deeper during the return journey, but the challenges that they will be submitted and the obstacles that lie in their path, will test this feeling that both seem to have started to feel.

Furthermore, in Ethar things are much more complicated than Kricket could imagine. She will soon be caught up in power struggles bigger than her and that closely concern her, as she is the central piece of the game that sees the two major clans (Rafe and Alameeda) as the main contenders for power on the planet.

The setting and the world now around Kricket are described in a realistic way so as to make it very believable. From ceremonies to “bind” to a person, until the reasons why she is so important for the two clans, everything seems to fit perfectly into the overall picture of the world of Ethar.

The dystopian elements may have been far too few to make me think of this book as a dystopia, but I have faith, imagining that being the first book, the next in the series will focus a lot more on this genre. I would however recommend this novel to lovers of sci-fi series (such as “Darkover” by Marion Zimmer Bradley, another series for which I am crazy about) and those who love fantasy series, dealing with distant worlds in which power struggles dominate society.

In conclusion, “Under Different Stars” is a really well written book, from which I could hardly tear myself away, with characters to love and, as a background, another world, which hides many dangers to be known through the protagonist’s eyes.

Rating: 

In italiano

Kricket è l’opposto della damigella in pericolo, sa di potersela cavare in qualsiasi situazione semplicemente con le sue forze. Ha dovuto affrontare sfide importanti nella sua breve vita ed è diventata una maestra nell’arte della sopravvivenza. Eppure, in luogo che non conosce come Ethar, il suo pianeta natale, sarà in grado di adattarsi e non farsi schiacciare dagli eventi, che sembrano tutti ruotare intorno alla sua figura?

Per farlo dovrà venire a patti con la sua esistenza solitaria e fidarsi di coloro che la circondano, sperando di non aver riposto in loro una fiducia ingiustificata. Una di quelle persone sarà Trey Allairis del clan Rafe, che sembra essere sincero nei suoi confronti e sembra anche essere intenzionato a portarla sana e salva nel luogo che lui chiama casa.

Il rapporto tra Trey e Kricket si farà sempre più profondo durante il viaggio di ritorno, ma le sfide a cui saranno sottoposti e gli ostacoli che si trovano sul loro cammino, metteranno alla prova questo sentimento che entrambi sembrano aver iniziato a provare.

Ad Ethar, inoltre, le cose si rivelano molto più complicate di quanto Kricket potesse immaginare. Sarà presto intrappolata in lotte di potere più grandi di lei e che la riguardano da vicino, essendo lei la pedina centrale del gioco che vede i due clan maggiori (Rafe e Alameeda) come principali contendenti per il potere sull’intero pianeta.

L’ambientazione e il mondo che ci circonda ora Kricket sono descritti in un modo così realistico da rendere il tutto molto credibile. Dalle cerimonie per “legarsi” ad una persona, fino alle motivazioni per cui Kricket è così importante per i due clan, tutto sembra incasellarsi perfettamente nel quadro complessivo del mondo di Ethar.

Gli elementi distopici forse sono stati davvero troppo pochi per farmi pensare a questo libro come una distopia, ma ho fiducia, immaginando che essendo il primo libro, i successivi della serie saranno incentrati molto più su questo genere. Mi sento comunque di consigliare vivamente questo romanzo agli amanti delle serie sci-fi (come “Darkover” di Marion Zimmer Bradley, altra serie per cui stravedo) e a coloro che amano serie fantasy, che trattano di mondi lontani in cui le lotte di potere dominano la società.

In conclusione, “Under Different Stars” è un libro davvero ben scritto, da cui a stento sono riuscita a staccarmi, con personaggi decisamente da amare e con sullo sfondo un altro mondo, che nasconde numerose insidie, da conoscere attraverso gli occhi della protagonista.

Voto: 

Excerpt

Water swirls around me as I open my eyes. I shiver, realizing I’m in Trey’s arms. He’s standing chest deep in crystal blue water with Wayra pacing on the bank only steps away. Clutching Trey closer to me, my cheek remains on his shoulder. Watching a bead of water slip down his powerful neck, I hear Jax say, “She’s waking up.”

Trey, cupping his hand in the water, pours some of it over my hair. It drips down the sides of my face, cooling me. “Let’s get her out. I’ll get the visor and we can check her vitals.”

As Trey wades out of the pond with me in his arms, I try to lift my head from his shoulder. It makes me dizzy so I lay it back. It’s then I notice that I’m only in my bra and underwear. A blush creeps into my cheeks as I hug Trey tighter to me. Wayra meets us on the bank, draping a blanket over us. Trey sits down with me on his lap. He leans against a tree trunk holding me securely to his chest. Peeking at his face, he seems angry as he smoothes my hair back from my face.

Hurrying over with the visor that looks like grandma goggles, Trey sets them on my eyes. Everything is green as I gaze around at the water in front of us. Flashing green lights and readouts occupy the peripherals of the glasses, but the information is running faster than I can possibly read it.

“Ho!” Jax exclaims next to me.

Immediately, Trey’s arms tighten on me as he barks out, “What? How bad is it?”

“Naw, it’s not bad…it’s just…Kricket…” Jax breathes, like he’s in awe.
“Look at this brain activity…it’s massive.”

“What do you mean?” Trey asks with relief in his tone.

Jax grins. “She’s lighting everything up. Look at her frontal lobe…it’s off the charts.”

“What does that mean? Is she healthy?” Trey growls.

Jax nods enthusiastically. “She’s healthy! We didn’t fry her with heat stroke, that’s for sure. Or, if we did, she’s got more brain activity than anyone I’ve ever seen to compensate for it,” he replies, sounding seriously geeked about it.

“Those things aren’t broken, are they?” Trey asks speculatively.

“No…here.” Jax pulls them off my face. “Wayra, come here.”

Wayra walks over and Jax puts the glasses on his eyes. “See! He’s normal, well, normal for him. See how it doesn’t light up in these areas?” he points out to Trey.

“Yes.”

“Now watch this,” he says, taking the glasses off of Wayra, he places them back on my face. “See? It’s like Christmas in Chicago with all those lights,” Jax says proudly.

“So that means she’s smart?”

Jax beams. “Yeah, she’s smart! She’s brilliant! There’s no telling what she can do.”

“If she’s so smart, why did she run until she almost popped? Why didn’t she just tell us she needed to rest?” Wayra asks derisively.

“Personality flaw,” Trey replies. “She’s going to show us that she’s not weak.”

“She’s sitting right here,” I murmur, pulling the glasses off my face and handing them to Jax.

About the Author

I live in Michigan with my husband and our two sons. My family is very supportive of my writing. When I’m writing, they often bring me the take-out menu so that I can call and order them dinner. They listen patiently when I talk about my characters like they’re real. They rarely roll their eyes when I tell them I’ll only be a second while I finish writing a chapter…and then they take off their coats. They ask me how the story is going when I surface after living for hours in a world of my own making. They have learned to accept my “writing uniform” consisting of a slightly unflattering pink fleece jacket, t-shirt, and black yoga pants. And they smile at my nerdy bookishness whenever I try to explain urban fantasy to them. In short, they get me, so they are perfect and I am blessed.

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BLOG TOUR GIVEAWAY (OPEN INTERNATIONALLY):

– 1st place: KINDLE FIRE + ebook of Under Different Stars

– 2nd place: Kindle Cover + $50 Amazon Gift Card

– 3rd place: $50 Amazon Gift Card

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GIVEAWAY CONDITIONS:

– Giveaway administered by Amy A. Bartol

– Winners will be notified via email and if winner does not respond within 5 days another winner will be selected

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