Orphaned, disgraced, and stripped of her title, Rho is ready to live life quietly, as an aid worker in the Cancrian refugee camp on House Capricorn.
But news has spread that the Marad–an unbalanced terrorist group determined to overturn harmony in the Galaxy–could strike any House at any moment.
Then, unwelcome nightmare that he is, Ochus appears to Rho, bearing a cryptic message that leaves her with no choice but to fight.
Now Rho must embark on a high-stakes journey through an all-new set of Houses, where she discovers that there’s much more to her Galaxy–and to herself–than she could have ever imagined.
When Romina promised me an ARC of this book, I was so excited that words were hard pressed to convey it. And yet, even within all of my excitement, there was that voice in the back of my head that kept saying what if it isn’t as good. Thankfully, I can tell that voice in my head to shut the eff up for good.
Wandering Star was every bit as good. In fact, it’s better.
In a private Twitter conversation, Romina mentioned how much she loved this book, and that love absolutely shines through the page.
The worlds that make up Capricorn, Sagittarius and Taurus brim with creativity and feel completely distinct from one another. There’s the way the Capricorn sends messages via holograms in the sky and eat communally with bring-your-own-plates-and-silverware whereverr you’re going to Sagittarians traveling by cannon (!) and more Heart puns than you can count in The Heart of Taurus. Honestly, I can’t remember when a novel in this genre felt almost like a travelogue. It was so vivid and so detailed that it made me wish I could go into Space and see these places for myself.
Wandering Star takes a turn to being a more character driven novel, a change I whole-heartedly endorse. Throughout the book we see Rho questioning who she is and how her relationship with her mother and her brother defines her. We get this wonderful doomed romance between her and Hysan. Even as I kept rooting for them to get together, there was this beautiful air of star-crossed lovers/doomed romance that gave their relationship this bittersweet feeling that far too many YA authors are afraid to approach and depict in their novels. Speaking of characters, you see many returning favorites here, and even several fun new ones, such as Miss Trii, a robot built by Hysan that will make anyone with a Jewish mother smile whenever she is on the page.
Finally, we have the plot itself: the interplay between Orphichus and Rho is really interesting to watch, as is Rho’s interactions with the wider Zodiac. While the themes of the plot aren’t exactly new (see any other number of YA novels and especially dystopias that embrace the ideal of embracing yourself for who you are instead of trying to fit in), the take on it is interesting and fresh enough to remain compelling. As before, there are moments are tip-toe to the line of being preachy, but always manages to back away at that last second.
I loved this book even more than I thought possible, and I hope this season sees an uptick in popularity. It deserves more love than it gets. Overall, 2015 has been a banner year for YA sci-fi and this book is helping end the year iwth a bang.
Verdict: Buy It
Available: December 15