Light From Uncommon Stars

hardcover, 368 pages

Published Sept. 27, 2021 by Tor Books.

ISBN:
9781250789068

View on OpenLibrary

4 stars (15 reviews)

Good Omens meets The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet in this defiantly joyful adventure set in California's San Gabriel Valley, with cursed violins, Faustian bargains, and queer alien courtship over fresh-made donuts.

Shizuka Satomi made a deal with the devil: to escape damnation, she must entice seven other violin prodigies to trade their souls for success. She has already delivered six.

When Katrina Nguyen, a young transgender runaway, catches Shizuka's ear with her wild talent, Shizuka can almost feel the curse lifting. She's found her final candidate.

But in a donut shop off a bustling highway in the San Gabriel Valley, Shizuka meets Lan Tran, retired starship captain, interstellar refugee, and mother of four. Shizuka doesn't have time for crushes or coffee dates, what with her very soul on the line, but Lan's kind smile and eyes like stars might just redefine a soul's worth. And maybe something …

3 editions

Magical surrealism at its best

5 stars

In a way this reminds me of Charlie Jane Anders’ All The Birds In The Sky. It’s not often you get a book that manages to tie in not only a lot of LGBT issues but also refugees from outer space and demons with contracts for people’s souls and yet make it all seem like a relaxed and natural world to be in. Obviously it’s a book all about the characters and the choices they make and have made. Very enjoyable and enlightening to ride along with a very foreign perspective from my default one for a while.

a fun mess, with some touching moments

4 stars

Content warning mild spoiler about ending

A strange book, but addictive reading.

4 stars

What a bizarre book. The mix of tones and genres is really jarring. We have a surreal mishmash of demonic, space opera, donuts... but also abuse, transphobia, racism. It also does this strange thing, where it switches viewpoint characters multiple times a page in the middle of a conversation, that I never quite knew what to make of. Overall this book is extremely readable, it drew me in completely. I'm not entirely sure what to make of it, but I definitely enjoyed it.

Too Much Happening Here

4 stars

There are some really beautiful aspects of this book, but there's just far too much going on in this story for my taste. This felt like at least 2 different novels that were mashed into one, and perhaps that's part of what the author was going for. The plot might suggest that something which seems a bit off and out of place is exactly what the author is trying to create, but even in the midst of knowing that the ending was still a weird combo of beauty and also head scratching. Good read, would recommend for someone to take on a vacation but definitely set your expectations.

For someone other than me

2 stars

I don't think I'm the target audience but that's OK. I found the comparison with Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy to be quite shallow: there's aliens and that's kind of it. I was constantly miffed by the materialism and waxing lyrical over cars which I think contributed hugely for my disliking of the book. But it's definitely an interesting voice that I appreciated listening to!

Review of 'Light From Uncommon Stars' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

Oh my gosh! I read another review that describes the book as being ‘like a warm hug.’ And that seems like a pretty apt description. This book is just so incredibly warm and affirming. This is literary comfort food.

Katrina just wants to play violin. But her family can't accept her for who she is. Shizuka needs to deliver a seventh soul to Hell – or she loses her own. Lan just wants to protect her family and serve good donuts.

Honestly, I don't understand how a story with so much darkness in it (transphobia, ableism, death, hell, sexism, sexual assault, etc.) still manages to be so comforting. How is that possible? I don't know. But it is.

Aliens, donuts, violins, a trans MC, a contract for a soul. Seriously, read this book now.

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