Starcrossed (Beauty and her Alien, Book Two),
by Katie Jane Gallagher
Hey guys, welcome back to Bookish Beyond.
Have you discovered any new bookish treasures lately?
As always, I have kept my own eyes open for some bookish gems.
Today, I’m excited to be sharing my review for Starcrossed: Book Two of the Beauty and her Alien series, by Katie Jane Gallagher.
So, if you’ve got your favourite drink to hand and are all settled in, let’s begin.
Continuing on from book one, shop-assistant Corinne hides out in her room aboard Del’s spaceship as his sister Jexrah investigates. Jexrah suspects something is amiss when she visits the ship and seems to make it her mission to antagonize Corinne.
Over time, we, the reader learn more about Del’s family and his royal role, including what is expected of him. As Del’s relationship with Corinne starts to shift from platonic to intimate, his sister’s interference begins to cause problems.
Meanwhile, Corinne is torn between her growing affections for Del and her longing to return back to her predictable human life.
Corinne, a 23 year old human girl from Wakpa in the US, works at a ski and kayak shop in town. Now aboard Del’s ship and developing a relationship with him, she feels torn between wanting to escape back to her old life, and longing to get closer to Del. Intelligent, resourceful, and courageous, Corinne is a leading lady to admire as she does her best to negotiate a series of difficult and compromising situations. In this thrilling second instalment, we learn more about how Corinne lost her mother and the affect this event had on her as she grew up. This helped to make Corinne more human and relatable as her pain was expressed to us, the readers.
Del, heir to the throne of an alien country remained his same fierce and regal self. His serious nature was still apparent, though when alone with Corinne, it seemed to melt away a little. In this second instalment, Del appears to have become more caring and compassionate, while retaining his dutiful and, for the most part, reserved outer appearance. In this book, we learn more about his backstory, including how he ended up on Earth. Following an unfortunate and somewhat traumatizing incident involving someone Del was close with, he comes to doubt his role as heir, questioning his readiness to accept such royal responsibilities. I came to empathize with him on a greater level, wanting him to find belief in himself and his abilities.
Jexrah, Del’s sister was a fierce and sneaky individual. There was immediately something about her I disliked. Though she seemed protective of Del as a sibling, she was also curious of events aboard his ship in a way that bordered on the point of being a stalker. She appeared to be very passive aggressive throughout the story and acted negatively toward Corinne throughout, almost mocking her for being human. Safe to say, I did not warm to her.
Meervit, Del’s other sister, provided a stark contrast to Jexrah’s more cunning character. Meervit seemed softer, more compassionate and understanding as an individual, perhaps due to her suffering with a long-term illness. She clearly understands pain well and so can empathise with the suffering of others. Oddly enough, Meervit is never actually seen in person. Due to her illness, she travels to Del’s ship in drone form, seen only as a small metallic orb whizzing around the ship, speaking through it as though it were a pair of speakers. I found Meervit to be charming and kind toward Corinne and therefore came to like her character more.
Finally, we return to Joe, another original character from book one. Since Corinne’s unexpected rejection, Joe has become increasingly unstable and obsessed with getting her back. Whenever he is seen, he appears dishevelled and unstable, his reactions bordering on psychopathic. Overall, he remained a rude and arrogant individual who couldn’t handle being rejected. He made for an interesting secondary antagonist with no redeeming features.
There were many things which I came to enjoy about Starcrossed. Below, I’ve detailed the key elements which made book two so riveting.
- The author has a wonderful way of playing on the reader’s emotions.
- Book Two provides a subtle recap of the events of book one, so the reader knows the current situation. It also re-introduces key characters briefly: how they look and such, to jog the reader’s memory.
- I especially enjoyed the scene with the cauldron-story. It was very creative and involved cool, high-tech alien technology.
- I also really enjoyed the pod stargazing scene. It was beautifully described and served to impart more knowledge on Del’s family and home-world customs.
- I loved reading about the steadily building relationship between Del and Corinne. I knew it would happen, but the author’s evocation of it still sent shivers throughout my being.
- I found myself agonizing over the character’s emotional upheavals, pleading for them to see sense. In Corinne’s case, I deeply empathized with her pain, but wanted her to see past her emotions, to the rational side of what was happening, lest she lose Del forever.
There weren’t really any negatives to the story, however, one thing niggled at me. In certain chapters, new sections involving random or lesser-known characters started without any indication of chapter, setting, or point of view change. Several times, this threw me off and confused me as to what was happening in the story. I feel that with just a little indication of such narrative shift, the reader could better anticipate a difference in viewpoint.
Three specific quotes stood out to me while reading Starcrossed.
1) ‘We were puzzle pieces from two different pictures that somehow fit snugly, perfectly.’
I really enjoyed this quote as it was both beautifully written and moving, referring to a newfound sense of intimacy between Del and Corinne.
2) ‘And it started to seem to me that all of life was a bit like this, a push and pull, a give and take. Even the wealthiest among us, whether they’re wealthy in riches or family or power, have things they long for.’
I thought this was an interesting quote as it’s not often that people really consider such an idea. It’s common to hear people speaking enviously of those who have more money or greater prospects in life, but we never truly know what those people’s lives are like. This quote demonstrates that no matter someone’s status in life, they are still human and still have human needs and wants. Being rich, for example, doesn’t equal being happy or fulfilled.
3) ‘People are human- They’re going to make mistakes.’
Again, this is something people don’t always seem to keep in mind. As human beings, we can often judge others too harshly by their mistakes, perhaps because we are judged harshly for our own mistakes in life. However, success never comes until failure and mistakes have been encountered, as all good stories teach us.
Overall, Starcrossed proved to be an exceptional sequel to Unearthly. It was an emotionally charged and immersive fairytale retelling that built wonderfully upon book one. I loved every moment and can’t wait for book three.
My Rating: 5 stars.
Recommended to: Lovers of fantasy novels / fairytale retellings with a modern, sci-fi twist.
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If you’d like to read my review for Unearthly, Book One of the series, simply click the button below.
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