Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Review: Under Different Stars by Amy A. Bartol

Title: Under Different Stars
Author: Amy A. Bartol
Genre/Age: Fantasy/YA
Series: The Kricket Series (Book One)
Publisher: Self-published
Format: ebook/audiobook via KindleUnlimited
Rating: ✺✺✺✺.5
SynopsisKricket 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?

What is a girl to do when you find yourself being stalked and chased by not only one group of strange men, but two? Well, you run, of course. But when your stalkers catch you and kidnap you, saying they intend to return you to the home of your deceased parents, claiming you are a galactic runaway who owes penance to a kingdom on another planet? I guess you're royally screwed doomed!

Kricket (strange name, right?) is just that girl. Raised, for most of her life, in the child foster system, Kricket doesn't trust easily. Her guard is up, at all times, and she wants nothing more than to survive until her eighteenth birthday so she can finally be on her own, answering to no one.

Unfortunately for her, the universe has other plans. Kricket finds herself as a hostage for one of the groups of men who was chasing her. She decides that this particular threesome of soldiers is the lesser evil of the two, but still doesn't trust them as they trek across foreign lands in order to return her to the home of her forefathers (and mother).

As the journey ensues, the three men (Trey, Jax, & Wayra) and Kricket are faced with several dangerous obstacles and learn to somewhat work as a team to overcome them. Kricket begins to develop a trust in Trey, in particular, which doesn't come easy for either of them.

After their arrival plans are thwarted, Kricket and Trey are forced to act as a married couple in order to get Kricket through the guards without proper identification. And boy do they play the part well...

However, Kricket finds herself in a tough predicament when it seems that everyone around her is only interested in using her in some way. One wants to marry her against her will, another wants to use her power to further their military strategies, and several other men just want her for her 'feminine stature' (catch my drift?).

I began this book with the audiobook version but switched to reading it, instead, after about 15% in. I liked the narrator during the female lines but struggled with her voice change during the male lines. I didn't think I would be able to take the male characters seriously if I continued that way. Reading, however, was much more pleasurable.

I found the first part of the book drug on and that is why I took off half a star. Half of the traveling time with Kricket's new captors was spent explaining things; differences between the worlds and definitions of words. I realize the author was trying to world-build, but it felt like a bit of a chore to listen to. Once the journey picks up pace, I thoroughly enjoyed the rest of the book.

In closing...
I am very excited to continue this series. In fact, I already have the second book downloaded and am two chapters in. But for the first book, 4.5 suns!

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