Montag, 23. Januar 2017

"Hold back the Stars" by Katie Khan [english review]

‘We’re going to be fine.’ 
He looks around, but there’s nothing out here: nothing but the bottomless black universe on their left, the Earth suspended in glorious technicolour to their right.

Carys and Max have ninety minutes of air left.
None of this was supposed to happen.
But perhaps this doesn’t need to be the end…

Adrift in space with nothing to hold on to but each other, Carys and Max can’t help but look back at the well-ordered world they have left behind – at the rules they couldn’t reconcile themselves to, and a life to which they might now never return.
For in a world where love is banned, what happens when you find it? 

Hold Back the Stars is a love story like no other.

OMG Guys! It's been a while since my last freak out. I think Hutchinsons "We are the Ants" and "a little life" by Yanagihara. Last night I had the newest with this little book, that's just genius. An ending exactly how I wish for it! The author did absolutely EVERYTHING right! Can you imagine?! Everything you wish for in a novel come true? I never expected it to happen, and definitely never in a new adult sci fi book. There are so many twists in this story that you neck gonna hurt, ha-ha. Also the love story was incredible.

"You mean settle for less?"
"Settling", scoffs Gwen. "We all settle. There isn't a person alive who matches every element of the fantasy we wish for. Every person in a relationship has settled. What you choose to compromise is up to you."

What we get: 

We get space, just the right amount of it. I just finished reading "Illuminae" by Amie Kaufmann and was reluctant to start this one. I don't like reading too similar books back to back. Girl in Space Sci Fi is quite... repetitive. I like it, but yeah. After reading the blurb it sounded a lot like "Gravity", but the online reviews were all gushing about it, so I was quite happy to find it on Netgalley. Even more when I got approved.
So we have a couple floating lost in space, with no way to survive. They have 90 min left. What to do? They try to find a solution and maybe survive.

While this is happening, they are having conversations about their relationship. Half of the book concentrates on their story back on earth. How they met and so on. A classical love story. But not quite. Earth society has evolved a bit. Nuclear bombs destroyed America, leaving Europe (Europia) on top. Individualism is the rule and no one really stays in one place, with one home, but everyone lives in rotations. Meaning you stay for 3 years, then move on. You are to learn as many languages as possible because "with only 5 languages you can communicate with 78% of Europia!. The most intriguing rule is not to get involved with someone till you re 35 years old. You're suposed to have flings and one night stands. The couple rule, meaning to rotate together with your partner, states that you're only able to form a stable relationship at that age, and of course aren't allowed children earlier than that. “It’s a better society, if everyone can give their all. So we all contribute towards the utopia as an individual, until such a time we can begin to think about settling down and starting a family.”

When Max and Carys meet, they're both in their mid twenties. Way to early to commit, but they still do, and try to maintain a relationship, hidden from society. Of course, this can't work out forever. I loved this idea of this society development because it felt so scaringly real. With how people behave right now and all the technology and social media, this could totally happen. For a better understanding of individualism kids are entering rotations, living away from parents, as early as age 7. It's scary. Max argues at one point "It's a shallow life, never forming any relationships, knowing you leave in some months. everything is shallow" ( freely recited) and I totally related to it.

"I think it's human nature to struggle, even in a perfect world. Caveman struggles to find food and shelter. More recently men struggled in wars. But us? We get depressed if we say something stupid on the MindShare. We got enough so we have nothing to fight for. And it makes us unhappy."

we should not forget that Utopia really means "no-place".

“‘Carys?’ he asks, as they continue to watch the fireworks display over the People’s Republic of China.
‘Yes, Max?’
‘Are you sure?’
‘Yes, Carys.’
‘I’m glad we had this conversation, Max,’ she says, deadpan.
‘Me, too,’ he replies.”

This is Katie Khan's debut and I hope she stays this brave because the conclusion was one of my highlights of the year. I cannot wait till publication date so I can press this book to all my customers.

**Huge thanks to Netgalley and Doubleday for the ARC**

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