Book review: A Conspiracy of Stars by Olivia A. Cole

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Octavia has only ever had one goal: to follow in the footsteps of her parents and become a prestigious whitecoat, one of the scientists who study the natural wonders of Faloiv. The secrets of the jungle’s exotic plants and animals are protected fiercely in the labs by the Council of N’Terra, so when the rules suddenly change, allowing students inside, Octavia should be overjoyed.

But something isn’t right. The newly elected leader of the Council has some extremist views about the way he believes N’Terra should be run, and he’s influencing others to follow him. When Octavia witnesses one of the Faloii—the indigenous people of Faloiv—attacked in front of her in the dark of night, she knows the Council is hiding something. They are living in separate worlds on a shared planet, and their fragile peace may soon turn into an all-out war.

With the help of Rondo, a quiet boy in class with a skill for hacking, and her inquisitive best friend, Alma, Octavia is set on a collision course to discover the secrets behind the history she’s been taught, the science she’s lived by, and the truth about her family.

Alright, so I finally got around to reading my first Uppercase book! I wasn’t too sure about it when I started (the beginning is very slow) but I quickly got really into it and then suddenly I was done. I was worried that it would go the typical, cliched YA way of all of the adults being Bad People who leave the Clever Teenagers no choice but to stop them — and while there are a lot of Bad People in this book, there are also wonderful adults who do their best to help.

One place where this book excels is the worldbuilding. Faloiv is a vibrant planet filled with its own unique plants, animals, and people. Everything is described beautifully, from the fur of the animals to the construction of the characters’ homes. At times I felt like I was actually immersed in the scenery!

The descriptive nature of the book can work to its detriment, though. The dense chunks of description can feel like infodumps, particularly at the beginning of the book. And there are chapters on animal experimentation that made me feel physically ill, and I had to put the book down and go hug my cat.

Still, the book is engrossing and well-written and I can’t wait for the sequel.

Final rating: ★★★★☆

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