Chasing the Stars
by Malorie Blackman
Gah! My thoughts on this book are so conflicted. By the end? I really liked it, but there was a huge chunk of the book that just didn't do anything for me.
Summary: What happens when love brings loss? When love brings lies? When love brings hate?
Olivia and her twin brother Aidan are heading alone back to Earth. following the virus that wiped out the rest of their crew, and their family, in its entirety.
Nathan is part of a community heading in the opposite direction. But on their journey, Nathan’s ship is attacked and most of the community killed. Only a few survive.
Their lives unexpectedly collided, Nathan and Olivia are instantly attracted to each other, deeply, head-over-heels – like nothing they have ever experienced. But not everyone is pleased. Surrounded by rumours, deception, even murder, is it possible to live out a happy ever after...?
It started out well enough. Awesome girl as the captain of a spaceship and exciting space shenanigans? Yes please! Shakespeare story retelling? Sign me up! Intriguing family secrets? Loving it! But then it started to go downhill as soon as Vee and Nathan's paths crossed -- the romance was the worst part of the book and unfortunately as soon as that came into the picture, it dominated the story.
Vee and Nathan had no spark, they were so boring together most of the time and it was such a bad case of insta-love that I found it really difficult to root for them or care at all about the highs and lows of their relationship. Considering how long the book was, there was more than enough time for their relationship to have formed some sort of foundation before evolving into a romance...instead, we get them making moony eyes at each other right from the start and at the most inappropriate of times. Like, literally minutes after a lot of people died and the survivors had gone through this traumatic thing and these two are lusting after each other?
So yeah, I just wasn't into them as a couple. I really liked Vee as a character on her own, she was interesting and complex and had this back story that had me hooked and I would love to read a story just solely in her POV where she's off having her own adventures. And Nathan...he had his okay moments, but he tended to alternate between being bland and annoying.
Both of them came across as so much younger than they were supposed to be at times too -- in the last third/quarter of the book, Nathan in particular was acting like an immature, colossal idiot and seemed more like a bratty child than someone in his late teens. Which wouldn't have bothered me much really, except it stood out more in contrast to the more mature aspects of the rest of the story.
Anyway, enough ranting about the romance. The best parts of the book were Vee and her brother (really liked his character), I loved that aspect of the story and I loved the Othello retelling aspect of it too (although it did make it a bit predictable -- only one twist of the story, in the last 20 pages, actually surprised me). I loved Vee captaining the ship and everything to do with that (again, totally up for reading more Vee centred space adventures!).
The frustrating thing was, just as the romance was starting to take the back burner and just as the story was starting to thoroughly hook me and it was hinting at this potential bigger plot that could extend beyond just what happened on the ship, the story ended...and it was like the set up for a potentially awesome sequel, except I'm not sure if there's going to be a sequel? I hope there is. I really, really hope there is.
So yes... I had my issues with the book, but I'm taking my desperate need for there to be a sequel as a good sign -- it shows it did win me over in the end, in spite of its faults. I'd rate it 3 stars out of 5.