Oh my gosh this book broke me. I still don’t think I’ve quite recovered! I listened to an audiobook of this novel so this review will also discuss the narration! I won’t be posting any spoilers, and for that reason it’s going to be a bit of a short review! So much of it was a shock to me I want you to have the same experience.
Hold Back the Stars by Katie Khan
Published by Black Swan on November 30th 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction
‘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.
So I went into Hold Back the Stars not really knowing anything about the plot. I was immediately drawn in by their dire situation, falling through space, tumbling away from their ship with their air running out. I would have probably read this in one sitting if I was reading a physical copy. As it was, I listened to it on my commute to work. I even managed to get my colleague interested in what was happening to Carys and Max as I filled her in each morning.
They live in a futuristic world where no one lives in one place for more than a few years. They live in rotation, so they owe no allegiance to any country or religion, only to themselves. They’re not even allowed to settle down into a relationship until they’re 35 (35?!?!), so they are well and truly independent for a large portion of their lives. The aim of this is to stop needless fighting from wars, which I think had decimated America and some other countries around the world. Europa was the utopia that everyone wanted to live in. Also, I LOVED the sections about Wales! It made me feel right at home as I’m from Snowdonia! I also liked the use of the word Cariad. All in all the Welsh bits were such a nice surprise.
The technology was pretty cool, they had wall rivers as a way of communication – they had to be able to communicate with everyone in their area easily as they were all moving every three years or so.
I really enjoyed this futuristic approach to the world. It’s genius and terrifying at the same time. I really hope some world leader doesn’t read this book and get any ideas!
The story was mainly told from Carys’ point of view, and followed two timelines. The present, where they were in imminent danger, floating alone in space with time counting down, and the past, how they came to be there, together, alone in space. It was so well done – I loved it. You learnt just enough each flashback to keep you wanting more and more. It was a steady pace, which I really loved.
Each point of view was narrated by someone else, which was glorious. I really felt like I was there with them. I really wished Carys had a welsh accent though – that would have made it so authentic to me! I loved the way Carys said Osrick. Don’t know why – it fasciated me haha.
I adored Carys and Max. I loved that Carys was the ‘clever’ one of the two and had the better job etc, even helping Max out in the job department. Made a refreshing change. Their dynamic was wonderful. Max is hilarious and so is Carys, in different ways. The way they bounce off each other really warms the heart. Each time they tried to stay away they just couldn’t.
That’s as much detail as I’m going into because YOU NEED TO READ THIS BOOK. Like, now. Okay?