THE STARS BETWEEN US by CRISTIN TERRILL
A REVIEW by ALEXA DUNCAN
The Stars Between Us by Cristin Terrill is one of those books that, on paper, I should have loved. This book is essentially a Dickensian commentary on class and wealth set on another planet. There’s romance! Intrigue! Space stuff! I really wanted to love it. Unfortunately, I didn’t. The Stars Between Us follows a poor barmaid named Vika Hale, who slings drinks for a living to help support her family on a planet with nothing to lose, nothing to gain. However, when Vika is told she must marry one of the galaxy’s richest young women, her fortunes are suddenly reversed. That is, until this young man dies in a terrorist attack on his spacecraft. What follows is a whirlwind rags-to-riches story with plenty of mystery to boot. I just wish I liked it more.
My main gripe with this book is that there’s little to no worldbuilding. I love grounded sci-fi set on other planets, but that’s about all we get from the world itself. There’s some slang in there, some curse words adjusted for the world, but that’s about it. This book could have been set on Earth and it wouldn’t have made a difference. Vika herself is an interesting character, She’s not all together likable and spends much of the book feeling entitled to her new life as one of the galaxy’s richest. I didn’t hate this about her. I don’t mind when my main characters aren’t exactly likable. But I did expect her to change at some point throughout the story. Unfortunately, she doesn’t. Vika remains a frustratingly static character throughout the narrative. She even forgets about her family back on her home planet because hse’s too busy attending parties and eating expensive food. Again, I wouldn’t mind this behavior if it was paired with some growth throughout the story.
Aside from Vika, there’s Sky Foster, her love interest. I use that term very loosely here because the love story was not at all fleshed out. Sky falls for Vika almost instantly and spends much of the book staring at her and making her feel uncomfortable. This does not a great relationship make. We do get some chapters from Sky’s point of view, so he’s less creepy in that regard, but I never got the sense that he and Vika were supposed to be together. Vika makes it abundantly clear that she doesn’t even like him. That only changes into well over half of the book, which would be fine if this book hadn’t been marketed specifically as a romance.
There’s also some mystery here surrounding who killed Vika’s betrothed, but honestly, I got so bored by the middle of the book that I started skimming. I will say that Terrill’s writing is accessible and engaging. I really liked the beginning of the book. It’s just a shame the rest of it didn’t pan out.