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Amid Stars and Darkness (The Xenith Trilogy) Hardcover – July 18, 2017
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From School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up–In the future, aliens from the planet Xenith have made contact with Earth and live among us. Mistaken for an alien princess, Delaney Grace is kidnapped by Ruckus, an alien soldier. Through alien technology, Delaney's appearance has been altered so that she looks exactly like Lissa Olena, a princess of the Vakar people. In an effort to escape an arranged marriage, selfish Lissa hides on Earth while Delaney assumes her identity to prevent war between the two factions on Xenith: the Vakar and the Kint. During her time on Xenith, Delaney must undertake royal duties; fool Olena's fiancé, Trystan, into believing she is Olena; deal with her growing feelings for her guard Ruckus; and survive multiple assassination attempts. Feener's world-building is excellent, and readers will feel engulfed in the culture, politics, and technology. The romance between Delaney and Ruckus develops slowly and satisfyingly. Delaney's insecurities about Ruckus not being able to see her true face are believable and add vulnerability to her character. There is plenty of action to keep teens engaged and wanting more. Sexual content makes this book suitable for more mature readers. A cliff-hanger ending will leave readers anxious for a sequel. VERDICT Give to fans of Melissa Landers's Alienated and Ally Condie's Matched. Purchase where sci-fi is popular.—Ashley Leffel, Griffin Middle School, Frisco, TX
Praise for Amid Stars and Darkness:
"A thoughtful, sexy adventure with winning characters just begging for a bedtime read." ―VOYA
"Feener’s world-building is excellent, and readers will feel engulfed in the culture, politics, and technology. The romance between Delaney and Ruckus develops slowly and satisfyingly. Give to fans of Melissa Landers’s Alienated and Ally Condie’s Matched." ―School Library Journal
"This debut makes for fun, fluffy reading." ―Booklist
“This story was amazing! The character development, the romance, the tears, such an emotional rollercoaster!” ―Hannah B., reader on SwoonReads.com
“Aliens, sexy soldiers, romance, cliffhangers... guys this book has everything!” ―The Blonde Bookworm, reader on SwoonReads.com
“I absolutely loved it. It hooked me right from the beginning and I couldn't put it down. It had so many great twists and turns and I loved that I couldn't predict what was going to happen. I loved the characters and their development throughout the story.” ―Emmasgems, reader on SwoonReads.com
“A thrilling high-stakes read. From the very beginning I was sucked in and pulled along this intense journey filled with danger at every turn.” ―Ashley, reader on SwoonReads.com
Top customer reviews
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Amid Stars and Darkness is a light read and doesn’t get too heavy in the sci-fi aspect. There are a few cool things that take place like witnessing a specific creature or some of their technology but this isn’t really a sci-fi novel. It’s more of a light fantasy romance. You’re told that they are aliens and that Delaney’s on another planet but it all felt normal. Everyone was a humanoid, and a lot of the customs and living settings were the same as with humans. Now, I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, I don’t tend to like a lot of sci-fi novels that dive deep into the unknown because I end up getting bored with all the descriptions. However, I would have liked if the author made the aliens, or their planet a little bit more distinct and separate from Earth. I honestly kept forgetting they were supposed to be on a different planet.
There was a bit of mystery and suspense what with Delaney always nearly getting assassinated at every turn. You’re never quite sure if it’s her betrothed, some group of radicals, or possibly someone in her own group. I liked that the author always had you guessing and second guessing who could be behind the attacks. Not to mention, she also wrote the princess’ betrothed, Trystan, in a manner that always made you wonder if he was as dangerous as you’re led to believe.
Amid Stars and Darkness was a fun read. It was a lot lighter on the fantasy/sci-fi aspect that I would have liked but I still found myself wondering what would happen next and whether or not Delaney would ever make it home. This is the first book in a trilogy, so there’s more to the story. So who knows, maybe Delaney gets to grow old on Earth or maybe she has to stay on the alien planet. I can’t wait to see what the author has in store for the characters next.
Delaney is the perfect YA heroine. She’s brave but not reckless, sweet but not naive, smart but not cocky. She’s the complete opposite of Princess Olena who slyly switches places with Delaney. Olena, who everyone (including myself) hates, is a spoiled child who plays with people’s emotions to be cruel and to amuse herself. I felt bad that Olena was being forced into the marriage with prince Trystan in order to solidify a peace treaty between to opposing alien kingdoms, but the more I got to know Olena, the less bad I felt. I feel totally horrible saying it, but she’s not one of those characters you can easily feel pity for. Olena is selfish and entitled and doesn’t see the big picture. She likes to play games and only serves herself. Delaney is like a whiff of fresh air in the palace, because she actually has compassion and cares for others. She doesn’t let the icy prince Trystan intimidate her, at least, she doesn’t let on that he does. Delaney is a fake-it-til-you-make it girl. Even when she’s scared and full of sorrow, she raises her chin and gets the job done.
OMG. Trystan was so horrible. Entitled. Rude. Demanding. Intrusive. And yet. I’m so in love with him. Not like new bookish boyfriend, but just like, invested in him. It’s my weakness, those damn broody, rude, bad boys that I hope a strong girl will come along and soften up. It’s those attractive jerks who are on the cusp of redemption that I fall the hardest for. Regardless, I’m still team Duckus, or is it Relaney? I don’t know.. either name sounds funny haha. Ruckus is so perfect. He’s attractive, sweet, and protective. He’s the type of guy who doesn’t want to lock you away in a tower, because he knows your not a damsel in distress. He treats you like an equal and wants to teach you self-defense so you can kick ass too. Those book boyfriends are so hard to come by. Most YA guys are so overprotective that you have to fight with them constantly just to show them how strong and badass you are.
I felt like this book lacked planet Xenith world-building, and that there was also a lack of details regarding how Earth coped with the aliens revealing themselves a few years ago, but I still gave it five stars. Call it personal preference, but sometimes when a book has characters that are so enjoyable, and reveals that continue to surprise and delight me, I can overlook small disappointments in other areas.
The cliffhanger was totally cruel, but also totally understandable. I mean, how could you not need book 2 immediately after the end of book 1?!!
This book made me smile and melt and left me shocked. I re-read many passages, one, two, even three times, because I wanted to re-feel the feels they gave me. This is one of the books you keep in your head for a while down the road. I just know that I will have a hard time comparing it to the next couple books I read, because it was so good and the next few have a lot to live up to. I’m not huge fan of aliens, but this book made me a believer!
Most recent customer reviews
I follow the author on Instagram and the moment that I saw this book I was intrigued.Read more
Amid Darkness and Stars by Chani Lynn Feener
Book One of the Xenith trilogy
Publisher: Swoon Reads...Read more