Light From Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki

Title: Light From Uncommon Stars
Author: Ryka Aoki
Genre/s and Tags: Adult, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Queer, Fiction, Speculative Fiction
Goodreads synopsis:

Good Omens meets The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet in this defiantly joyful adventure set in California’s San Gabriel Valley, with cursed violins, Faustian bargains, and queer alien courtship over fresh-made donuts.

Shizuka Satomi made a deal with the devil: to escape damnation, she must entice seven other violin prodigies to trade their souls for success. She has already delivered six.

When Katrina Nguyen, a young transgender runaway, catches Shizuka’s ear with her wild talent, Shizuka can almost feel the curse lifting. She’s found her final candidate.

But in a donut shop off a bustling highway in the San Gabriel Valley, Shizuka meets Lan Tran, retired starship captain, interstellar refugee, and mother of four. Shizuka doesn’t have time for crushes or coffee dates, what with her very soul on the line, but Lan’s kind smile and eyes like stars might just redefine a soul’s worth. And maybe something as small as a warm donut is powerful enough to break a curse as vast as the California coastline.

As the lives of these three women become entangled by chance and fate, a story of magic, identity, curses, and hope begins, and a family worth crossing the universe for is found.

Buy Links:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Book Shop | Blackwells

ID: A photo of three copies of Light From Uncommon Stars. Two copies are horizontal and stacked on top of each other with a Sci-fi candle tin sitting on the top book. Behind the stack is a dark booksleeve with a rainbow moon phase pattern. To the right sits the third copy which is angled towards the camera. On the top corner of this book is the pride flag enamel pin which is balanced by a back post on the top edge. End ID.

Full Review:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Thanks so much to B2 Weird Book Club, Tor Books and the author for a finished copy in exchange for an honest review & tour post. All opinions are my own.

I loved this so much!!

Light from Uncommon Stars revolves around three main characters who become connected in the strangest ways. Shizuka Satomi is a legendary violinist that has made a devil with the devil. Train seven prodigal violin students and give their souls to Hell, she’s already gone through six and has been searching for 7, but time on her deal is coming to an end. Katrina Nguyen is a young transgender runaway whose playing moves Shizuka in ways she never expected. Then Shizuka meets Lan Tran: donut shop manager, retired space captain, interstellar refugee and mother of four.

This book was absolutely phenomenal! I don’t think I have a powerful enough word to capture how much this book captivated me heart and soul. I loved the leading ladies of this story and seeing how their lives intertwined. We also get several outside POVs including a demon, a violin repairer and other donut shop employees. This book doesn’t shy away from dark or taboo topics, but it also gives these topics the respect they’re due and never takes away all hope.

Also like a donut shop run by space aliens that have perfect cloning technology is something I didn’t know I was missing from my sci-fi. I loved the sci-fi elements of this book, but if you’re new to sci-fi the elements of this book are a great gateaway book into more epic sci-fi. I loved the technology we got to explore with Lan and her family and the art of making donuts. I really loved the grandma and grandson who kept trying to perfect making them by hand, it was such a fun subplot.

Lastly, I just want to scream about the found family aspect that builds between Lan, Shizuka, and Katrina. I just loved seeing all three of them come to together and build this little found family between them all. God, it just got me and it will get me every time. The ending was AMAZING. I really need a sequel STAT. Please Tor Books please!!!!

Rep: Asian-American queer trans female MC, Japanese sapphic female MC, sapphic intersteller refugee MC, nonbinary side character, queer side characters.

CWs: Child abuse, transphobia/transmisia, racism, sexual content, death. Moderate: rape, sexual assault, deadnaming/misgendering, domestic/emotional abuse, homophobia/homomisia. Minor: alcoholism, self harm, mention of side character committing suicide.

3 thoughts on “Light From Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki

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