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Young Adult Fiction 455
unexpected YA dystopian/sci-fi
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A WILDERNESS OF STARS is a thrilling YA sci-fi/dystopian. Vega has been raised as the Last Astronomer with a destiny passed down from generation to generation. After her mother's death, Vega leaves the Valley where she has spent her life and ventures into the dangerous world to find the Architect. However, she must find this person with the knowledge that others in the world would harm her for looking.

The world is plagued by consumption that is killing everyone slowly. The area where Vega ventures into is controlled by a gang that prophesies about the end of the world and destroys anyone who stands in the way of what they want. Before too long, Vega finds Noah, who carries his own secrets and may be the person who can change her commitment to destiny.

What I loved: The big twist at the end of the book was phenomenal. While there is much heartbreak along the way, the book ends with a note of hope that turns it into something more powerful and emotional than originally expected. While the majority of the book seemed to be dystopian, it takes on some sci-fi elements that I found particularly intriguing.

There are themes around loyalty, destiny, family/found family, survival, grief, and the power of stories. These were thought-provoking throughout. Vega's whole life has centered around a particular destiny of being the Last Astronomer, and she knows that she must fulfill the role she has been raised to fill. However, the ways that she must navigate this world are more complex than she anticipated, and Vega will need to rely on strangers that she knows she shouldn't trust in order to accomplish her destiny.

Vega is a really compelling character. She's an intriguing mix of naïve and knowledgeable. Her world has revolved around the stars and understanding the universe, but her life has been sheltered. She is trying to understand people while also finding someone elusive. She is clever and learns quickly from the world around her, with a shrewdness you might not expect for someone who was raised in a sheltered environment. Her journey is difficult but also becomes filled with love and hope.

What left me wanting more: The book feels rather slow at the beginning and requires some suspension of belief, particularly with the way some reveals happen so suddenly. When the reader begins to get a grasp on the world and landscapes, it suddenly shifts from under them.

Final verdict: A WILDERNESS OF STARS is an enchanting and compelling YA dystopian/sci-fi with unexpected twists. Recommend for fans of books with adventure/quests and a touch of romance.
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