Publisher: Andrea K Höst
Release Date: September 30, 2012
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction
Description from Goodreads: Come for the apocalypse.
Stay for cupcakes.
Die for love.
Madeleine Cost is working to become the youngest person ever to win the Archibald Prize for portraiture. Her elusive cousin Tyler is the perfect subject: androgynous, beautiful, and famous. All she needs to do is pin him down for the sittings.
None of her plans factored in the Spires: featureless, impossible, spearing into the hearts of cities across the world – and spraying clouds of sparkling dust into the wind.
Is it an alien invasion? Germ warfare? They are questions everyone on Earth would like answered, but Madeleine has a more immediate problem. At Ground Zero of the Sydney Spire, beneath the collapsed ruin of St James Station, she must make it to the surface before she can hope to find out if the world is ending.
Review: With a description that opens with an apocalypse and cupcakes, I was almost a little hesitant to begin to guess what kind of book I was getting into when I started. I really didn’t have high expectations for a story that added something so cutesy in the opening hook. However, I am thrilled to announce that I have found a story that really stands out on its own, and even now, I still have some trouble comparing it to anything else I have read.
I believe it is important to note that there is a chance that an editor could correct some of the technical problems, such as word usage and issues with the large chunks of dialogue. Even though I did enjoy this saga, I think it is important to point out that the writing could turn some people off of the story. The huge walls of dialogue and the choppy, truncated action scenes seemed to suggest that this was not the final draft of the story. At certain points in the book, I felt that the audience was finally able to piece together what was happening, and that the reader was treated as an outsider during critical plot development and pivotal points. Some of the action also tended to hit the chopping block, and during big struggles, it seemed that the action portions were not thoroughly fleshed out. One last thing: this is labeled as “young adult," but there is sex in the story as well – pretty descriptive sex, to boot.
With that out of the way, I’ll note that part of the appeal of this book was the boldness to step outside of the norm and try the apocalyptic story at a brand new angle. I was often pleasantly surprised and celebrated Höst for bringing in something with creativity, and quite frankly, a story that gives you a break from some of the checklist-driven tales in the young adult section. I fear to discuss in great detail some of the huge surprises and developments of And All the Stars, but I can flat out say that I never saw any of it coming. I rarely get a huge shock, and this book threw me for a HUGE loop. I was hit with something unexpected, terrible, and beautiful. Bravo, Höst, for going the extra mile and delivering one of the best book gut punches I have ever witnessed.
The characters were able to warm my heart in a short amount of time, and even though they all tend to follow the Maniac Pixie personality, each of the central characters did bring a certain flavor to the storyline. The main characters were able to carry the story when the plot sometimes appeared to be a bit lacking. Driven by character development and growth, And All the Stars drove forth the message about the undying human spirit without clubbing one over the head. Madeline, the reclusive and introverted protagonist, brought a level of bittersweet emotion to the entire plot. Her inability to open up and trust others only added to the tragedy of the entire story. The growth of her character, her struggles, and her triumph is a testament to Madeline’s struggle to overcome her own inner demons.
Overall, And All the Stars is an apocalyptic story that tests the endurance and the strength of people in times of need. If anything can be taken away after reading this book, it is that in the face of our greatest struggle, we must rely on trust in others, and in our own decision, to get us through the darkness.
Purchase And All the Stars here from Amazon.