And All The Stars
Author: Andrea K. Höst
Published: 30th September 2012
Number of Pages: 296
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.
And all the stars was a mix between a dystopian and a sci-fi with a not so eventful plot but with interesting characters and an original base idea.
Personally this was probably one of the first books I read about "aliens" (if I can really consider the invaders like aliens!) and I don't know if this is actually a theme that interests me enough or not. Speaking of this book in particular, I have mixed feelings for it, because it didn't really caught me up, even if I noticed some good aspects that had not been amplified enough.
First of all I think that one of the good aspect of this book were probably the characters, they were all different and special for some way and together they formed and invincible team, to face up the disaster they were forced to live in. While I thought their relationship was quite lovely, I thought also that it was totally inappropriate for the context, because their world had just been invaded by strange creatures and they still liked to do normal things like playing or partying. Surely, they needed something to hold on to not to freak out but seriously, it felt unreal because that would probably not be the way a group of teenagers would confront an apocalyptic situation like the one they were living.
I particulary liked Madeline, even if her character and her history is not particulary deepened but I really loved how introverted and quite she was, and how she poured out all her emotions in art. Also, I loved her relationship with Fisher, but above all with Théoden (you will understand the difference only after having read the book!) because they were totally different people and despite this, they fell in love.. which is not someting particulary original, infact, but I did love how the author described their relationship. They didn't talk much, they shared their thoughts with gestures, drawings and I found it brilliant, thoughtful.
Probably one of the greatest problem I had while reading this book was the author's style, which is totally subjective so I am just giving my own personal opinion. I really found some difficulties sometimes in understanding what the author wanted to say, especially at the beginning and when he explained the intentions and the hierarchy of the invaders, that could be influenced, being sincere, by the fact that I am not mother tongue and perhaps I didn't understand much the syntax. Despite this, I also think that in general the author's style is a little confusing especially because he used a lot of adjectives , that I sometimes completely lost the sence of some sentences. Moreover, I didn't find it as flowing as other books I have read and sometimes I just didn't want to go on.
And all the Stars is a fantasy read that in my opinion has some great potentials that have not been sufficiently exploited.
"I had constant nightmares about the data I was accumulating, this logic puzzle of life and death written in permanent ink, with no option to erase it all and start over. I will never forget the faces of those in the groups were treatment clearly wasn't helping. Never. But the knowledge that that was just the first wave, those exposed in the first hours, drove me on. Doing nothing was the worst option."
"Fight. Always fight. No matter how impossible the odds, no matter who you've lost. how you've been hurt. If there doesn't seem to be a way out, look for one. If you seem to have come to an end, start afresh. Never, ever give up.
"I would have gone about my life and not thought I was missing anything. You would have - you would have painted obsessively, all those transformative images and I would be someone unimagined and unknown, and I cannot decide whether it would be trite to call that a tragedy or if I should resent you for making this - all this death- somehow bearable, tolerable for the tenuous joy I have gained. You steal my anger and leave me dazed."