Hello book lovers! I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy. For this week’s blog post, I wanted to share a book that isn’t super popular, No Ordinary Star- written by M.C Frank- a physicist turned author and editor in chief.
This novel is written as a whimsical dystopian with dark and light moments and set in the snowy tundra. Reading this book put me in a chilly mood, and I needed to read it cozied up in an oversized hoodie.
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Felix is a soldier sent on a mission to the arctic. Once there, he meets the last polar bear, who leads him to Astra, a young woman drowning in ice. Astra will pay for her father’s crimes with her life, but the Clock master saves her and dies. Together Astra and Felix work to uncover the clues the clock master left behind.
In my opinion, this novel is an excellent winter read. No Ordinary Star is set in chilly Alaska in a world without the warmth of Christmas. I cannot think of a better post-fall read.
Another theme I noticed in this novel is that it touches on toxic masculinity as in this world men, are women grow up separately and are harvested for their eggs. Women in this world are also illiterate, which establishes a superiority between both these genders. Only upper-class women appear to have much of a life in this world. When Felix meets Astra, she challenges a lot of what he was socialized to believe about women and the world.
As a soldier, Felix obeys without question. For example, there are pills he takes that suppress his emotions. Not only does that make Felix less human, but these pills are also a factor of toxic masculinity. Crying once a month is not a big deal. So when Astra takes Felix’s pills and tosses them, he has some adjusting. Even with the pills, Felix has moments of humanity. For instance, Felix does not not hesitate to save and harbor Astra. Despite his military training and his suppressor pills, Felix retains his autonomy.
All in all, this tells me that Felix should quit the military. He has PTSD, and his decision to save Astra hints at a rebellion.
Astra foils Felix beautifully as she is a bubble of sunshine despite the traumatic events she has experienced in her life. She lives in the moment, which I found interesting as both of them have experienced trauma.
Despite the demons both characters carry, it’s fascinating to watch them connect and uncover the secrets to their universe and how much they must unlearn.
This novel has many unexpected twists and foreshadows later events, which I do not remember picking up in my first read. However, that does make me hopeful for the second novel.
My only complaint about this novel is that it lacks POC. Despite this novel been set in a very distant future the only POC I’ve noted was the dictator of this world. Which is a big yikes. I will keep my eye out for more POC characters in future novels as we haven’t been given a reason for their absence.
If you’re curious about this novel, you can read an excerpt on M.C Franks’ website. If you’ve decided this book is for you, find it online on bookshop.com and purchase a copy from an independent bookstore.
Or, if you would like to browse some more of my favorite novels, check out my bookshop.
CW: Ptsd, organ/egg harvesting, implied rape, child soldiers
Until my next post I’ll be living in libros,
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Well, you certainly caught my attention with “whimsical dystopia.” It’s not a description I usually associate with dystopian fiction. Astra’s cheery personality does sound like a welcome spot of brightness in the otherwise grim and cold world she inhabits. Though, yeah, the only POC character being a dictator is a big drawback!
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This sounds intriguing..