- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 660 KB
- Print Length: 220 pages
- Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
- Language: English
- ASIN: B01NBPYBGX
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Average Customer Review: 8 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #979,631 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Understanding the Stars Kindle Edition
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Top customer reviews
Don’t worry, there are a lot of last minute escapes, nothing horrific or off-putting within and only one human gets turned inside out. It’s hard to feel sorry for all of the aliens who get zapped by the CIA but it would be a mistake to presume the CIA are the heroes either, as humans and aliens are all fairly flawed and compromised in this story. Generally, there are three races and two kids are getting bounced around between them.
In fiction, you’ve got to have a scary plot element for the characters to run from (and ultimately defeat), otherwise you’d never see your heroes panting, ripping their clothes and showing their full potential. The test of fitness is all. However, there are obvious cultural influences in the history of reports of contact with aliens, particularly surrounding abduction. People who have reported being snatched by aliens and operated on, dissected etc, are almost exclusively all from the USA. Other nationals report abduction but without this element. The British report polite manners and conversation, while Brazilians report abduction followed by inter-species copulation and the French report aliens who demand to worship French culture. Therefore, I’d see going under the scalpel as a signal that these themes are set not by supra-geographic extra terrestrial life but by ordinary terrestrial suggestion. If the aliens had wanted to do something else, something completely original for a change, that would have been more impressive.
The reason why the girl is important to the aliens, the author weaving the fantasy into her body, is that she’s been tagged some years previously and that is not only evidence but rival aliens are interested in acquiring it too. This gives rise to the kidnap and dissection scenario, which suddenly becomes essential to the plot, and the scenario also has a voyeuristic thing going on where the boy can spy on the girl’s life by seeing everything she sees; imagine a camera on an eagle, except this one mostly zooms in on pizzas. Yum.
What isn’t essential and I don’t think ever works well is the baddies persuading a victim by laying out their point of view and then asking for approval to do something nasty, which they’re going to do anyway, then saying things which rile the victim and force them to fight back, which is surely counter-productive? If they are an advanced sentient species, why would they not take the most clean and direct route, i.e. laughing gas, pop the human down and get out the tool kit? Winding them up is just stupid. Then again, perhaps that’s how the author demonstrates which species has morality on their side. Still, that jarred a little, although I can see the writer wanted to make the reader sympathetic to them and then go for the big reveal. Still, why go to all the trouble of A if you’re just going to reverse all the good work with B and the listener will be dead in five minutes anyway so it’s pointless?
Did I like the story? Yes, it was a good yarn and bubbled along in an easy going kind of way. It feels like the introduction to a series, presumably also in the young adult style. Older readers won’t get as much from it if they’re not into the first kiss stuff as it could benefit from a big idea or two, maybe a funny situation, insightful lines or a unforeseen surprise of some kind. I know it is dissimilar but War of the Worlds, for example, had humans outclassed all of the way through and then bacteria defeat the aliens, which I bet no one saw coming. In this case, the aliens gather knowledge seemingly for knowledge’s sake. So, what’s the real reason for that? They withhold knowledge. Why? This, to me, also suggests more books in the series to build the opera. That’s it really – this book is like two or three instruments playing and establishing a catchy motif but you can see a fuller orchestra waiting patiently for their turn behind them. When the steady theme has been set by this book, not over-reaching, presumably the more complicated development follows in book two? Xela Culletto has constructed space in this opening adventure and now needs to ignite a few stars.
Alex is a pizza delivery girl whose whole world is about to change. She finds herself sent on a pizza drop that will end up changing her life... and changing everything she knows. The delivery brings her to meet Ronan for the first time, who reveals to her that she has been being observed by an alien civilisation - and that another alien race is coming for the technology, with her life forfeit if they get hold of it.
Caught in the middle of these alien rivals, and with the CIA getting in on the act, Alex and the handsome Ronan fight to find a way to avoid the alien menace - while falling in love along the way.
I honestly wasn't sure I'd be keen on this book to begin with, but it really grew on me the more I read. There are some really poignant moments in here, especially involving Alex's family.
Alex seems to take the world-changing revelations a little too much in her stride - but that aside, this is a delightful YA novel, which with its mix of alien cultures and human romance reminded me of the likes of Stephanie Meyer's The Host.
I tip my hat to author Xela Culletto, for confounding my expectations.
As I read the book, at times I had the feeling that the action is much faster than would be expected. The main character Alex in certain moments decline in problems without thinking and so has Alex created problems for which she knew that she alone cannot solve. I feel as if the writer at times forced the action, although perhaps a little more should develop her character to act a lot easier to act on its own untangling. With a bit of profiling, the two main characters Alex and Ronan could be a lot more to achieve. The main story is solid but in my opinion could be further expanded, strengthen the relationship between the two main characters, because there is enough space to do it, but that's just my opinion. The premise of the book itself is very good and I like that. Alex has the age of eighteen years, when not at school she works at a pizzeria and drives away pizzas if someone ordered to the house. With one orders she must go into a house that is otherwise outside the neighborhood where she works, and there she meets a beautiful young man Ronan. But what she does not know, he was not an ordinary young man, and soon her life goes by on way which she had not even dreamed of. Ronan is not from Earth, soon Alex's life will be in danger, and only he can help her. All in all, this is a solid sci-fi book and I recommend to fan of the sci-fi genre.
"I received a free copy from the author without an obligation to review."
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