Cover Amid Stars and Darkness: A galaxy in space with a woman floating towards it

About the Book

Title: Amid Stars and Darkness (The Xenith Trilogy #1)
Published: 2017

Cover Story: Someone Help Her
BFF Charm: Meh
Talky Talk: Skimming The Surface
Bonus Factors: Alien Tech
Relationship Status: Arranged Marriage

Cover Story: Someone Help Her

I guess this cover is going for a strong allegorical approach, since I’m pretty sure even in this book’s universe you can’t be floating around the depths of space without protection—and if you can, then I was reading a totally different book. The colors are pretty, but I don’t feel this ties in well with anything from the story.

The Deal:

Delaney was having a perfectly normal night out at the club with her roommate when she literally bumps into an alien princess holding a device that caused her to take on the appearance of said alien princess. Totes crazy, right? Crazier yet is when the princess’ hot alien bodyguard snatches her up in the alley, scolding her for trying to run off and then saving her from being vaporized by some alien dissidents by beaming her up into his spaceship.

Now that Delaney has been body-snatched and accidentally “kidnapped” all the way to the alien world, Vakar, she’s got two unpalatable choices: play along while they search for Lissa Olena, the AWOL princess who got her into this mess, or out herself to the Vakar people and Olena’s peace-treaty-brokered fiancé, Trystan, potentially starting an intergalactic war between the humans, Vakar, and Kint.

Because Delaney is not stupid, she picks door number one. But that door still contains a fiancé who wants to kill her, an alien faction group trying to assassinate her, and the requirement of slipping on the personality of the most hated princess on the planet. Lucky for Delaney, she’s got Ruckus, the Lissa’s trusted bodyguard, at her side.

BFF Charm: Meh

BFF charm with a :-| face

I never really connected with Delaney. We see so little of her before she is kidnapped to Vakar that for the rest of the novel we have to rely on her to describe her personality (since she’s occasionally pretending to be someone else) and explain why she’s so desperate to get back to Earth, BUT, since we never see her interact with her parents and barely meet her roommate, her moments of emotional turmoil fell flat. She couldn’t make many friends on Vakar and was barely on Earth, so I don’t know when we’d even find the time to hang out as buds. 

Swoonworthy Scale: 3

Lissa Olena is the crown princess of her people who have been at war with the Kint for a long time. In an effort towards brokering peace, her family has bound her to the prince of Kint, Trystan, who, understandably, is also not happy about this. He’s a predator, he can be haughty, and he may have tried an assassination attempt on the Lissa once or twice. So why was I so much more interested in Delaney’s moments with him than Ruckus? Because Delaney and Ruckus suffered from instalove. It’s a real disease, y’all. (To be clear, I’m not condoning Trystan, but I had to amuse myself somehow, and if you read further and see how I mentally cast as Trystan…well, you’d understand.)

Talky Talk: Skimming The Surface

This was a basic, quick read, and I finished it feeling like I never really connected with any of the characters. Each person felt like a stock character for which you could practically see a checklist being marked off of as each one of their personality traits were revealed. The alien world of Vakar wasn’t unique enough to give Delaney something strange and extraterrestrial to react against to really highlight her impossible situation. What would’ve made this book shine is if it focused more on Delaney digging into this strange place and connecting with the people despite the spoiled princess body she’s wearing, but instead it felt like I had read this book’s plot at least a few times previously and nothing stood out enough to make it memorable in its own right.

Bonus Factor: Alien Tech

A digital hand coming out of a laptop with a human hand shaking it

Guns that can be concealed as a bracelet, devices that can change your look, and implants that enable you to speak mind-to-mind with another person? They all have their pluses and minuses, but what technology doesn’t?

Relationship Status: Arranged Marriage

I’m not sure we’re cut out to be together, Book. I thought we could have something, and others certainly thought so too, but after I got to know you I realized we don’t have much in common. You intrigued me a little near the end by leaving off with a cliffhanger, but I don’t know if it’s enough to keep me committed long-term.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received my free review copy from Swoon Reads. I received neither money nor peanut butter cups in exchange for this review. Amid Stars and Darkness is available now.

Stephanie (she/her) is an avid reader who moonlights at a college and calls Orlando home. Stephanie loves watching television, reading DIY blogs, planning awesome parties, Halloween decorating, and playing live-action escape games.