Hold Back the Stars
Penguin Random House Black Swan (AU: 27th November 2017; UK: 30th November 2017); Simon & Schuster Gallery (US & CA: 20th February 2018)
Buy (US Kindle Edition) Buy (US Hardcover) Buy (US Paperback) Buy (UK Kindle Edition) Buy (UK Hardcover) Buy (UK Paperback) Buy (CA Kindle Edition) Buy (CA Hardcover) Buy (CA Paperback) Buy (Worldwide Hardcover) Buy (Worldwide Paperback)
NOTE: I first published this on Speculative Chic.
I’ve never been interested in book clubs, where everyone reads the same thing at the same time like assigned homework. But in the case of Katie Khan’s Hold Back the Stars, I definitely would recommend it to book groups. Having read it, I want to discuss spoilery things and ask questions!
This literary sci-fi tells the tale of Carys and Max, the supposed utopia they’re from, and why they’re stranded in space with only ninety minutes left of oxygen and no help in sight. The space scenes are fraught and fascinating as the duo does what they can to avoid drowning in their own tears. (Yes, that’s a thing that could happen inside their helmets.) Communication – or lack thereof – is challenging enough on its own, but also they battle to create propellant and avoid asteroids. Hopefully film rights will be snapped up, because the ever-present danger and uncommon setting would make for a spectacular cinematic experience. This novel likely involved a heck of a lot of research, and Katie Khan’s work pays off big-time.
Though I wouldn’t recommend anyone removes their glove in space. Creative licence there, I’m guessing.
But Carys and Max’s time on Earth doesn’t grip like the space scenes. It’s a relationship drama with a whole gamut of obstacles to overcome, and refreshing that they argue like couples in real life. Ultimately I didn’t cheer for their relationship, but that’s not unusual for me as a reader.