The Stars We Steal
Engagement season is in the air. Eighteen-year-old Princess Leonie “Leo” Kolburg, heir to a faded European spaceship, only has one thing on her mind: which lucky bachelor can save her family from financial ruin? But when Leo’s childhood friend and first love Elliot returns as the captain of a successful whiskey ship, everything changes. Elliot was the one that got away, the boy Leo’s family deemed to be unsuitable for marriage. Now, he’s the biggest catch of the season and he seems determined to make Leo’s life miserable. But old habits die hard, and as Leo navigates the glittering balls of the Valg Season, she finds herself falling for her first love in a game of love, lies, and past regrets.

The Stars We Steal Details

TitleThe Stars We Steal
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseFeb 4th, 2020
PublisherHoughton Mifflin Harcourt
ISBN-139781328948946
Rating
GenreYoung Adult, Science Fiction, Romance, Retellings, Fantasy

The Stars We Steal Review

  • jessica
    January 1, 1970
    this book commits a very unfortunate crime against readers, which is it solely relies on a telling narrative, not a showing narrative. meaning the reader is told something happens, rather than shown it.its an extremely lazy method of writing and honestly drags the story down. it completely ruins any sort of opportunity which may have been present for me to really connect with the characters, especially because the romance is key to the plot. i dont want to be told leo and elliot have a this book commits a very unfortunate crime against readers, which is it solely relies on a telling narrative, not a showing narrative. meaning the reader is told something happens, rather than shown it.its an extremely lazy method of writing and honestly drags the story down. it completely ruins any sort of opportunity which may have been present for me to really connect with the characters, especially because the romance is key to the plot. i dont want to be told leo and elliot have a connection, i want to see it. i need proof. just being told isnt good enough and a reader deserves more. in addition to pacing issues and an undeveloped plot, the writing really leaves much to be desired. however, this story does have some positives. there is a great range of representation present. honestly, i think every box is checked. lol. which could be seen as forced characterisation, but i thought it was refreshing. this also really inspired me to pick up ‘persuasion’ by jane austen, which this is a retelling of. i know for sure i will enjoy it sooo much more than this, so i have that to look forward to now, at least.so while there are some good things about this, i highly doubt i will ever think about this story again. ↠ 2.5 stars
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  • Mary S. R.
    January 1, 1970
    I have a very crucial, life-altering question: how can a cover be so perfect? I feel like this should be illegalno it's NOT fair to steal away people's money like that! *slams hand on desk, shouts* would someone call the authorities!? I'm taking this matter in front of a judge!Eighteen-year-old Princess Leonie Leo Kolburg...(*sniffs* I smell...royal intrigue! *wicked smile*)...heir to a faded European spaceship...(*fumes* you don't set books in space and get away with it! Because then I'd have I have a very crucial, life-altering question: how can a cover be so perfect? I feel like this should be illegal—no it's NOT fair to steal away people's money like that! *slams hand on desk, shouts* would someone call the authorities!? I'm taking this matter in front of a judge!Eighteen-year-old Princess Leonie “Leo” Kolburg...(*sniffs* I smell...royal intrigue! *wicked smile*)...heir to a faded European spaceship...(*fumes* you don't set books in space and get away with it! Because then I'd have to read it!)...only has one thing on her mind: which lucky bachelor can save her family from financial ruin? (a Jane Austen retelling! Oops *whispers* I still haven't read Persuasion...) But when Leo’s childhood friend and first love Elliot returns as the captain of a successful whiskey ship, everything changes. (wait...what? Whiskey ship? Hmmm, I have NO idea what's happening, but hell I'm intrigued 😁)Expected publication: February 4th 2020... :/ See you when the world ends 👋🏻
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  • Tucker
    January 1, 1970
    [9/20/2019] - augghhhh, i want this so bad!!************Me: Keeps forgetting it's 2019.Also me: Already wants the books from 2020| Goodreads | Blog | Pinterest | LinkedIn | YouTube | Instagram
  • Nenia ⚡ Aspiring Evil Overlord ⚡ Campbell
    January 1, 1970
    Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || PinterestThis is a retelling of Persuasion set in space with a dash of The Bachelor. People from Earth now fly around in spaceships, and those of the nobility have especially luxurious ones. Leonie, aboard The Scandinavian, is such a one, only her family is on the verge of becoming impoverished and she is going to have to take part in the extravagant match-making ceremony called the Valg, along with her sister and cousin, to help save the family Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || PinterestThis is a retelling of Persuasion set in space with a dash of The Bachelor. People from Earth now fly around in spaceships, and those of the nobility have especially luxurious ones. Leonie, aboard The Scandinavian, is such a one, only her family is on the verge of becoming impoverished and she is going to have to take part in the extravagant match-making ceremony called the Valg, along with her sister and cousin, to help save the family fortune.Leo is therefore shocked and horrified when her childhood friend and ex-fiance, Elliot, arrives for the proceedings. When he left her, angry and heartbroken, he was still considered "the help." Now he is the captain of a ship that manufactures whiskey and considered quite the eligible bachelor. She watches him flirt with all the other women in front of her, still wanting him and wishing she didn't, all the while trying to broker a deal for a new water filtration system that will save her family without her needing to marry, while also trying to investigate some mysterious goings-on aboard the ship that hint at treachery and, maybe, murder.I enjoyed this book a lot for many reasons. First, as a science-fiction book, it's pretty light, so don't pick this up expecting hardcore space opera. The Bachelor in Space is a pretty apt description for this book. It isn't quite THE SELECTION (thank God), but nor is it Star Trek. I actually enjoyed the drama, and the artfully done will they?/won't they? between Elliot and Leo just about killed me.Leo is a pretty great protagonist. I liked the fact that she was tall (5'11"!) and curvy. I thought it was cool that she was an inventor and a significant portion of the plot is about her filtration design. She also has a pretty healthy relationship towards other women. Even though she has a lot of jealousy towards her cousin and sister, it doesn't dissolve into a mess of girl-on-girl hate or shaming.Regarding things that this book could have done better-- well, it was pretty fluffy, and I think it would have been nice to have more action beneath all the hearts, flowers, and trimmings. I also thought the LGBT+ rep was a bit clumsily done. There's an introduction of an ace character towards the end who basically serves as the foil for someone else's romantic relationship, and about 60% of the dialogue of the one lesbian character is her reminding all the characters that she's a lesbian and oh, by the way, are there any available girls around? It felt like her sexuality was a stand-in for her personality, which made me kind of sad, even though her character improved a little bit in the last quarter of the book.Overall, though, I did like THE STARS WE STEAL a lot. It was a fun read and I enjoyed it.Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review!3.5 stars
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  • Brittney ~ Reverie and Ink
    January 1, 1970
    Ahhh! Gorgeous cover alert! I loved Brightly Burning, and I'm so excited for this one! Give me all that drama and intrigue - I'm so here for it! My Blog ~ Instagram ~ Twitter
  • megs_bookrack
    January 1, 1970
    Update: The fact that I haven't gotten to this yet makes me rethink all of my life choices.Original:Today we celebrate!!!Thank you so much to HMH Books for Young Readers for my ARC!! I enjoyed Brightly Burning so much and have been anxiously awaiting this new release from Donne. Well, today the wait is over, my friends!This description had me at 'whiskey ship...' ...but GAWDDDD look at that cover!!! ((heart eyes))
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  • Brooke — brooklynnnnereads
    January 1, 1970
    I was really looking forward to this novel but unfortunately, it was far less than what I expected. This story starts off with a bang (literally) and it's adventure and action right from the beginning. There is little to no introduction regarding the background of the world, the story, or the characters before the reader is thrust into the story.However, even with the story being introduced amidst action, this novel was mostly....boring for me. None of the characters caught my attention, nor did I was really looking forward to this novel but unfortunately, it was far less than what I expected. This story starts off with a bang (literally) and it's adventure and action right from the beginning. There is little to no introduction regarding the background of the world, the story, or the characters before the reader is thrust into the story.However, even with the story being introduced amidst action, this novel was mostly....boring for me. None of the characters caught my attention, nor did the romance. Even the political involvement of this world in the plot didn't keep me invested. As well, both of the main characters were not necessarily likable which is not a mandatory attribute but can help when it comes to maintaining interest in the story. As nothing captured my attention or interest, there was nothing that kept me truly anchored or invested in the overall story. As for the ending, it was fairly predictable but also abrupt for a story with such a slow pace. There was so much build up only for one climactic scene with little resolution aside from an epilogue. To me, it seemed as if there were still many loose ends left in the story. As a whole, I continued reading this novel until the end in the hopes that it would get better but if I was someone to 'DNF' a novel, this would be one that I would have stopped reading less than halfway through. ***Thank you to the publisher for supplying me with a copy of this book via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review***
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  • Boston
    January 1, 1970
    2.5 stars. I went into this book expecting a great story and fantastic queer representation. What I got was a somewhat entertaining story and queer characters that were clearly not researched well, if at all. I liked the political aspect of the story, though, I would have liked to have seen Leo actually do something about other ships starving to death rather than just saying she cared about the issue. The story was entertaining enough to keep me reading, but I wasnt wowed especially as a big 2.5 stars. I went into this book expecting a great story and fantastic queer representation. What I got was a somewhat entertaining story and queer characters that were clearly not researched well, if at all. I liked the political aspect of the story, though, I would have liked to have seen Leo actually do something about other ships starving to death rather than just saying she cared about the issue. The story was entertaining enough to keep me reading, but I wasn’t wowed especially as a big Jane Austen fan.
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  • Tara ☽
    January 1, 1970
    "A Jane Austen's 'Persuasion' retelling set in space"Me, sobbing: Just - just please take my money. Take it. All of it. Please. I'm begging you, I need this so badly, just take my money, take it, plea-
  • Bookphenomena (Micky)
    January 1, 1970
    THE STARS WE STEAL had the ingredients for Micky kryptonite with space, sci-fi and YAthat was before I even heard it was a retelling of Persuasion, so I was truly sold at that point. The execution didnt let me down and wont let fans of the original down if they have an open mind about the age of the characters and an in-the-future interpretation.Leo was a likeable heroine from early on. She was a feisty, curvy feminist with a little more confidence than the original Ann. The premise for this THE STARS WE STEAL had the ingredients for Micky kryptonite with space, sci-fi and YA…that was before I even heard it was a retelling of Persuasion, so I was truly sold at that point. The execution didn’t let me down and won’t let fans of the original down if they have an open mind about the age of the characters and an in-the-future interpretation.Leo was a likeable heroine from early on. She was a feisty, curvy feminist with a little more confidence than the original ‘Ann’. The premise for this world, included an ice-age on Earth, a huge fleet of ships and a royalty system. There was a context of haves and have-nots. I enjoyed the politics, corrupt as they were and nepotism was the flavour of the month. Leo navigated this world, the fleet of ships with quiet insight, courage and snark.I was a commodity in a pretty dress, on display for all to see.Captain-to-be Elliot Wentworth returned to Leo’s life in unexpected way and they were not fast friends. Old hurts, jealousies and feelings were a roller coaster for these two. I struggled to really like Elliot, there was nothing essentially wrong with him but he didn’t give me the feels that the character he’s based upon demanded. However, when they were together, the chemistry was catchy.Great side characters, both good and downright nasty, aiding this book along. There were family, friends and acquaintences that offered a rich tapestry. I liked Daniel and Evgenia a lot but Leo’s close family were hard to fathom until they weren’t.The fast-paced story that ensued had me glued to my book, I found it difficult to put down and there were some mysteries along the way. This was truly a cast of YA characters, so lovers of Persuasion have to be ready accept this different age range and some of the decisions and behaviours that come with that age. I loved the conceptualisation in space and in YA, I appreciated the fun that they had on their ships and I enjoyed the ‘vlag’ season.I highly recommend this fun, dynamic retelling of a classic in space. I think readers will engage with the fun characters and setting.Thank you to Titan books for the gorgeous finished copy for review.This review can be found on A Take From Two Cities.
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  • Mara
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 stars-- My abiding experience of this book was as a lot of fun. This is a book that has a lightness of touch that I really enjoyed & I was having a good time the majority of the time I was reading it. That said, I do think there are some short comings for me, some that are unique to me (e.g. I'm realizing that I just don't like it when there's marriage at stake in a YA- feels like it should just be adult at that point) and some that I think stem from using Persuasion as the source 3.5 stars-- My abiding experience of this book was as a lot of fun. This is a book that has a lightness of touch that I really enjoyed & I was having a good time the majority of the time I was reading it. That said, I do think there are some short comings for me, some that are unique to me (e.g. I'm realizing that I just don't like it when there's marriage at stake in a YA- feels like it should just be adult at that point) and some that I think stem from using Persuasion as the source material (e.g. the miscommunication levels just didn't work given that we weren't actually in the Regency when you really couldn't just talk things out). All in all, fun & would read more from this author
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  • Joshee Kun (조수아)
    January 1, 1970
    I don't know you at all anymore. And I don't care to. Leo I don't know you at all anymore. And I don't care to. —Leo
  • Bethany
    January 1, 1970
    Actual Rating: 3.5 starsFull disclosure: I received an advance copy of this book for review from the author, and I am a fan of her YouTube content. However, these are my honest thoughts and feelings on the book. The Stars We Steal is a fun, soapy YA novel that is Persuasion (Jane Austen) meets The Bachelor in space. Such a great concept! And the execution was good, although in some places it could have been better. I had a really fun time reading this for the most part, and I actually think Actual Rating: 3.5 starsFull disclosure: I received an advance copy of this book for review from the author, and I am a fan of her YouTube content. However, these are my honest thoughts and feelings on the book. The Stars We Steal is a fun, soapy YA novel that is Persuasion (Jane Austen) meets The Bachelor in space. Such a great concept! And the execution was good, although in some places it could have been better. I had a really fun time reading this for the most part, and I actually think teenagers might enjoy it even more than I did, particularly in terms of the romance. This is a YA story that really feels written for a teenage audience. My 30-something married self was definitely shipping a non-canon relationship, but as a teen I absolutely would have felt differently! I think if you are looking for a fun time with a soapy teen romance in an interesting sci-fi future, this is worth a read.I enjoyed seeing the bones of Persuasion in this new setting, although sometimes it didn't quite feel cohesive, trying to merge some modern sensibilities with some Victorian ones, especially in terms of gender dynamics. It was also fun (as a Bachelor fan) to see some nods to things like over-the-top dates and group scenarios. We do get a diverse cast of character, which was great to see. I like that our heroine is a woman of size, although I felt like this could have gone farther in terms of body positivity. Not that I thought that representation was bad, I just wanted more from it. But I think what fell rather flat for me was the ending. Everything was extremely predictable from very early on, the villain lacked nuance (being of the more mustache-twirling variety), and I'm not remotely convinced that the final couple should actually be together (though again, part of this probably has to do with my age). But that said, even though this book wasn't perfect, it was still a lot of fun to read! Not a new favorite, but a good time and I think a lot of people will enjoy it.
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  • Anja H.
    January 1, 1970
    This cover is giving me grabby hands syndrome holy shit!
  • Guylou (Two Dogs and a Book)
    January 1, 1970
    This exciting and lovely YA romance/fantasy novel is a retelling of Jane Austins Persuasion. The story takes place in space on several ships where the human survivors have taken refuge after the Earth experienced another ice age. They have been in space for over 170 years and in order to avoid inbreeding, the Scandinavian ship hosts a Valg season every five years. Young affluent people come from all ships to meet and hopefully find their future spouse. Princess Leonie Kolburg finds herself This exciting and lovely YA romance/fantasy novel is a retelling of Jane Austin’s Persuasion. The story takes place in space on several ships where the human survivors have taken refuge after the Earth experienced another ice age. They have been in space for over 170 years and in order to avoid inbreeding, the Scandinavian ship hosts a Valg season every five years. Young affluent people come from all ships to meet and hopefully find their future spouse. Princess Leonie Kolburg finds herself forced to participate in, what she thinks, this masquerade despite her attempt to find her own way our of the financial difficulties her family is in. She has invented a way to purify the water that could benefit the entire fleet. But she faces many obstacles to register her patent and time is running out. To add to her ordeals, her ex-fiancé has resurfaced, and she still has feelings for him. Nothing works as planned and Leo will face many dangers that will come in several forms. She will discover that blood family is not always on your side, and that friendships can open doors in surprising ways..Wonderfully written and entertaining, this book will please any fans of fantasy novels mixed with a love story.🙋🏼‍♀️ Thanks to RainCoast Books and HMH Teen for sending me an ARC of this exciting novel. 𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗦𝘁𝗮𝗿𝘀 𝗪𝗲 𝗦𝘁𝗲𝗮𝗹 by Alexa Donne will be available at your favourite bookstore on February 4, 2020.#poodles #poodlestagram #poodlesofinstagram #furbabies #dogsofinstagram #bookstagram #dogsandbooks #bookishlife #bookishlove #bookstagrammer #book #books #booklover #bookish #bookaholic #reading #readersofinstagram #instaread #ilovebooks #bookishcanadians #canadianbookstagram #bookreviewer #bookcommunity #bibliophile #bookphotography #thestarswesteal #alexadonne #bookreview #yafantasy
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  • Stacee
    January 1, 1970
    2.5 starsI had seen this pitched as the bachelorette in space and was intrigued, but it was the cover that sucked me in. I liked Leo? Yes, that is a question. She spends a good portion of the book complaining about royalty and titles, but doesnt hesitate to use her power in the same way the people shes complaining about do. I did like her tenacity. Her sister comes across as quite flighty and the big cast of secondary characters didnt do a thing for me...including Elliott. Plot wise, it was meh. 2.5 starsI had seen this pitched as “the bachelorette in space” and was intrigued, but it was the cover that sucked me in. I liked Leo? Yes, that is a question. She spends a good portion of the book complaining about royalty and titles, but doesn’t hesitate to use her “power” in the same way the people she’s complaining about do. I did like her tenacity. Her sister comes across as quite flighty and the big cast of secondary characters didn’t do a thing for me...including Elliott. Plot wise, it was meh. I instantly saw the retelling of Persuasion and will admit that most of the reason I kept reading was to get to The Letter. The majority of the story is dating and luxury with talks of the poor and disadvantaged sprinkled throughout. It doesn’t seem to be leading anywhere until the very last chapter and then everything is tied up nicely. Overall, it was a great idea, but the execution didn’t work for me. **Huge thanks to HMH for providing the arc free of charge**
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  • Vanessa ♛Queen Alchemy ϟ Novel Nerd Faction♛
    January 1, 1970
    This was an exciting YA science fiction novel that totally delighted me! This novel is a retelling of Jane Austins Persuasion, though it can still be enjoyed by someone (like me, gasp!) that has never read Persuasion. These characters won me over fairly quickly. Leo especially was a character that I was drawn to. She was such a relatable character and I found myself rooting for her instantly. This book has a really great cast of characters that will make you feel a gamut of emotions. Some This was an exciting YA science fiction novel that totally delighted me! This novel is a retelling of Jane Austin’s Persuasion, though it can still be enjoyed by someone (like me, gasp!) that has never read Persuasion. These characters won me over fairly quickly. Leo especially was a character that I was drawn to. She was such a relatable character and I found myself rooting for her instantly. This book has a really great cast of characters that will make you feel a gamut of emotions. Some characters evolve over time and come to mean something more to the story than the reader originally thought. I loved all the evolutions of these characters. Many characters had excellent character growth. I really love how each character was important to the story. I enjoyed the writing style of the story. I was immediately drawn into the story and it kept my attention well. The story had a great flow throughout. The world-building was adequate for the story being told. Science fiction is kind of tricky because it is very involved. On the other hand, this is a YA novel and so the world-building is not as intense as it would be in an adult novel. At least for the fantasy and science fiction genres. There are definitely things in the story that I would have loved to have more insight on but, again, the lack of those things does not impede the story being told. Some of the things that crossed my mind were: Where do the ships get their food and water? What powers their spaceships? I would have also loved to know more about Earth. I really loved all the elements in the plot of the story. The story touches upon the class differences in the social structure, though I wish that the story had more resolution where this angle was concerned. The story arc was well crafted and I honestly couldn't pull myself away from the book. There are twists and turns in the story that keep you on the edge of your seat. The only thing that I felt was lacking was the end of the story. It felt like there were too many loose ends that weren't tied up at the end. I guess I was looking for more resolution. Overall, I was so pleased with this story! I really loved the premise and the execution of the story. This is an author that I can't wait to read more from!More reviews on my blog: Novel Nerd Faction
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  • Elly
    January 1, 1970
    THE STARS WE STEAL pulled me in immediately and wouldn't let me go. I loved its smart, confident heroine and the wonderful blend of Austen-inspired elements in a spaceship setting. This bold new take on a classic love story crackles with romantic tension, delivering a twisty ride full of secrets and betrayals.
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  • Vicky Who Reads
    January 1, 1970
    oh this sounds good...I must read Persuasion. it seems all the Jane Austen novels I read are the ones that are never retold hahaha. but also--The Bachelor! (yes please?!)
  • Katie
    January 1, 1970
    *4.5 stars*ARC received at ALA from HMH teen. Summary Princess Leonie is living aboard the Scandanavian, a spaceship in the fleet of what is left of the human population. Royal only in title, her family desperately needs her to marry for money. Enter the Valg Season - an event held every five years to match all eligible people in the fleet with their future spouses. Leo is desperately looking for a solution for her family that doesn't involve her being married off to the wealthiest suitor, but *4.5 stars*ARC received at ALA from HMH teen. Summary Princess Leonie is living aboard the Scandanavian, a spaceship in the fleet of what is left of the human population. Royal only in title, her family desperately needs her to marry for money. Enter the Valg Season - an event held every five years to match all eligible people in the fleet with their future spouses. Leo is desperately looking for a solution for her family that doesn't involve her being married off to the wealthiest suitor, but pulling off her plans are harder than she thought. To further complicate things, Leo's childhood love, Elliot, has returned for the Valg Season. Her heart is still broken from their whirlwind romance, where she was forced to break it off because he was a servant and had no wealth of his own. Upon his return, however, Elliot has amassed a fortune and is now the biggest catch of the Season. Review The Stars We Steal is pitched as The Bachelorette in space, but I found that it had the fun of the speed dating and matching aspects, and added depth and feeling with a deeper subplot. The writing was fun and quick to fly through, and this novel had levity without becoming too superficial. You end up really caring about the characters and the fate of the fleet. I adored Leo. She's resourceful and has always been the caretaker for her father and sister. She is practical and reliable, and wants what's best for her family, even if it means sacrificing her own happiness. It hurt my heart to see the way that she had sacrificed her love for Elliot in order to keep her family afloat. Any woman with engineering skills in a novel will automatically win my heart, and I love that we got to see Leo coming up with inventions on her own, and coming up with a plan to get them implemented. There are a whole cast of side characters that are all wonderful. I especially loved Leo's relationship with her sister, Carina. They definitely had their ups and downs, and it always made me emotional to see how much they cared for each other despite their obvious differences. Also, let me just say this novel was chock full of representation and it was really well done. We had Evgenia, who is a lesbian (and the author even touched upon participating in a Valg Season as a gay woman, and the difficulties/stigmas associate with it), Max and Ewan who are husbands, Daniel (view spoiler)[(who is asexual) (hide spoiler)], and Leo was written as demi even though it's not explicitly stated in the text. This representation was beautifully done and seamlessly woven into the story, and I found it especially refreshing in a novel that is pitched as The Bachelorette-esque (which as we know, the show has almost no representation at all). THE DRAMA. It was so fun! Not only were there twisty-turvey plots involved with the Valg Season and the complicated feelings as the characters try to pair off, but there was a huge subplot of the injustices on the fleet and the divide between the poor and the rich. This social commentary grounded the novel and kept it from feeling too superficial. I really felt like Leo's mind for inventions and Elliot's Robin Hood complex helped give this novel a lot of heart. But also, it was so much fun trying to see this cast of characters navigate their messy feelings. I adored Elliot and Leo's romance. At the start of the novel, they have a long history and a lot of baggage to sort through. Their arc was written in such a way that you could feel like they really did a lot to navigate their complicated relationship and didn't just forgive one another instantly. It felt real, and raw. I really felt for them and all that they had went through. I was surprised to learn that The Stars We Steal is a retelling of Austen's Persuasion! I love the idea of taking a classic story and spinning it into something new and fun. If you're looking for a fun sci-fi novel, this is the book for you! I honestly flew through it in one weekend because it was compulsively readable!
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  • Knobby
    January 1, 1970
    (3.5 stars)I'd been SO excitedly waiting for this book to come out, ever since I heard the premise: YA Persuasion in space!! Persuasion is my second favorite Austen novel and I was really curious to see how Alexa Donne, whose first book, Brightly Burning, was Jane Eyre in space, was going to make this work. I had a long conversation with a friend about Persuasion adaptations. How can they be modernized, when the social mores of the Regency era can explain why the two lovebirds don't discuss (3.5 stars)I'd been SO excitedly waiting for this book to come out, ever since I heard the premise: YA Persuasion in space!! Persuasion is my second favorite Austen novel and I was really curious to see how Alexa Donne, whose first book, Brightly Burning, was Jane Eyre in space, was going to make this work. I had a long conversation with a friend about Persuasion adaptations. How can they be modernized, when the social mores of the Regency era can explain why the two lovebirds don't discuss their problems, and the old-fashioned letter is the biggest source of swoon? Well, Persuasion in space is pretty darn modern! So how would it be tackled?Princess Leonie Kolburg's family has a title, but no money left. Her father pushes her to participate in a fleetwide dating spree called the Valg in order to find a wealthy husband to save their family. Leo would rather do so with her wits — she's created a water filtration system that could bring value to all the ships, if only someone would give her a chance — but when she begins to participate in the Valg, she is faced with Elliott Wentworth: her ex-fiancé that her father forced her to dump three years ago because he was the valet's son. The problem? She's still in love with him. He's now filthy rich. And he doesn't seem to care about Leo at all....The story, which was adapted and shaped to fit a new story, was more like Persuasion x The Bachelor Battlestar Galactica. For those who were curious about the history of earth-that-was, which was only lightly touched upon here, I'd recommend reading Brightly Burning first. This is not a sequel—there are no overlapping characters—but you get a better sense of what the fleet is doing in space. Anyway, with The Stars We Steal, there was so much going on, I wished that some of it had been expanded or, better yet, trimmed away.I wish I loved this more. I understand the limitations of the adaptations — and I think the author flexed enough creativity to make it a wholly new story just "inspired" by Jane Austen — but it was clunky. I didn't care about Leo's mother's backstory. I didn't understand why there needed to be a villain at all. IMO, it should have been about Leo and Elliott's love story and everything else takes a backseat to that. What we got instead was a book so full of ideas that it felt jumbled. In the end, I was a little disappointed.
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  • Mila
    January 1, 1970
    The digital arc of this book was kindly provided by the publisher via Edelweiss+ website in exchange for an honest review.3,5 starsI guess "Persuasion" is quite hard to make better or retell because this is the second retelling of it that I read and they're both kind of disappointing. Alex Donne tried to shape this story into a more of a mystery which I appreciate but all these weirdly sexual romantic relationships still took the spotlight. I also couldn't make myself like Elliot because he was The digital arc of this book was kindly provided by the publisher via Edelweiss+ website in exchange for an honest review.3,5 starsI guess "Persuasion" is quite hard to make better or retell because this is the second retelling of it that I read and they're both kind of disappointing. Alex Donne tried to shape this story into a more of a mystery which I appreciate but all these weirdly sexual romantic relationships still took the spotlight. I also couldn't make myself like Elliot because he was a bigger prick that was necessary for the plot. Leo was a good counterpart to him, though, so their relationship was cute in the end. So while this novel wasn't as good as I hoped, it was a light and enjoyable read nonetheless.
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  • ♠ TABI ♠
    January 1, 1970
    ya know I suppose I'm a total sucker for sci-fi retellings of classics cause the minute I read the blurb I was like "ah yes Persuasion in space HOW BRILLIANT" and now I need to read this asap please
  • Arielle ⭐ Cursebreaker ⭐
    January 1, 1970
    UM SINCE WHEN DOES GR SAVE REVIEW DRAFTS??!?! Huge fucking thanks to that because I accidentally clicked out of my other window and I have a massive headache so I was about to lay my head down and weep, lol. Yasssssssssssssssssssssssssss.3.5Man am I bummed about this, you guys. For those of you who didn't know, this is a loose science fiction re-telling of Persuasion by Jane Austen. I personally have never read it before but I HAVE read and loved For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund UM SINCE WHEN DOES GR SAVE REVIEW DRAFTS??!?! Huge fucking thanks to that because I accidentally clicked out of my other window and I have a massive headache so I was about to lay my head down and weep, lol. Yasssssssssssssssssssssssssss.3.5Man am I bummed about this, you guys. For those of you who didn't know, this is a loose science fiction re-telling of Persuasion by Jane Austen. I personally have never read it before but I HAVE read and loved For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund which was also inspired by the book. After finishing that I watched the movie from 2007 just to see how the Austen version went. Basically, this story is one of the move FRUSTRATING (but ultimately rewarding) cases of slow-burn/second chance romances that you will ever see in your entire life.This version had a LOT of potential and I still think that a lot of people will really like this. I personally think that I would have liked it more if it had even been a duology. Even though the world building and plot were pretty well formed and made sense, there was still so much MORE that could have been delved into if there had just been even one more book. The concept of this book is that the inhabitants of Earth who had the means to do so, left in a fleet of space ships based on different nationalities after another Ice Age came on and froze the planet solid. Our main female protagonist, Leo, is considered a princess even though her family is just about destitute an the title is only really that--a title. Her aunt, who is captain of a much larger ship that is doing really well and has quite a bit of wealth, allows them to dock there.She is about to be hosting an event called the Valg Season which allows young people from all the different ships a chance to come together to find a suitable partner from a different bloodline. Surprise, surprise, Leo's old love (who she had been engaged to for a hot second years ago before she was talked out of it by her father, aunt, and cousin because he was poor) shows up. Only now, he's got money and is suddenly the heir to a ship. The two are at each others throats understandably after what happened in the past and there is a lot of tension due to a number of different things that go down. As much as the small snippets of them reconnecting had my stomach fluttering, I wanted more. More, more, more. There wasn't enough of them reconnecting because too many other things were going on with different political aspects involving her aunt's ship and the fleet in general. I didn't learn nearly enough of what their past was like, or even who they had been as people to compare to the people they had grown to be in each others' absence. Again, if this had been more than one book, I think everything could have been executed perfectly with a better balance between the two things. Either way, it was still a quick read and I did still enjoy myself. Huge thanks to NetGalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for allowing me to read an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. ♥For more of my reviews, please visit:
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  • Marie
    January 1, 1970
    I had a lot of fun with this one! I liked the characters and the romance as a whole. I think I kind of wish the setting and world was a bit more explored, though, because I still have questions about it and I feel like it had a lot of potential there, potential that wasn't fully explored.Full review coming soon :)Thank you to Titan Books for the review copy of this book. This did not, in any way, influenced my thoughts and rating. My Blog - Drizzle & Hurricane Books - Twitter - Bloglovin'
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  • Alyssa
    January 1, 1970
    I was lucky enough to read an early copy of THE STARS WE STEAL and devoured it in two days. I love how Alexa Donne used the familiar romance arc from Persuasion but kept it fresh with surprising twists. If you love swoony romance, court intrigue, and beautiful writing, this is for you. I read this while traveling and think it's the perfect travel book. It made time fly because I was happily entranced by the story and writing. It's also the perfect couch read. Or bed read. Or pool read. Yeah, I was lucky enough to read an early copy of THE STARS WE STEAL and devoured it in two days. I love how Alexa Donne used the familiar romance arc from Persuasion but kept it fresh with surprising twists. If you love swoony romance, court intrigue, and beautiful writing, this is for you. I read this while traveling and think it's the perfect travel book. It made time fly because I was happily entranced by the story and writing. It's also the perfect couch read. Or bed read. Or pool read. Yeah, basically I think you should read it.
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  • Paperbacks
    January 1, 1970
    Im a huge fan of YA stories set in space, I feel its never used enough so I was excited to get the chance to read this thanks to Titan Books. Its pegged as a retelling of Persuasion coupled with The Bachelor, which I have both never read and never watched so I went in with a clean slate of what to expect. The cover is truly beautiful and Im much preferring the UK version that we get!Humanity has taken to the skies to escape what they have done to the Earth. Relegated to rapidly deteriorating I’m a huge fan of YA stories set in space, I feel it’s never used enough so I was excited to get the chance to read this thanks to Titan Books. It’s pegged as a retelling of Persuasion coupled with The Bachelor, which I have both never read and never watched so I went in with a clean slate of what to expect. The cover is truly beautiful and I’m much preferring the UK version that we get!Humanity has taken to the skies to escape what they have done to the Earth. Relegated to rapidly deteriorating space crafts with dwindling resources, it really is the case of the more things change the more they stay the same when it comes to the rich poor divide. The ships are pretty much floating countries or groups of countries, for Leo and her family they are attached to the Scandinavian, and the general concept left me with a Mortal Engines feel. I have to say I immediately liked Leo as a character and I think anyone who has had experience of trying to make ends meet will be able to identify with her and her frustrations. I felt that her determination at finding an alternative solution to her family’s woes a great side plot and the route she takes pretty genius. The Valg season however is the centre point which comes around every 4 years. I found strange seeing as the pickings are somewhat slim on board each ship and the participants seem to go from underage to over the hill within that gap, however it serves as a relevant plot device! The season feels pretty cringy at times with the participants forced into speed dating, baking, painting and all manner of contrived situations, but the characters still dive in with varying levels of interest!The friendships and shifting dynamics were nicely done though, with a lot of genuine fun being had in between. The book is also great for representation with gay, demi, and ace characters very much at the forefront. I wouldn’t go as far as to say that this was enemies to lovers but there is definite tension which is more than a little swoony at times, spacewalk anyone? I really enjoyed the comedy of errors feel at every turn with facepalm moments of near misses and for a group able to communicate by direct message, they really take the indirect route most of the time. This all serves to drive the story forward though in a wonderfully endearing way and actually brought about a regency kind of feel in a nod to the story it takes it’s initial inspiration from. I’m not sure yet where I would pitch the story as whilst there are some very YA moments it felt like more of a teen read overall.I did feel that the movement for change/terrorist aspect took quite a back seat sadly, after the initial gatecrash with a frightening display and threatening message I really thought were in for more of a mystery to be solved and greater upheaval but despite that side to it, everyone seemed perfectly happy to go back to parties and speed dating. I was left feeling whether it was really a necessary addition to the story at all as it kind of detracted from the overall tone of the story. I was also left feeling uncomfortable at how advanced Carina became for her 16 years, especially with her level of engagement with the partying and her eventual match, perhaps that’s just the parent coming out in me though.I would sum up The Stars we Steal as a great, fun read with fantastic characters and storytelling. It’s easy going, full of friendship, sweet romance, second chances and it’s in space!
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  • Christina (Ensconced in Lit)
    January 1, 1970
    I rate this book 3.5 stars. I enjoyed this book more than her previous book, Brightly Burning. I think I had to get over the fact that the science fiction was secondary to the romance, and then I enjoyed myself for the back half. But I am a science person so that's why it got docked more for that. But lovers of romance, definitely pick this one up!
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  • Lauren
    January 1, 1970
    Oh man...This was one of my most anticipated reads for this year, but honestly, Im a little let down. This book is a retelling of Persuasion by Jane Austen with a sci-fi take...apparently. A) Ive never read anything by Jane Austen so I cant comment on that aspect; 2) There was hardly anything sci-fi about this book apart from the fact that the word fleet and ship names are mentioned pretty regularly. Also, the most sci-fi part about this book was the epilogue where its mentioned that people dont Oh man...This was one of my most anticipated reads for this year, but honestly, I’m a little let down. This book is a retelling of ‘Persuasion’ by Jane Austen with a sci-fi take...apparently. A) I’ve never read anything by Jane Austen so I can’t comment on that aspect; 2) There was hardly anything sci-fi about this book apart from the fact that the word ‘fleet’ and ship names are mentioned pretty regularly. Also, the most sci-fi part about this book was the epilogue where it’s mentioned that people don’t want to come back to Earth.Whilst I found this book to be a fast read, I read the majority of it in one sitting, I did find it very mediocre.The characters weren’t anything special, even though I didn’t hate them. There was no character development and everything they did didn’t seem to have much consequence. Also there were 2 characters in here 1 with lesbian rep and 1 with ace rep but the ace rep was mentioned pretty much towards the end of the book. It would of been nice if it was mentioned earlier and then we got to see more of that character. For a book set in space, I expected this book to have an amazing atmosphere but it really didn’t. Infact, until the epilogue, I had pretty much forgotten that they weren’t on earth. The ship names are mentioned often but also nationalities like Russian, Scandinavian, Norwegian are mentioned too and it just felt like a huge mish mash. Like it was trying to be sci-fi but just wasn’t. Again, the logic behind the plot for this book was...meeeeh. We had no background as to why it was happening, why it had to happen and what the purpose was. Another thing for the plot is that it is very romance heavy, and I just didn’t get it. Everyone was fighting over this one guy but he was flirting with them all when he wanted someone who wasn’t fighting over him but he was too busy trying to make her jealous and she was too busy trying to hurt him and not trusting him and it was just a mess. That being said, I did like the writing style, it was easy and fast to read and I would somehow read 200 pages in one sitting when I only wanted to read 30. I feel like this book is severely under developed in the characters and plot/logic/atmosphere aspects and so I can’t rate it more than 3 stars (rated using CAWPILE) even though I kind of enjoyed it enough to finish it and to read it so fast.
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  • ♣Bel♣
    January 1, 1970
    The Stars We Steal 4 stars Did I love this? Absolutely.Do I want to sing its praises from the rooftops? As loud as I possibly could.Would I recommend? Immensely. There wasnt a single moment where I wanted to put this one down. It hooked me in from the very beginning. It made me want this world to be real. If I wasnt reading, all I could think about was the Sofi and Leo and the Vlag tradition due to how fascinating it all was.The world in itself is SO eccentric and intriguing and I loved how the The Stars We Steal 4 stars Did I love this? Absolutely.Do I want to sing it’s praises from the rooftops? As loud as I possibly could.Would I recommend? Immensely. There wasn’t a single moment where I wanted to put this one down. It hooked me in from the very beginning. It made me want this world to be real. If I wasn’t reading, all I could think about was the Sofi and Leo and the Vlag tradition due to how fascinating it all was.The world in itself is SO eccentric and intriguing and I loved how the author crafted this world, making it’s traditions unique while adding elements of our own world. It elated me to see all the different references and the similarities which made it seem all the more real to me. The romance takes a prominent lead and is the key focus of the story (which is to be expected considering ‘The Bachelorette’ aspect) but as a romance lover, I’m not complaining. I loved the angst and tension between our two main characters and adored all their scenes together and would find myself looking forward to each and every one. I did guess the main plot lines in the story but it didn’t take away from my enjoyment in the slightest. The reveals felt really traditional and true to YA culture and I was more than pleased with the way the story progressed. I was also surprised, pleasantly, to see representation for lgbt+ and even asexual rep, which we don’t get a lot of, if any, in YA. Overall it doesn’t get any better than ‘The Stars We Steal’, a stand-alone with a unique world set up, a traditional love story with all the tension and angst to complete it, and a heroine who is fierce and loyal to a fault. If you’re looking for a fast and fun read, then definitely pick this one up!
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