Chasing the Stars by Malorie Blackman
|Chasing the Stars by Malorie Blackman
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy
|Summary: Riffing on Othello, this is a thriller and a love story combined, in true Malorie Blackman form. If Othello in space doesn't whet your appetite, nothing will!
|Date: April 2016
|External links: Author's website
Olivia - Vee - and her brother Aidan are trying to get back to Earth after a mystery virus killed everyone, including their parents, on their ship. It's been a lonely three years and a dangerous one, too, as they've tried to avoid the dangerous and xenophobic Mazons. But sometimes the Mazons can't be avoided and this is one of them: when dozens of human beings are being attacked and only Vee and Aidan close enough to launch a rescue mission.
Thanks to Vee's courage and ingenuity, most of the refugees make it aboard. The refugees aren't just pursued by the Mazon, however: they are also running from the Earth Authority and its network of slave colonies. So Vee has a decision to make: should she continue her journey home to Earth or make a months-long detour to take the people she has rescued to safe harbour? And what about Nathan, the boy for whom she feels an instant and overpowering attraction, an attraction he feels too?
But Vee has secrets. Nathan has secrets. Everyone has secrets. And the ship now has a murderer on board...
... Chasing the Stars is more than a space romance. It's a thriller and a mystery and a romance and also a take on Othello by William Shakespeare. I'll tell you that the Othello figure is Vee and leave it at that. No spoilers!
I really like the way Malorie Blackman writes about teen love affairs. Her characters fall hard and fall passionately. You can't help but admire the way they just go for it. But they always get so much wrong, too, whether because of outside pressure or lack of experience. Her relationships feel real, even when they are taking a back seat to earth-shattering events. We all get relationships wrong and the course of true love never runs smooth. And we all have times when we are as self-defeatingly obstinate as Vee and Nathan in Chasing the Stars. How it turns out for these two is for you to read the book to find out - you might be surprised, even if you do know the plot of Othello. Just expect plenty of twists and turns.
As a space thriller, Chasing the Stars works. There's action aplenty, a murderer to catch, several further mysteries to solve and heroic escapes during which you forget to breathe. There's love and death, loss and grief, loyalty and courage, and a genuinely star-crossed love affair. It's even riffing on Shakespeare! It's nigh-on five hundred pages long but you'll get to the last page cursing there's no more to read. What more could you want?
For more classic riffing, Nicholas Dane by Melvin Burgess uses Oliver Twist. If sci-fi is your thing, then WE by John Dickinson is a very classy space thriller. And Railhead by Philip Reeve sees humans travelling into space not by rocket but by train.
You can read more book reviews or buy Chasing the Stars by Malorie Blackman at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
You can read more book reviews or buy Chasing the Stars by Malorie Blackman at Amazon.com.
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