Saturday, March 20, 2021

Recent Read


Once We Were Starlight by Mia Sheridan

While I was reading this book, I tweeted asking if anyone else has read a book that is painful to read.  And I meant in a good way.  It’s a book that is so well written that it’s as if you are there, a part of the story, like a silent observer.  Such is the case with this book.  It’s not an easy read in many ways but oh so well worth reading


The first part of the book takes place in a mid-east country in some kind of small city and the main characters are Karys and Zakai, two young people who have lived in this place since they were very young.  From the very beginning there was a very strong bond between them and as they got older, this strong bond turned physical.  Only this place wasn’t paradise, it was a place people came from all over the world to watch deviant sexual acts and once the owner was aware of what was going on between Karys and Zakai, they became part of the “entertainment” as brother and sister having sex with each other.  Thankfully, the book isn’t very descriptive in this area.


Karys is very naïve and doesn’t really understand what’s really going on and in order to protect her, Zakai makes almost a game of it.  All the other ‘prisoners’ also try and shield her so she doesn’t see how depraved it all is and sees everyone as almost family.  Eventually Karys and Zakai are rescued and Karys is sent to live with an uncle she has never met.  Zakai was a beggar and an orphan and has nowhere to go but he is also sent to New York.  Karys finds things very difficult as she has always had Kai with her and now her uncle tries to discourage their special bond.


Then for reasons Karys doesn’t understand, Zakai smashes the bond and they are estranged.  They are still in each other’s orbit in a way.  Zakai goes on to become a very successful model and she sees him on billboards and print adds.  Karys has become a successful author of YA fantasy books.


The story opens and then ends with a confrontation between the two and the story in between is their history.

This is just a very brief synopsis of this heartbreaking romance and I know I don’t have the words to adequately describe how very impactful it is.  Karys and Zakai are beautiful together and the love between them is intense and passionate.  It’s the kind of book that haunts you and stays with you even when you aren’t reading and long after you’ve finished  My heart broke for both of them.

It is told entirely from Karys’ point of view except for the final chapter which is from Zakai.  I know in the past the author has written duets from each POV and I’m really hoping this is the plan for this book too.  We can infer quite a bit what Zakai is going through but I’d love to see it directly through his eyes.


This is such a beautiful, haunting, painful, amazing book and I’m at risk of overdosing on superlatives.


Mia Sheridan can write such powerful and emotional books and in this book she is at her finest.

Grade: A+

One last thing just in case you aren't sure and wondering, this is a romance and the number one criteria for a romance is the HEA

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