A Conspiracy of Stars

A Conspiracy of Stars

Octavia has only ever had one goal: to follow in the footsteps of her parents and become a prestigious whitecoat, one of the scientists who study the natural wonders of Faloiv. The secrets of the jungle’s exotic plants and animals are protected fiercely in the labs by the Council of N’Terra, so when the rules suddenly change, allowing students inside, Octavia should be ove...

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Title:A Conspiracy of Stars
Author:Olivia A. Cole
Rating:

A Conspiracy of Stars Reviews

  • Lisa

    Everything about this book - the characters, plot and mystery - are all very well thought out and carefully constructed. I was definitely compelled to read and continue unraveling the secrets of Faloiv (<- no idea how to pronounce this!).

    I was so impressed with the world-building here - and I loved Octavia's curiosity and love of her planet. The science fiction aspects like skinsuits and all the species of animals added depth and interest to the story. I deeply wish the cover conveyed the arr

    Everything about this book - the characters, plot and mystery - are all very well thought out and carefully constructed. I was definitely compelled to read and continue unraveling the secrets of Faloiv (<- no idea how to pronounce this!).

    I was so impressed with the world-building here - and I loved Octavia's curiosity and love of her planet. The science fiction aspects like skinsuits and all the species of animals added depth and interest to the story. I deeply wish the cover conveyed the array of colors and flora and fauna present in the book - I think the flowers shown on the background don't do enough to convey the imaginative nature of the book.

    Make sure you pick this up on in the new year!

  • Madison

    Here there be monsters. A Conspiracy Of Stars is a truly imaginative novel. Beautifully crafted, this book draws the reader into another world, or rather planet, that is entirely different from our own. Yet is seems that the troubles of humanity follow, no matter how exotic the location.

    Octavia's dream is to become a whitecoat like her mother and father, eminent scientists who study the diverse animals and plants of Faloiv. When she and her fellow classmates are offered internships well before e

    Here there be monsters. A Conspiracy Of Stars is a truly imaginative novel. Beautifully crafted, this book draws the reader into another world, or rather planet, that is entirely different from our own. Yet is seems that the troubles of humanity follow, no matter how exotic the location.

    Octavia's dream is to become a whitecoat like her mother and father, eminent scientists who study the diverse animals and plants of Faloiv. When she and her fellow classmates are offered internships well before expected, they are all excited. But things are changing within their settlement of N'Terra. There are murmurs of discontent, anger towards the indigenous people of Faloiv, the Faloii, and the head of the Council seems to be driving it all. As Octavia and her friends uncover more of the secrets of her home, she begins to experience her own strange changes - it seems she is far more tied to the planet of Faloiv and all its inhabitants than she ever could have dreamed possible.

    The world created in A Conspiracy of Star is so detailed. The creatures, the plant life, the Faloii are all so different and creative. The author must surely have a sketchbook or workbook with all these details fully drafted out to bring them to life so clearly within the writing.

    I loved the writing style. The book is centred around an entirely new planet, ecosystem, and social system, yet there is no information overload. Instead, the reader is placed immediately into Octavia's life, and slowly, as more details are revealed, it becomes clearer about who she is, where she lives, and the amazing creations with which she is surrounded. This meant that at first I wasn't entirely sure about all the details but it left me wanting to read more, quickly, to find out everything - from how this group of N'Terran's came to be on Faloiv, to their available technology and the secrets that have been hidden from Octavia. The publisher has categories this book under monsters, but I'm not so sure this refers to the amazingly diverse animals that feature in the story.

    The story and characters are all very authentic. Octavia and her classmates have all lived on Faloiv their whole life. They know nothing else. They know so much about the new creatures and plants of Faloiv, but not a lot about the Origin Planet (Earth). And words, like tortoises or cornrows or Afros, which have somehow remained in their language base have now lost their meaning. I liked how these little details were included as a reminder of the difference between the children born within N'Terra and those older inhabitants who journeyed from the Origin Planet. And it is this divide from which the trouble stirs.

    The romance in A Conspiracy of Stars starts as a newly developing crush and slowly deepens into a close friendship. Of course, this is all spread through the action and twists of the plot and so the romance does not take the focus. It will be very interesting to see how the romance continues in the second book. There are also many other relationships that feature in A Conspiracy of Stars, friendship, parent-daughter, student-teacher, and rival, that all become more complex as more secrets are revealed.

    This series is a planned duology. It is hugely exciting that the story will be concluded within just two books, keeping the story fast-paced and totally engaging. The exciting and climatic ending of this first book has me very eager to read the final novel. The is still so much of Faloiv to be discovered. A Conspiracy of Stars is a beautifully crafted science-fiction novel, that uniquely stretches the boundaries of what we think of about other planets, animals, and human interactions.

    The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.

    Find more reviews, reading age guides, content advisory, and recommendations on my blog

  • Emily May

    3 1/2 stars. I really think that love for certain books can depend on the time when you read them. There would probably be times when

    would be too slow-moving for me. Because, honestly, it is a very slow climb;

    , with later chapters containing enough action to just about mak

    3 1/2 stars. I really think that love for certain books can depend on the time when you read them. There would probably be times when

    would be too slow-moving for me. Because, honestly, it is a very slow climb;

    , with later chapters containing enough action to just about make up for the earlier pacing.

    Thankfully, I read this book on vacation. There was no rush; no demand I read it within a certain time. I was able to enjoy the book's pacing in a way I otherwise may not have. It is sometimes hard to commit to a slow book when real life pressures give us so little time to read. But I am so glad I made the effort with this.

    reminded me of

    or, if you remember it,

    . It imagines human settlers crashing on a planet called Faloiv, setting up a laboratory called N'Terra, and experimenting on the native animals, with obvious nods to the colonialism we know. The indigenous people - the Faloii - live out in the Faloiv wilderness but, as Octavia is about to discover, the actions of the human settlers, the secrets they are keeping and the vows they are breaking, could lead to a catastrophic war.

    There is a strong focus on nature and animals, with the latter being sometimes terrifying and sometimes heartbreaking. Some of the heavy descriptions of Faloiv wildlife bogs down the first part of the book, as Octavia and friends (who were born on Faloiv) take part in lab internships and learn a lot of facts along with the reader.

    The pacing picks up when Octavia begins to discover that she can hear voices or get a sense of something that no one else seems to hear or feel. And it picks up once again later when Octavia starts to discover how deep the shit is. I especially liked that

    between Octavia and her friends, putting emphasis on friendship above all else. A romance develops but it is not central to the story, and it rises organically out of a friendship.

    The society Cole imagines seems at least relatively diverse. All of the major characters are dark-skinned and, unless it's a grammatical error (which has happened to me before), Rondo has two dads. Most other characters are not given physical descriptions, though some are described as "pale" or have names suggesting diversity (Dr Wong, for example).

    So yes, it does take a while to get going, lingering on dense descriptions that may not all have been necessary, but I personally thought it was worth it. Cole considers

    . And, slow as it may be, that certainly cannot be said for the later chapters that explode with action and reveals.

    It is impossible to look away as the novel draws to a dramatic close and you can count me on board for the sequel!

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  • Sarah

    (I received an advance copy of this book for free. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.)

    This was a YA sci-fi story, set on another planet.

    I liked Octavia, and I liked how she kept searching for the truth even when things got hard. I also liked her friends Rondo and Alma, and I liked how they helped her even when she sounded a bit crazy.

    The storyline in this was about Octavia finding that things were not as they seemed on the planet where she lived. She had been born on the planet, whilst her p

    (I received an advance copy of this book for free. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.)

    This was a YA sci-fi story, set on another planet.

    I liked Octavia, and I liked how she kept searching for the truth even when things got hard. I also liked her friends Rondo and Alma, and I liked how they helped her even when she sounded a bit crazy.

    The storyline in this was about Octavia finding that things were not as they seemed on the planet where she lived. She had been born on the planet, whilst her parents and other elders had been born on the ‘origin planet’ and had travelled to Faloiv when the ‘origin planet’ became inhospitable. There were several mysteries surrounding what was going on and what the humans were doing with the native people and animals, and the world building was pretty good. The pace was also fairly consistent throughout the book, and it held my interest fairly well.

    The ending to this had plenty of action, and just enough of a twist at the end to make me want to read the next book.

    ★★★★★★★☆☆☆

    7 out of 10

  • Karen

    See my full review and much more on my blog

    A CONSPIRACY OF STARS takes place on a distant planet called Faloiv. Octavia’s grandparents and other scientists have crash landed on. The big job on this planet is to become a ‘whitecoat’ scientist, studying the animals of Faloiv. Everything changes when Olivia witnesses a native Falvoii being attacked and captured by the scientists in the council of N’Terra. With a little help from her friends, Octavia must learns the truth about wha

    See my full review and much more on my blog

    A CONSPIRACY OF STARS takes place on a distant planet called Faloiv. Octavia’s grandparents and other scientists have crash landed on. The big job on this planet is to become a ‘whitecoat’ scientist, studying the animals of Faloiv. Everything changes when Olivia witnesses a native Falvoii being attacked and captured by the scientists in the council of N’Terra. With a little help from her friends, Octavia must learns the truth about what her family and other scientists on the planet are actually trying to accomplish.

    This book starts with Octavia living her life. We learn about the place she lives as the story progresses. Octavia is somewhat sheltered by her parents, the school, and even her living quarters. The world starts small for Octavia and then as she learns more the world opens up for Octavia and the reader.

    This world is completely unconventional in it’s eco-structure and natural habitats. The native people living on this planet are Faloii, they look different and they have freakish spots on their skin that moves. They don’t communicate only verbally and that’s part of what makes them, and this planet, so unusual.

    We don’t see much of the outside world. The story really focuses on the settlement that Octavia lives in, N’Terra. N’Terra is divided into sections depending on what job people have and what the scientists in each section are studying. This settlement is primarily academic as the first settlers were mostly composed of scientists. Where they were headed and what their actual goal was in traveling is not covered in the story.

    The creatures of this world are all extraordinary in their appearance and skill set. Octavia and her classmates only know the creatures of this world and even they find them fascinating and worthy of study. People can’t actually survive in the wilds of Faloiv, so understanding how the animals do is the key to living on this planet. Studying the native species on Faloiv is the primary focus of the people living in N’Terra. Only through science can they learn how to live better on this rough planet.

    The main focus of this story is friendship as Octavia tries to understand something she witnesses and the coldness in her parents marriage. All of the characters are important to move this story forward. Octavia does have a romantic interest in this story in one of her classmates named Rhondo. I liked the slow build of these two and they eventually progress into a partnership of necessity as they are thrust into danger.

    I really enjoyed this story. Even though some of seemed really far out. I would highly recommend it to science fiction fans. It brings up some good questions about how far we should really go in the name of science. There were a lot of unanswered questions but I think this story ended in a really good place. I will definitely be reading the sequel.

  • Angelica

    I think that this is my favorite book I've read this year.

    Admittedly, it's the only book I've read so far this year, but no matter. For being the first book I read in 2018, this has set the bar fairly high.  And to think that I felt a bit hesitant when picking this book up after seeing some low rated reviews. But then I realized that the problem was less about the story and more about personal preferences.

    The main problem with this book is that is slow. Like, extremely, I almost quit part way th

    I think that this is my favorite book I've read this year.

    Admittedly, it's the only book I've read so far this year, but no matter. For being the first book I read in 2018, this has set the bar fairly high.  And to think that I felt a bit hesitant when picking this book up after seeing some low rated reviews. But then I realized that the problem was less about the story and more about personal preferences.

    The main problem with this book is that is slow. Like, extremely, I almost quit part way through, kind of slow. It didn't begin to pick up until around the halfway point where everything was finally starting to come together.

    Cole sets up the world for us and fills it with interesting creatures (whose names I don't remember) and scientific things (that I won't even try to explain). She also sets up a mystery and a heavily guarded secret that takes time to weave and then time to unravel.

    If you aren't a fan of slow building plots and slow-burning romances, then this book is not for you. Just stop right here and turn back because after reading some reviews,  this seems to have been the problem for most people who've read it.

    But, if you are like me, and don't mind the slow build, then I totally recommend because the pay off was well worth it. After the story managed to get itself going it was highspeed rollercoaster that didn't stop until the last page.

    My favorite books are ones that are heavily character driven, and this one certainly was. Cole took time to develop each and every one of them, giving them each a drive and a purpose and decorating them with characteristics particular to each one. She did this not only to the main cast, but also all the minor characters that appear throughout, a thing that definitely made them all stand out.

    Another thing is that all the major characters are people of color! I honestly could not believe it. You know that there is a problem in the world when you go into a book and are surprised to find that the main heroine isn't white. I had to stop myself and wonder what the world had come to that I, a person of color, had gone into this YA sci-fi novel picturing a white heroine until it was proven otherwise when Octavia described her self as having dark brown skin and cornrows in her hair.

    And it wasn't just racially ambiguous people with "light brown skin" or tans or foreign-looking faces. No. The girl who is considered to be "the prettiest girl on Faloiv" has "deeply black" skin and dreadlocks. And another girl, Alma, proudly sports an afro and is described regal because of it. That, my friends, is an incredible thing. We rarely see this kind of representation in YA, and rarely are they considered beautiful. So, thank you, Oliva A. Cole. Thank you very much. For that alone, you deserve a star.

    The writing style is also one that is fluid and easy to read. You can tell that Cole is a natural born storyteller, and the story itself is one that is handled very well.  The book shows us the damaging effects of colonialism and the capacity of human greed and entitlement. It also focuses on the moral side of science showing us that just because we can, doesn't mean we should.

    Overall, this book is solid. I totally recommend for those of you who don't mind the pace. I'm looking forward to the next book in this duology.

    **I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.**

  • Laura

    I have a love/hate relationship with the classic slow build. Mainly because I usually get too bored. But there are the cases where the slowness pays off in an explosive way. That ends up being the case here. Especially in the last chapter. So this

    worth the read. However..suffering through that slowness was a bit of a pain until the world we were in came to life. I get it, though. If this didn't come together in a slower way, the world-building would've been a full on info-dump. And we all kn

    I have a love/hate relationship with the classic slow build. Mainly because I usually get too bored. But there are the cases where the slowness pays off in an explosive way. That ends up being the case here. Especially in the last chapter. So this

    worth the read. However..suffering through that slowness was a bit of a pain until the world we were in came to life. I get it, though. If this didn't come together in a slower way, the world-building would've been a full on info-dump. And we all know how frustrating that can be.

    Sixteen year old Octavia lives on Faloiv, a planet that became their home when the Origin Planet became uninhabitable. She was born here, but her parents came from the Origin Planet. They are scientists and are both on the 12 person Council that makes decisions about N'Terra (the structure housing the labs and homes of their people). This makes Octavia a bit more in the know than any of the other kids she's in school with, as she has access to other compounds, etc. Oddly enough, this planet isn't necessarily that livable because people need to wear skinsuits to be outside N'Terra, but that's why they need to do so much research on the wildlife to see how they survive here. In the labs, research is done on the plants and animals of Faloiv..as they try to learn more about the planet they're inhabiting. This is the way it's been for the over forty years they've been on the planet. Even Octavia's grandmother was a scientist until she was lost in the jungle five years ago on a scavenging trip. It broke her parents.

    News comes that the labs will finally welcome interns, even though there have always been strict rules of no one under 21 being allowed in. Octavia is thrilled. With the inside access, eventually it becomes clear that everything isn't what it seems. Too many unexplainable things begin to add up. There are secrets being kept from the public, Octavia's parents are at odds and Octavia is hearing things no one else seems to hear. The mysteries add up as the pacing ramps up a bit. And once it starts getting a bit more clear as to what is going on, the action takes off from there.

    There are indigenous people on the planet, the Faloii. This is where the colonialism and imperialism comes into play. Settlers going to a foreign land and taking it for their own with no respect for the nation's people or wildlife. Sound familiar? Of course, this is a science fiction version of this story. Although, I'm sure it'll be fascinating to see how this all plays out.

    I enjoyed Octavia's relationships throughout the story..not just her wonderful friendships with Rondo and Alma, but also her parents. I did see similarities to

    . It is hard not to. I'm looking forward to reading the sequel.

  • Danielle (Life of a Literary Nerd)

    This was a solid sci-fi story that combined all the things I want to see in my science fiction reads: compelling research, characters I connect with, and an intriguing mystery.

    follows aspiring scientist Octavia, who’s desperate to follow in the steps of her parents and discover the secrets of Faloiv. But Octavia soon realises the planet isn’t the only thing hidin

    This was a solid sci-fi story that combined all the things I want to see in my science fiction reads: compelling research, characters I connect with, and an intriguing mystery.

    follows aspiring scientist Octavia, who’s desperate to follow in the steps of her parents and discover the secrets of Faloiv. But Octavia soon realises the planet isn’t the only thing hiding secrets, and the ruling Council of N’Terra might have a few of their own.

    The

    is absolutely stunning and is on my list for covers of the year. It's honestly what made me want to pick up this book.

    I thought it was really cool that all the

    was animal-based. Learning how the animals interact with their surroundings and other animals, and using that to make advancements was cool.

    I really appreciate that we get a large cast of

    . Octavia, her parents, Alma, Rondo, and Yaya are all black. And I loved that we get to see so many black scientists represented in the story.

    I needed to know more about

    . I know a big part of this story is Octavia discovering the Council's secrets herself, but I felt a disconnect to what was happening because I largely had no clue how or why things were happening. I like the world building of the legacy of the compounds and the Council, I just needed more from the other side.

    This was such a quick read and I was so invested I didn’t want to put the book down. I’m definitely looking forward to getting some answers in book tw0, and I can’t wait to pick it up.

  • Melissa Souza

    3.5 stars!!!

    Going into this book, I really didn't know what to expect. But from the blurb, I was pretty excited from the brief synopsis. I was looking for something which was a departure from the usual YA fantasy and I would say this novel did deliver in that regard. However, there were some aspects of the novel which could have been explored further. Let me explain this more fully.

    Firstly, the worldbuilding was very immersive. The author has come up with a whole world filled with such unique cr

    3.5 stars!!!

    Going into this book, I really didn't know what to expect. But from the blurb, I was pretty excited from the brief synopsis. I was looking for something which was a departure from the usual YA fantasy and I would say this novel did deliver in that regard. However, there were some aspects of the novel which could have been explored further. Let me explain this more fully.

    Firstly, the worldbuilding was very immersive. The author has come up with a whole world filled with such unique creatures and living organisms that I actually felt as though I was on another planet. The descriptions, history as well as imagery was detailed, vivid and engaging. I would say it was pure escapism and I applaud the author for this. Plus, there was consistency in details which I also appreciated.

    Secondly, the MC Octavia was a pretty awesome character. I loved her relationship with her friends and family. Even the romance element was handled in a realistic manner. It was the slow burn kind which I like. I also liked how her character developed as she learns about her family's secrets and deals with her own vulnerabilities. From the outset, we can see how fragile her family situation is and her keenness to emulate her parents. She longs for their acceptance but as the story progresses, she learns that things are not as they seem. While at the same time, she learns to forge her own path. I liked how the author fleshed out her character in the sense we see her resilience, level-headedness and independence. In addition, I also liked how the minor characters played a pivotal role in the overall storyline. This gave the novel a captivating and richer context.

    Thirdly, I really enjoyed the premise of the novel. The idea of imperialism where one civilization seeks to dominate another made for an interesting read. Moreover, the elements of environmentalism along with caring for nature gave the storyline an even deeper message as it parallels with many issues our current world faces. I also liked reading about the abilities of the Faloii and how every species is interconnected. The only downside to this is that we get more of a glimpse into how the animals behave but not much of the native people. This was sorely disappointing as it left some plot points disjointed and underdeveloped.

    Overall, the story was a rather pleasant read. But, I did feel like the novel dragged on in some places with unnecessary details. There's a bit of action in the later chapters but from what I can guess, the story is more character driven with emphasis placed on building a solid foundation for the series. With this being said, the sequel should be pretty interesting and I look forward to reading it.

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