Star City

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 07 Feb 2018

Member Reviews

I tried. I really, really tried. But I just couldn't finish the book. And it made me sad. Because Edwin Peng has gone through great lengths to describe a world where aliens (Ba'ren) have just landed on earth. And they came with a wonderful gift: a potential new medicine to help cure cancer! So a group of students and researchers is chosen to work with the aliens to study and develop this cure.
So Emma, one of the chosen biomedical engineers is honored to be working with the aliens. She didn't count on the extreme reactions of other people: men and women afraid of the aliens and trying to attack them and the people associated with them.
Sepporinen hates to be on earth. He was send to this stupid planet by his government and he wants nothing to do with these humans who smell awfully. But although he hates it on earth, he still doesn't understand all the secrecy and strange actions of his commander. And maybe he also doesn't agree on some of the actions of his fellow Ba'ren. 
So, in all a potential great story. And in some ways I think it is a wonderful story. But just not for me. The story dragged on and on, mostly in a very descriptive way. A lot of interaction between the aliens and humans is described and although I think it was written to provide inside into both sides of the story, it was a bit too much. So, I'm sorry to give this book only one star. But don't let this prevent you from reading the book. As stated: I think this book has a lot of potential and if you are willing to overlook the long, long passages on alien-human interaction I think you will be captivated by the story. Thank you Netgalley for providing the arc.
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Star City was a very good book. The story begins strong and never loses its momentum. The narrative jumps between Emma and Sepporinen, but this never got confusing for me. The story takes place in two different cultures, and it was interesting to see what they thought of each other. There was some comedy, plenty of drama, powerful action and a few surprise deaths as the story moves forward. It was also nice to see how the characters changed and in may ways grew up as the Earth mission progresses. If you are a fan of science fiction then this is a book you will want to read.
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This is a young adult science fiction / romance.
Unfortunately it just felt too long and slow for me.
The characters were also very wooden with very little emotion.
OK but not brilliant.
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Such an amazing debut novel. Strong writing, brilliant characters. Can't wait for more.
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Star City was a straightforward enjoyable read. The characters will written and fun to follow and it had a premise that was interesting and a bit different from what I would typically read.

I think that what pulled me out of everything and made me feel that while this was enjoyable I wouldn’t really read the sequel is the fact that while it was well-written it felt like there was something missing. I don’t know if it’s that there wasn’t enough conflict or that the characters never made enough of impression to really stick in my mind or that I just feel that the book was simply alright. I feel that a story line like this has a lot of potential but as it is didn’t quite hit the mark for me.

Small spoiler:

The one thing I know I didn’t like was that the romance was literally forced… like with implanted hormones. I wish that part had never existed because in the end it didn’t matter anyway, but I digress. Plus, even with the hormone Sep still didn’t like Emma at first (she also mistakenly made a pretty bad first impression.. but you know.. it happens).

I did like however the idea of a species relying on scent rather then sight and color for things though. The sciencey parts about that were all in all nerdy enough to make me happy.

Anyway, Star City was fun and I did enjoy it, but it still is missing some thing and has some mildly irritating parts that probably are annoying mostly to me. However, I do recommend it to lovers of Sci-fi. It is fun and has a really cool alien species to learn about (that also has the cure to a specific kind a cancer that affects children…awesome right?).
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This book was pretty good. The main characters were Emma (the youthful student ambassador) and Sepporinen (the chosen Alien delegate). They work together to cure diseases with the use of the alien technology. But a lot of the world doesn't agree with working with aliens and choose to start anti-Bar’en groups (Bar’en is the alien race that Sepporinen is a part of).

There was some teen love but I found that most of it wasn’t exactly believable. It just seemed like a very elementary school kind of relationship.

Most of the events that happened in the book were pretty predictable. I kept waiting for that moment when you think you know whats going to happen and there is a twist that just makes for a great ending but it never came.

There was a lot of progress towards accepting different cultures. This I did like about the book because it promoted accepting everyone and taking away the fuel of hatred towards others based on skin color or religion.

It was interesting enough to keep me going and I liked the book cover too. I think the sequels will be promising and I hope for some more adventure with the main characters.
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Interesting Sci-Fi debut novel. I liked how it was a story of alien first contact.
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3 ⭐️

While an interesting concept, this novel fell a little flat for me.

The characters were interesting in the beginning, but I felt no real development from neither Emma nor Sepporinen. It was also quite heavy on the politics side, too heavy at times. I didn't feel the attraction between the main characters and the romance didn't feel real.

I was also quite disappointed with how the other characters' reactions were handled. Tanisha going berserk on Emma was unexpected and her being angry at Emma (and Emma feeling guilty) made no sense, because none of what happened really was Emma's fault. She only did what was asked of her as a student ambassador, she couldn't possibly have known how Tanisha felt unless she had told her. I am also a bit disturbed with how quickly everybody but Sepporinen got over the death of (SPOILER). It was like "oh but the children will die if they leave" with legit less than a thought for the Ba'ren.

On the bright side, there was good representation here and there - although it could have been more frequent and better detailed (the bisexual erasure and heteronormativity was unnecessary). The author is also definitely a proud geek. I happily saw quite a few mentions of Star Wars and Star Trek, along with Battlestar Galactica and Firefly (😍).

I think the Ba'ren's Earth Mission would have gone a lot better if the story had taken place anywhere but in the US. Although I think the author exaggerated the liberal thing a bit too much. Were I a Conservative supporter, I would have called liberal agenda on this book. Once again, we come back to the heavy politics in this novel. It is my main complain and the reason I didn't enjoy this story nearly as much as I could have.
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A great deal of early SF was preoccupied with how humanity might react were they to encounter an intelligent species from another planet. Surely they would react quite well......

Enter the Bah'ren, a humanoid species a notch or two more evolved both technologically and socially than humans. 

The aliens are trying to help humans by producing a cure for osteosarcoma in children. Emma Smith, 18, is selected to be a diplomat and get to know her counterpart in thev equally youthful Sepporinin. Neither likes each other at first and there is plenty of room for serious cultural misunderstandings.
It seems, however, that each species is similar enough for the chemistry between them to begin to make itself felt.  But they are in a fish bowl and some of the reasons Emma Smith was chosen for the job are profoundly cynical. There are hate groups, troll organisations bent on stirring more hate and trying to have aliens killed. 
It is not difficult to see what the writer is gunning for here in today's world of popularism and xenophobia alongside  the machiavellian world of Realpolitik.

There is a lot at stake if the aliens decide humans are unable to accept them, not least a cure for childhood bone cancers. The rookie diplomat needs to be able to maintain lines of communication where others of their species are constantly trying to have the aliens assassinated.

Star City is an exciting and entertaining read and it seems there will be other books in the series, for those who would like more within this series.
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This was a YA book, complete with aliens. It was just okay for me. Emma and Sepporinen together felt very forced, I did not get any real chemistry from them.

The world itself was well done and I enjoyed it, but did not connect with the main characters. I also found there was too many secondary characters to keep everyone straight.
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Amazing book!!!  If I could give this 100 stars I would.  Completely unique and unputdownable.  I read this book in one sitting, I just couldn't tear myself away!  What would happen if a superior alien race made contact on earth?  How would we react?  Written from the dual point of view of 2 teens, one earthing and one alien, this book has a truly authentic feel to it.  Not only does it deal with the day to day challenges faced by these 2 teens and their life at uni, it tackles head on issues that are faced when someone "alien" is placed in a new environment and how other people react, both positively and negatively.  I found myself thinking about the immigrant and hate issues we are facing in the world today, and I believe this story really touches on these issues in a very human way, although using an extreme example.  This book should be on every school curriculum for that very reason.
I honestly can't recommend this book highly enough.
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I enjoyed the book. Well written, and the characters draw you in. Dialog was great too. Definitely worth the read!
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I loved this book. I enjoyed this take on first contact, and am excited to see where this series goes.
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We are not alone. 

When advanced space-faring aliens came to Earth, they established delegations around the world. Finally, they came to the U.S. with the offer to cure children affected with a specific kind of cancer using one of their own compounds. Emma Smith, an ambitious freshman at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, is delighted when she is chosen to be one of two student ambassadors selected to liaise with the aliens. Sepporinen, her Ba'ren counterpart, is less pleased to be part of the delegation to Earth, much less paired with a smelly human. But there is a spark between them that can't be denied...

I wanted to like this a lot more than I did, mostly because I was expecting something a little different than alien-human YA romance and aggressive tongue kissing. While there is a delightful amount of politicking and some poignant real-world parallels and pretty good world-building among the alien culture, there was something lacking about the whole thing. I just wasn't engaged with the story and I don't know why. In part, I think it was because I agreed a lot (unfortunately) with Emma's friends—she completely ditched them and their very real concerns and dangers over aliens whose intentions she didn't didn't understand. Emma's brother Liam also irked the shit out of me for some reason. I think that other people will find this to be really enjoyable, but it was just okay for me.

I received this ARC from NetGalley for an honest review.
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With his debut novel, Star City, Edwin Peng delivered intergalactic intrigue and action, along with relevant commentary about historical and current politic dynamics affecting Earth!
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I really enjoyed the summary of this YA novel and wanted so much to immerse myself in the story, but I just couldn't. The writing style was solid, but the main characters just lacked some chemistry so the plot didn't gel to me.
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This is a sci-fi ya fiction. A young human girl get to work with the young alien boy. First they hate each other. Then they fall in love. Include some suspense in it. And you have Star City.

I will not say that I'm impressed but I was surely intrigued. Young readers will like this book. That being said go for this if you like sci-fi book with aliens in it. 

Note: I received a free e-copy of the book via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review. Special thanks to the author and publisher for giving me a chance to read it.
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