Cover Image: The Actual Star

The Actual Star

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Member Reviews

This premise of this book intrigued me, but I didn't realize how long it was! It was a little too dense for me, and I wasn't able to get invested in the story or characters at this time. I may end up reading it someday, because it truly does have an interesting plot, but for now I had to DNF.
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I read about twenty percent of this and then decided to DNF it. It's an interesting concept. I just thought it was boring.
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Thank you to Harper Voyager for an advance copy of this title, which was published on Sept 14, 2021. I'm writing this review voluntarily.

Monica Byrne's "The Actual Star" is an incredibly ambitious and unique multi-generational SF book that takes some serious time and commitment to get into. If that sounds like a novel you'd enjoy, go for it, but if not, I might recommend skipping this one.

"The Actual Star" is compared to David Mitchell's "Cloud Atlas," as both feature the braided stories of souls reincarnated across time and space. The oldest story, set in 1012, focuses on young twin siblings who are Mayan royalty; the middle section, in 2012, discusses a young American woman's vacation to Belize and her deep emotional connection to the land; the final futuristic section takes place in 3012, and tells the tale of two rival religious leaders engaged in a power struggle after climate change has decimated the Earth's population. These stories all eventually connect together through place, with a cave system playing an enormous physical role through the ages.

Author Byrne utilizes her chosen structure to explore some fascinating topics and subject matter, like Mayan history, the potential future of the Earth after climate apocalypse, thinking through different ways of organizing society that are more nomadic and less capitalist, etc. "The Actual Star" contains some truly incredible world-building, including an elaborate glossary of created terminology and tons of material in different languages. Sometimes trying to understand and comprehend all of this material can be a challenge, and a reader might be left with questions about the point of wading through various passages by the novel's end. Ultimately, while "The Actual Star" certainly isn't a light or easy read, it is a compelling one--if that's what the reader is looking for.
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📚 The Actual Star by Monica Byrne 📚 

Thank you Harper Voyager and Netgalley for the eARC! 

If you want an epic speculative fiction novel that successfully weaves three thousand years together, with philosophical underpinnings but also addictive action and story - well then you should read this book! 

The three timelines are 1012 (ancient Maya), 2012 (Belize), and 3012 (all over the world but culminating in the same location as the first two). Each timeline has characters that are interconnected and seeking meaning for their future. 

There are some interesting questions raised about religion, including how do we know what really happened in the past, with the revered people of a religion? Was it circumstance or was the person really a saint? 

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and have been thinking about it for days since I finished it. That to me is a sign of a great story.
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Thank you Netgalley and Publisher.

I didn't enjoy this as much as I was hoping. It was a long book and I kept getting lost because I was I was so bored. I only made it halfway before i couldn't finish it.
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Some of the horniest sci-fi I’ve ever read. I loved this book deeply, from a place beneath my skin that ached every time a character let blood. This novel spans a thousand years taking on the past, near present, and far future to combine tradition with evolution and I’m gonna remember this book for a long, long time.
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It’s rare to find a novel with multiple plot lines that reads so compellingly all the way through—no slogging through chapters to get back to the characters you actually enjoy reading about; it’s all equally good in The Actual Star. Byrne also avoids another common pitfall of sci-fi/speculative fiction, and that is clunky world-building. Her 3000-year woven saga (including a thousand years into the future) feels authentic and real, and the plot slaloms between timelines without stumbling over awkwardly placed details.

All this to say, this book is damn good. It’s imaginative as hell, and what could be preachy or overwrought in less skilled hands is thought-provoking and pretty damn adventurous, both in plot lines and ideas. I loved it, and feel a strange pull to the ATM cave in Belize now, while also a visceral fear of the place. 

Plenty of Easter eggs, too, for subsequent reads.
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Outstanding writing! A really intriguing concept, and I really enjoy stories like this with multiple timelines that have intersecting plot lines. The characters were all interesting, the settings and scenery were vivid in detail. The ending was clever and satisfying. Highly recommended! Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher Harper Voyager for the opportunity to review an advanced copy of this wonderful book.
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The Actual Star is such an interesting book, and one that's quite difficult to describe. I think the statement that it's similar to Cloud Atlas is quite accurate ... except here everyone is queer. Which is how I like my books.

The novel is set over three different time periods and discusses the impact of climate change (as in the environment changing due to humanity), belief and religion, and change. All of the three stories relate to one another and what I found super interesting was that they're based heavily on Mayan culture and history -- I don't think I've ever read a book before about Mayan history. 

I would definitely recommend this book!
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Real Rating: 4.5* of five, rounded up because the economy of presentation packs the punch of <I>Dune</i> into the space of <I>Cloud Atlas</i>.

Three timelines, three souls, three moments in Humanity's journey. Author Byrne has made all of them into one beautiful braid, glossy and dark and heavy...crackling with energy...predicting a path that We-the-People must walk to fulfill our personal and communal purpose. I've seen the comparisons to <I>Cloud Atlas</i> but to be frank, a better comparison is, to my own mind anyway, what would happen if one gave <I>A Canticle for Leibowitz</i> to David Lynch and said, "...but make everyone queer."

There is a Glossary; use it. Xibalb&aacute; will no longer just be a weird-looking word to you when you're done with this read, and you'll be much the richer for it. I salute you, Monica Byrne, for risking so much in showing us this beautiful tale and not telling us every last thing. Trusting your readers pays off as they morph into fans, the way I have.
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I couldn't read this book due to the self harm. I could use a HUGE trigger warning for the cutting scenes.
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Wow. There is so much to unpack here. I’m not going to give a synopsis, the publisher’s version is really great.

First, I want to say that I have a certain level of discomfort with discussing the Mayan portions (ancient and contemporaneous) of this book given the extent of my knowledge of the Maya is whatever I learned in grade school- as in “very basic and mixed up with decades of other random facts my brain has accumulated over the many years since I left school”. I'm not sure of Byrne's background other than what is readily accessed on the interwebs- born in the US and has traveled extensively, and is a science nerd, which I looooove. It is very clear from both the author's note and the book itself that there was a great deal of research, care, and respect that went into writing it. However, I am troubled that reviews up until this point don't include the perspectives of any Mayan readers. I wish the publishers had made sure to get this book into their hands pre-publication.

Now that you know that I don’t know what I don’t know- I had sooooooo much fun reading this book. There’s:

Awesome world-building for an Earth 1,000 years in the future. There’s a whole new way of life based on an entirely new religion, and a human body that is wildly different from what we have today. It was cool to read this shortly after finishing A Psalm for the Wild-Built, which also has very cool future-Earth world-building.
Three timelines.There’s a scene in The Thirty Names of Night where a character (who is an artist) puts up installations of knots around the city to tie things that happened in the past in that precise spot to the present, and I thought this book was kind of a cool exploration of a similar theme.
Multiple languages/dialects with no apology or explanation. I LOVE when authors do this!
Adorable translations of animal language (“The moon is a lemon too!”). 
Normal people that turn into myths. Look, I’ll say it. Leah is a little bit grating to the senses. 1,000 years later, there’s an entire belief system based partly on her life. Really makes you think about how much of our current belief systems are based on what totally flawed, average (AHEM white male) people thought, say…..200? 250 years ago?

I will now leave one of my favorite passages for you to ponder on:

“She thought about how humans occupied such a narrow, arbitrary slice of time in the universe, when stars were still visible from Earth. But as the ages went on---far beyond this age, into a distant future---the stars would disappear, one by one. The universe would expand until it froze to death. Xander Cañul had argued that, in the beginning of human history, dream, thought, word, and deed were all one and the same, in a point of singularity; now they were all separate and irreconcilable, like driftwood coming apart on the open sea.”

Thanks to HarperVoyager, NetGalley, and BiblioLifestlye for the review copies!
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I really loved this book--the comparisons to Octavia Butler and Cloud Atlas are on point--this is a wide-ranging tale of reincarnated souls spanning thousands of years across cultures. It's about relationships, climate change, empowerment and everything! 

There is a central location that is a touchstone for all three timelines, a sacred cave in Belize and the worlds are built around this. I can't say enough about this book, it's wonderful and thoughtful but I also wanted to race through it to finish!  High recommend.
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The power of story is significant, burning brightly across time and space. Our stories are what define us. Our stories turn the everyday now into history, the history into legend and the legend into myth. So much of our understanding of not just who we are, but who we were and who we may yet become, springs from story.

Monica Byrne understands that fundamental truth as well as anyone. Byrne follows up her excellent 2014 debut “The Girl in the Road” with a millenia-spanning triptych that marries past, present and future in a manner that’s not quite like anything you’ve read before.

“The Actual Star” is a stunningly realized work of literary fiction. Byrne blends elements of speculative and historical fiction to create a trio of timelines, each a thousand years apart, the individual stories serving to illustrate a fundamental truth of narrative power. The stories we tell, that we pass on, can come to define us in the eyes of those who follow. Flexible and fluid, these tales grow and evolve until they are both of us and not of us.

These stories – set in the years 1012, 2012 and 3012 – unspool as separate pieces that are nevertheless inherently bound up with one another. They are three, even as they are one. The book is intricately, densely plotted; narrative tendrils from each time reach out and entangle themselves with the other two. It could be knotty and difficult to follow; instead, thanks to Byrne’s gifts, it is simply a mesmerizing journey through three very different, yet very connected times.

The year 1012 finds us in the company of the scions of a royal family, soon-to-be rulers of a vast Mayan kingdom. Born and bred for their current path, lives lived in the isolation of adoration. The twins – Ajul and Ixul – are teenagers, poised to ascend to the throne. Their entire existence is defined by their station and their relationship to their gods, though their relationship with one another is … complicated. It is a world of sacrifice, an effort to please those of the afterlife they call Xibalba.

In 2012, a teenager named Leah makes the pilgrimage to Belize from Minnesota in an effort to connect with her absent father and her Mayan heritage. Her connection to the place is instant and intense. Among the people that she meets (and charms with her bold naivete) are Javier and Xander, twins who work for competing guided tour operators. Both are drawn to Leah, though for different reasons. And both are challenged by their connection to their home – one sees it as a gift, the other as an anchor.

A thousand years later, in 3012, the world has been drastically and irrevocably altered by the consequences of massive climate change. The population is a tiny fraction of what it once, and all are nomadic, constantly moving from place to place, behavior codified by the religion shared by the overwhelming majority of all people on Earth. This movement – both physically and ideologically – is a fundamental part of civilization, with the handful who choose to settle in one place looked down upon. But when Niloux deCayo questions tenets of that faith, those questions have consequences.

And there in the middle, binding these three disparate times, is Actun Tunichil Muknal.

This sacred cave is the throughline, the largely unchanged pivot point. For humanity, two thousand years is a massive shift. For rock, it is merely an eyeblink. Thus, amidst so much drastic change, it remains. For the people in all three timelines, this cave is the key to finding the next world. To finding Xibalba. The sacrifices of 1012 became the fascination of 2012 became the exaltation of 3012, intricately braiding the three.

“The Actual Star” is a wildly ambitious undertaking. Crafting one compelling narrative is difficult enough, but three? And to construct the book in such a way that the failure of one means the failure of all? Bold is an understatement. Yet thanks to years of meticulous research and a confidence in her own storytelling gifts, Byrne more than realizes that ambition. This is a stunning piece of work, lyrical and dense without sacrificing narrative propulsion.

It can’t be stressed enough: Byrne gives us three intricately complete worlds. In 1012, the story of Ajul and Ixul is rich with detail, built upon a foundation of fact. The societal structure, the architecture, the religion – all beautifully rendered. The Belize of 2012 feels lived in and genuine in a remarkable way. There’s a clear grasp on the societal mores of the place; we even get linguistic shifts to illustrate the cultural blend. And in 3012, we’re given a speculative future that draws its fundamental ideas from all across the ideological spectrum, a world largely without walls that offers a glimpse of what might spring from the desperate degeneration of the climate.

And by showing us these worlds from the perspective of those living in them – Ajul and Ixul; Leah, Javier and Xander; Niloux and her rival Tanaaj – we’re allowed to occupy that space much more intimately than we otherwise could. Another one of Byrne’s considerable gifts is an ability to evoke depth of character; these people exist in an almost tangible way, practically breathing on the page. Their virtues and their flaws all on display, rendering them utterly, beautifully human.

“The Actual Star” is unlike anything I’ve read. This is a story about what stories can do, about the narratives of life and the way in which they can change through time. Was, is and will be – all are parts of the whole. It is about connections – those we can see and those we cannot – to the world around us. It is immersive and idiosyncratic and without a doubt one of the best books I’ve read in quite some time.
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The Actual Star is a sweeping story spanning two millennia and three timelines. In the first one, set in 1012, royal twins begin the preparations to rule over their Maya kingdom. The second one is set in 2012 and it takes us on a journey of self-discovery with Leah, a half-American, half-Maya teenager, who becomes an icon of worship in the third timeline, set in 3012. All three timelines are connected and interwoven, and they all grapple with the themes of society, identity, and existence itself.

Rating this novel was not easy. Usually, it's pretty early on in the book when I can tell which end of the rating system I lean towards, but this time I constantly kept going from love to hate, and finally landed on liked--but wouldn't recommend to everyone. The pace is slow and I would categorize the book's genre as skewing more towards literary fiction, so future readers should keep in mind that there aren't many fast and snappy plot twists. Each of the timelines had its own flaws and positives, but I enjoyed the ones set in 1012 and 3012 the most. The latter impressed me with how complex and imaginative the world-building was, although in the very beginning I was getting annoyed with how often I had to switch to the glossary in the back. Once I got used to all the names and concepts, I was truly excited to keep reading. The 2012 timeline was underwhelming, especially when compared to the 1012 one. Here, Byrne truly shines with the hours of research it must have taken to write about Mayan history and culture. I was sucked into the story immediately and ended up deep in some Wikipedia rabbit holes to learn more about certain aspects of Mayan culture that I didn't know much about before reaching for this book.

Overall, The Actual Star was an ambitious read that took me a while to truly get into, but I think that anyone who gets past the few initial hurdles (mainly the complexity and the language), will end up very satisfied.
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Sweeping and ambitious, Monica Byrne’s The Actual Star follows three reincarnated souls across millennia through different interconnected storylines. 

In ancient Maya, three royals try to maintain power over their crumbing kingdom after their parent's disappearance. Near present day, a girl goes on journey of self-discovery to Belize where she feels strangely compelled by a mysterious cave. Lastly, in the distant future, two sisters live in a utopia, yet they quarrel over ideological differences and the fate of humanity.

Beautifully interwoven, the stories resonate with one another and all center around a sacred cave—gradually colliding to reach a satisfying conclusion. 

All in all, this is a profound, thought-provoking novel that explores complex sibling relationships, entropy, the importance of myth, and the sometimes messy boundary between love and hate.
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This unique book interweaves the lives of three reincarnated people across thousands of years, all connected to a single location: a cave in the Belizean jungle. Reincarnated across time, the souls are brought together again and again, with the aim of them finally learning their lesson. With comparisons to Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell, readers should expect a winding narrative, with jumps between perspectives that can be jarring. But they also should expect to get invested in characters and to find everything neatly connected in the end. And while author Monica Byrne did generally deliver on engaging characters, the slow burn made it easy to lose interest. By the time you figure out how everyone is connected, some readers might not care. The best characters are the modern individuals who exist in 2012: twin tour guides and an American looking to find herself in the jungle. Their story was the most compelling and left me counting down the pages until we returned to them.  The story set in 3012 drags the story down with the overwrought explanations of the new religion that arises in this dystopian world. While the connections between disparate characters are finally made, some readers will be dissatisfied in the lack of resolution.
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I remember reading Monica Byrne's The Girl in the Road during a hot summer and being utterly captivated. The way Byrne saw the world, or rather, the way in which she could make worlds she saw visible to her readers, took hold of me and in the years since I have been hungerly awaiting new visions from her. So of course The Actual Star moved straight to the top of my reading list once I heard about it. And she has done it again. Byrne's The Actual Star blew me away and yet also cradled me close, whispering secrets. Thanks to Harper Voyager and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

The Actual Star is my favourite book of 2021. I know that we still have a few months to go in this year and that many other great books are still coming out. I already know, or rather I already feel, however, that the way in which this novel has reached me won't be repeated so easily. The blurb calls this novel a 'feast of ideas' and it is indeed both a feast and full of ideas. Reading The Actual Star was so smooth, so enjoyable, that it only struck me at night, when I finally stepped away from it, just how many ideas and thoughts the book had brought up. I found that the novel influenced my thinking on gender and sexuality, on the function of religion, on the line between censorship and open discussion, on identity, on the ties between family, on tradition, on love, on the future. And yet never, not once, did the themes or ideas overtake the story and the feeling of the story itself. Story drives The Actual Star and its themes and ideas are woven in beautifully. I will be re-reading this book over the coming years, as I have done with Byrne's previous novel, The Girl in the Road. And on every re-reading I will find something new, I will reach new understandings and discover a new part of myself. 

Where to begin with the story? The Actual Star takes place across three timelines, in three different millennia. The first takes place in 1012, where the royal Mayan twins Ajal and Ixul prepare to take their parents' throne in the hopes to restore their empire to prosperity and glory. With them is their younger sister Ket, who connects to their traditions and history in a different way. In 2012 we find our second storyline, in which Leah from Minnesota travels to Belize to discover her roots and fill the void she has always felt within her. There she meets the twins Xander and Javier, tour guides, whose relationship to each other and their country's history and tradition is tense. The third storyline takes place in 3012, in which the religion and way of life established after catastrophic climate change is threatened when two thinkers imagine different futures. And that's where I'm going to leave you, plot wise. I tried to go into The Actual Star as blindly as possible, which I would argue is the best way. I have also removed a paragraph from the blurb above because the connection between these stories, the strands that braid them together, should be discovered page by page. Don't think too far ahead, just join these brilliant characters as they search for meaning in ancient tradition, for help from silent gods, to connection across the years. 

The world-building that has gone into The Actual Star is honestly mind-blowing. Byrne has done painstaking research into the Maya civilization, their beliefs, their language, and it all show in the chapters dedicated to the first timeline. But it also echoes through the others and that was one of my favourite aspects of the novel: the way in which culture reshapes, survives, and adapts. But not only has she brought to life a period of the past that is unknown to many readers, she has also envisioned a breathtaking vision for the future, shaped by climate change and refugees. In a way it knocked the wind out of me the way Mad Max: Fury Road did, in that I saw a fully realized and whole, that I could see. Only that Byrne gives me so much more to hope for, so much more potential good, while never forgetting that humans will remain humans. With such brilliant work done on the 1012 and 3012 timeline, one could imagine that the more "pedestrian" 2012 would feel flat. But through the eyes of Leah it is brought utterly to life. The way she sees herself, the world, the people around her, it is entirely vivid and real. 

Monica Byrne finds the sharp edge between accessible writing and complex thought, and walks it seemingly effortlessly. While The Actual Star does a lot of complex things, like working across three different timelines, employing a variety of languages, envisioning an entirely radical new future, commenting on climate change, refugees, gender, identity, and so much more, Byrne never lets this complicate her writing. The Actual Star is accessible in the best possible way in that no matter how different the characters' situations are from your own, you still recognize them as people. They are deeply human, whether they live in 1012, 2012 or 3012. They have desires and needs, fears and hopes, secrets and grand plans. They need to sleep, they need to wash, they also need to connect and talk and even fight with others. It is not often, in my opinion, that a novel manages to strike this balance so well, to be epic and grand without any sign of pretension, to go deeply into the human soul and actually not neglect the human aspect. The Actual Star is stunning, human, other-worldly and innovative, as well as all the things in between. Go read it. Do yourself the favour!

At the risk of sounding too mind-blown, too adoring, The Actual Star is one of a kind. With its depth and reach, it is unlike any other book I have read in the last few years. It will stay with me for a long time and I will be recommending it wherever I go.

Review will go live on publication day, I will then update with the link.
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HIGHLIGHTS
~in the future you can be a mermaid
~behind every myth is a normal person
~I guess that means we’re all myth-makers

This is not the kind of book I usually read – although I didn’t know that until I started reading it, and I might not have started if I’d known – and I have mixed feelings about it.

The first thing I think fans of SFF should know is that The Actual Star feels much more like literary fiction than it does fantasy or sci fi. I don’t think that’s the sort of thing that is good or bad, it just is, but it wasn’t what I was expecting or hoping for. That clash – of my expectations vs the reality of the book – is probably a big part of why I can’t say I’m a fan, but the biggest part is that I was incredibly bored.

The Actual Star covers three timelines: the last royal children of a Mayan kingdom in 1012, a biracial tourist getting entangled with twin brothers in 2012, and a philosophical and political schism taking place in a post-apocalyptic utopia in 3012. A massive amount of research has clearly gone into the 1012 plotline, which I really enjoyed and appreciated, and the thought and worldbuilding of the 3012 timeline just blew me away. If the entire book had been set in 3012, I’m pretty sure this would be a five star review, because the only thing I didn’t love about it was that we didn’t see more of it. Byrne has created a utopia like no other I’ve ever seen, utilising principles and concepts from all over the anti-capitalist spectrum and plenty of ideas that are wholly her own, and the result is mindblowing. Very, very strange and unexpected, but in a truly brilliant way.

But although the 1012 storyline was full of incredible attention to detail, there was nothing very compelling about the actual story – which is surprising, because on the face of it, ‘last children of a royal house seek to restore its former glory’ is a story that writes itself. The unfamiliar (to me) setting, culture, and mythos should have had me hooked; those are the kind of things I love. Historical or full-on fantasy, it doesn’t really matter so long as it’s different and detailed, and this was. But it also felt as though nothing was happening. The pacing was slow, the chapters introspective, the characters neither especially appealling nor interesting. There was no push to keep reading, except for my enjoyment of the beautiful details of the setting.

The 2012 storyline was even worse, and cured my insomnia on several occasions. Leah, a biracial 19 year old from the States, comes to Belize to explore the country her father came from. Her instant connection to the country, and particularly to Actun Tunichil Muknal, a cave system sacred to the Maya and now a major tourist attraction, is intense and, although she doesn’t know it, worldchanging. Her love for ATM brings her into contact with tour guides and twins Javier and Xavier, who have very different approaches to the cave, life, and Leah.

I don’t like reading about real people living their lives. I just don’t care. I tried so hard to feel something about Leah’s…’spiritual awakening’ doesn’t seem like the right term, but I don’t know what else to call it. Whatever you call it, I didn’t feel it. This was clearly a massive and life changing thing for her, but it didn’t touch me – maybe I’m just too cynical? – and although I really liked her as a character and person (and would love to stay up late talking about the meaning of life with her) I really disliked the twins and resented the chapters I had to spend in their heads. All three of them felt very much like real people, but…I just don’t enjoy stories about real people living in the real world. It felt so banal, most of it.

On another note, the 2012 storyline was also the one that reduced me to learn of frustration on a regular basis. Javier and Xavier often speak in Belize kriol when English-speaking Leah is not present, and that’s fine. What wasn’t fine, for me, was that no English translations were offerred, not even in footnotes. This meant that there were so many stretches of dialogue that I just didn’t understand. Some of it was just about understandable if you sounded out the phonetics, but lots of it wasn’t, and it made me want to throw the book across the room. It did make me cry. I’ve struggled with languages my whole life – I’ve studied Irish, German, French, Spanish, Latin, Finnish, and Swedish, and failed all of them – and this aspect of the book? Made me miserable. To a lesser extent, this was also a problem in the 3012 storyline, where Spanish is used as a ritual language.

It makes perfect sense for characters so speak their own languages. I always get twitchy when in movies, non-English characters speak English amongst themselves for the sake of the audience. But the best films show German-speakers speaking German…and include subtitles so I can still understand. The Actual Star does not include the equivalent of subtitles, and maybe I’m just stupid, but no, it often wasn’t clear from context what was being said. I cannot emphasise enough how much I hated that and how much it upset me.

I went into The Actual Star expecting to love it, and I’m still kind of confused as to how I didn’t. For the most part, I didn’t find anything poignant here. Reincarnation? I guess, but cutting that aspect from the story wouldn’t be much of a loss. Magic? No. Seriously impressive sci fi elements in the 3012 storyline, but you have to slog through the other two timelines to get to them. There’s some cool stuff about myth-building and how religions develop, but at the end of the day, I don’t know it this is a good (in the sense of well-written, well-crafted) book or not. I think there’s too much in the way for me to be able to judge it objectively. I can only tell you that I did not enjoy it, I found most of it a chore to read, and have to write it off as a massive disappointment.
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I received an advanced reader copy of this book from NetGalley to read and review.

The most common description I've seen of this book is that it's akin to Cloud Atlas and the works of Octavia Butler. I think that's a pretty cool comparison. I would add that there are some elements that Grant Morrison would be comfortable with and that David Lynch might nod his head at.

The book takes place in three time periods and explores themes related to change, the impact of environment on human nature, and the power of belief. The stories intertwine and inform one another and all are seen through the lens of Mayan culture and history. The worldbuilding is solid- especially the culture of 3012- and the writing is descriptive without being too heavy.

I really loved this book. I spent hours each day reading it over the course of a weekend and it was time well spent. At some point in the future I look forward to re-reading it!
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