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The Kindred

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The Kindred is a new young adult science fiction romance novel by Alecia Dow, author of The Sound of Stars. Fans of her previous book will recognize a few things, as the books coexist in the same alternate reality, and Dow’s penchant for tying music and lyrics into her books is evident here. So is her love of food, and her fierce representation of beautiful, curvy black girls. Her main character, Joy, is everything we need in a YA main character.

In the Monchuri system, the rich and the poor are bonded randomly at birth to help give all citizens a voice after a failed class warfare. Even so, Duke Felix Hamdi was never meant to bond with someone as poor as Joy Abara. Bonded pairs, called Kindreds, often fall in love due to the close connection they share, but with Felix in line for the throne, any romantic interest between them is harshly quashed by their families and the king’s fix-it man, who closely monitors this unusual pair.

The two live miserable half-lives, separated by circumstances beyond their control, compounded by the physical distance of growing up on two separate planets. The bond allows them to share thoughts and emotions, and to see each other across vast distances. Joy can see the wealth and luxury Felix grows up with, while Felix aches to see his Kindred’s poverty. They have shared everything since birth without ever standing on the same planet. Felix hopes for a chance to meet Joy in person and save her from her unhappy fate, but Joy has accepted that she’s beneath his station.

When the Kindred pair are framed for the assassination of the royal family, Felix escapes, rescues Joy, and they flee the Monchuri system. They are hunted as traitors and crash land on a strange planet far from home: Earth. Together in person for the first time, they can no longer deny the love they feel for each other. That love may be the only thing that can save their homeworlds.

Throughout the book, Felix’s love of Joy is honest and kind. He is the romantic hero every girl needs on her side. When the two come together, it’s simply magical. It’s a love that can save a kingdom.

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Two people from separate worlds are connected through a physic connection are forced to meet face to face when they are put into danger. They meet in person and then are forced to flee in a spaceship to another planet called Earth. They have to learn how to navigate their feelings and this new world together. The Kindred is a wonderfully charming sci-fi story about love, conflict and aliens. The characters were beautifully written and so freaking endearing you just fall in love with them. The writing is inclusive and well done. This story is a dream to read. It is a spin off of another series that I wish I would have read beforehand but I still loved this story. .

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Kindred Spirits, melanated aliens and romance with royalty. Now that is a combination that makes for a good story! This might be my first book reading about Black and Brown aliens. I have to say I enjoyed it and I’m here for more! Thank you to Turn the Page Tours, Inkyard Press and NetGalley for providing a physical and digital arc for review in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Blue Blood? Sure Why Not?
Full disclosure: I picked this book up thinking more about romance and how the kindred spirit aspect would play out. I didn’t even really think of the main characters as alien and just knew that it was set in outer space. But honestly, I didn’t even think of the main characters as being aliens until they encountered humans in the story. I mean there was blue blood mentioned, but I kind of gave that the side eye and kept moving.

But what I found interesting about my glossing over the blue blood thing was how we view what is and isn’t normal. I was caught up in the world building and until they encountered Earth, the main characters were the normal ones. There was no contrast. So I was just like, oh this must be no big deal here. They don’t bleed red, they bleed blue.

Kindred Characters
I liked the main characters of Felix and Joy. I thought Ms. Dow did a good job of not allowing Felix be a one-dimensional spoiled royal who relies on Joy for everything. His redemption and saving grace in my opinion is really his love for Joy. He sees her as beautiful and never lets her forget it. He is never willing to leave her behind. Felix is also really funny especially when he refers to “the humans” and a hero when he wants to be. I loved the scene when he scoops up Joy when the ish is hitting the fan.

I also really like Joy and thought that despite having to deal with fat-shaming from her fiance, her poverty and the restrictions on her dreams, she maintains the essence of her name. Her kindness and caring for Rashid is touching.

Unique Style Choices
The Kindred as three style points that I appreciated. First, this book is written in dual viewpoints, which for a romance I am definitely a fan of that style. I just like knowing what the guy is thinking. It’s interesting to me. I thought it was an interesting choice for the author especially since Felix and Joy are constantly in each other’s heads. But because of the romantic struggles the characters are dealing with each other, it works. I’d say more but I’m not doing any spoilers!

Second, it is written in a non-linear format. Now take a deep breath if you are about to have PTSD from trying to read “A Rose From Emily” or some other non-linear short story with 29 other classmates and you got frustrated with the “what did I just read moments.” This format really works for this story and gives you insight into the characters as individuals apart from from their kindred. It helped me understand their relationship better and was easy to follow along.

Third, there are multiple worlds. Get your space passport out because you are going to travel from planet Hali to planet Earth. Joy’s and Felix’s planets and civilizations are conceptualized with classicism, caste systems and advanced technology. Then when they arrive on Earth, I have to agree with the characters that is is a baby planet. And in contrast between the two systems, it feels like Joy and Felix’s homes have been there done that, while Earth is struggling with what they already struggled with years ago in what they call The Second Chaos. The earth in The Kindred is characterized with the same struggles that are currently hitting today’s headlines. The characters address racism, environmental struggles, classism, grief and relationships.

I loved that everyone in Felix and Joy’s realms are Black and Brown. When they get to Earth, Joy is able to pass for being Black while Felix passes for a foreign exchange student from Pakistan. The other characters bring in some additional diversity, but it is just cool to read a book about Black and Brown aliens, because I simply haven’t encountered that before. Even the newscasters on Felix and Joy’s planets make a comment about Earth and the United States and ask where are all the shades of beautiful brown?

Also, there is lots of diversity in sexual identification. Every time a new character is introduced the other characters refer to them by the pronoun they until the character identifies their own pronouns of choice. None of the aliens assume anything about another’s identity. There is also acceptance of same-sex relationships. 83% of kindreds marry each other. Since they are paired through the program based on their birth date and compatibility, gender is not the main factor for matching kindreds.

Trigger Warnings
Fat shaming, alcohol use

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The thing I love about these Alechia Dow sci-fi books is that they are actually for teens. They are immensely readable, with big emotions and that real balance of self/other that teens have. Compared to The Sound of Stars, this book is a little less tense, a little more action, and a lot more romance. Excited to see what happens next in this great big connected universe.

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I just finished reading the book Kindred and I have to say that I really enjoyed it. It is a sci-fi YA romance, and the main character is a fat girl of color. I am here for that representation. Fat characters are so often left out of the sci-fi and fantasy stories, so I loved seeing that. The story is basically about these two young people who are kindred. This is a special mind link that is shared between two people where are in their minds often and can feel their feelings, it is a very deep connection. One is a girl on a very poor planet who is betrothed to an awful man and the other is a duke who lives a spoiled royal existence, but their bond is very strong although many powerful people try to keep them apart. The story is their adventure together to find out the truth about their past and their connection. I really enjoyed the story, it was very clever and insightful. It was hard to read at times because the character was often treated badly by others because of her size, so if that is something you struggle reading know that going in. I didn’t find that it took away from the story though because her Kindred is absolutely in love with her exactly how she is and she is always able to see herself through his eyes which is an interesting take. This is a book I will definitely be recommending. We need more characters like this in stories like this.

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This was so sweet and soft and wonderful. I think it started a little slowly, but the world was such an interesting premise and concept.
I love the Demi-ace rep and I'm so appreciative of seeing this more in books. It isn't a representation that I see very often.
I very much enjoy this book especially if you like light sci-fi or a book that isn't too technical, but still has that spacey feeling.

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I went into this book not knowing much about it other than I adored The Sound of Stars (because, honestly, I prefer to know as little going in as possible), and was not disappointed. This isn't a prequel, exactly, but it does take place in the same universe, and takes on similar issues with different circumstances. I loved the Easter eggs I picked up on (I've read many books between Dow's so I am sure I missed a reference or two), and found this an intriguing mixture of popular media juxtaposed against seemingly impossible adventures.

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3.5/5 stars

I really liked Felix and Joy as characters. I thought they were fascinating, as was being in their minds through their respective POVs. The premise is really fresh and intriguing as well, and I loved the way alien cultures interacted with human culture!

I did find the ending felt a little rushed — we spent a long time with Felix and Joy on Earth and in the setup, and so the ending and those twists flew a little fast.

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Have you always wanted to read about a disaster bi and an order muppet ace who are psychically connected in a space opera where they're framed for the assassination of an alien royal family? And then they escape being hunted by crash landing on Earth and form an inter-terrestrial found family? And then they foil the plot behind why they were framed and live happily ever after?

Then this is the book for you. The plotting was strong, the characterization was some of the best I've read, and the entire universe is super queernormative. I loved the framing of well-intentioned attempts to make a world better that actually end up sidestepping real issues (very relatable), and the overall messages about societies. There was some body shaming, so that is something to be aware of, but it is extremely clear that the people doing the body shaming are shitty and wrong, and it is counteracted by Felix's adoration of Joy and exactly who she is and the body she has. The messages about self-love, especially for almost entirely a BIPOC cast, were so heartwarming. I also loved the little easter eggs relating this book to The Sound of Stars, another of Alechia Dow's books. Ultimately, although there are very serious things happening, and there is quite mortal danger, it is such a joyful book. And who doesn't need some of that right now?

And no spoilers, but the most emotional scene for me was what Joy and Sarah did for Rashid. Literally crying in the club.

Also, bless this book for getting me out of a reading slump.

CW: Alcohol consumption, body shaming/fatphobia, mentions of parental death

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Title: The Kindred
Author: Alechia Dow
Genre: Sci-Fi, YA
Rating: 4.2 out of 5

To save a galactic kingdom from revolution, Kindred mind-pairings were created to ensure each and every person would be seen and heard, no matter how rich or poor…

Joy Abara knows her place. A commoner from the lowly planet Hali, she lives a simple life—apart from the notoriety that being Kindred to the nobility’s most infamous playboy brings.

Duke Felix Hamdi has a plan. He will exasperate his noble family to the point that they agree to let him choose his own future and finally meet his Kindred face-to-face.

Then the royal family is assassinated, putting Felix next in line for the throne…and accused of the murders. Someone will stop at nothing until he’s dead, which means they’ll target Joy, too. Meeting in person for the first time as they steal a spacecraft and flee amid chaos might not be ideal…and neither is crash-landing on the strange backward planet called Earth. But hiding might just be the perfect way to discover the true strength of the Kindred bond and expose a scandal—and a love—that may decide the future of a galaxy.

That was just a fun read! I liked Joy, and even Felix grew on me, although he was a bit self-absorbed at first. This felt kind of like a spoofy sci-fi movie, but not totally cheesy. I enjoyed the read, especially after Joy and Felix crash-landed on Earth. Realistic and believable, no, but fun and relatable, yes, so I’d recommend this if you’re looking for a light way to spend a few hours.

Alechia Dow was born is Massachusetts but now lives in Germany. The Kindred is her newest novel.

(Galley courtesy of Inkyard Press in exchange for an honest review.)

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I absolutely loved the cover of this book and was super intrigued by the little write about that mentioned kingdoms and space! I’m not much of a sci-fi reader, but this book totally enthralled me.

It’s a friends to lovers story, more of a soulmate story really, and it is a SLOW burn for sure! It is full of yearning and pining due to forbidden love and it was so adorable.

The story has literal universes to learn about and get to know, so sometimes the world (universes) building was a little dense- especially about all the tech, but it was really well done.

There is a huge emphasis on the fact that our main characters are Black and the discussions surrounding that based on social class and world of origin was beautiful. While going into the complete injustices and the pain Black people endure, there is also a lot of love, hope, and Black joy (no pun intended iykyk). The representation was stunning and incredibly well done.

There is also quite a bit of non-binary and queer representation in the book that was really amazing, as well. Our main man isn’t explicitly labelled, but it is mentioned that he is into all genders, which is really cool. Our main gal is also part of the asexuality spectrum, which was super awesome to me since I am too!!

Finally, the body diversity and plus-size rep was literally amazing! So much about loving yourself and your body!!

This book was so full of love and empowerment, while also diving into political intrigue, religion, gender roles, and overall badassery.

Overall, I highly highly recommend! It was definitely one of my favourite reads of the year and one of my few 5/5 stars!! Such a gorgeous read!

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Thank you to the publisher for an eARC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Dear Alechia Dow, please write more books about aliens including: a book starring Allister, and a sequel to The Sound of the Stars. Please, please, please.

The Kindred is not really related to The Sound of Stars, but does take place in the same multiverse as it, and features several references and at least 1 crossover character. I loved all the references to TSOS so much!! However, let's talk more about The Kindred. In the galactic Kingdom ruled by the Qadins, everyone is paired with a Kindred a birth, someone who is always with you inside your thoughts. The program aims to give everyone a voice no matter their socioeconomic status.

Joy Abarra knows her place: it's with her mother until the day she can marry and do her duty to her planet/culture. Joy has one thing most don't: her Kindred is Duke Felix Hamdi, cousin to the Royal throne. However, the two haven't met yet, but they hope to soon. Then the Qadin royals are assassinated and Felix becomes next in line...and the one accused of murdering the royals. Felix and Joy must escape the galaxy and find some place to hide so they can figure out what happened and how to prove their innocence.

This book was a fucking ride. I loved it soooo much. Felix is a disaster bi and Joy is my precious ace. Also the mutual pining? Off the charts. I loved exploring the new alien worlds/cultures. I'm really hoping this will shape out to be a big multiverse series, mainly because I need to know what happens after the end of TSOS.

I loved how queernormative this book was. Which I'm not surprised, because I'm pretty certain TSOS was the same. But every new character is introduced as them until they give their pronouns and I loved that so much.

I feel like I have more thoughts about this book, but my brain is just racing around yelling at me about how much it loved all the characters and the world, so I think this is a good place to stop.

Rep: Fat Black demisexual female MC, biracial/Black bisexual male MC, achillean Black male side character, Black nonbinary femme side character, fat Black female side character, queer normative world, lots of aliens too.

CWs: Alcohol consumption, body shaming, fatphobia, gaslighting/manipulation, kidnapping, murder, violence, war, torture.

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Thank you for giving me an opportunity to read an ARC of The Kindred!

I really wanted to love this book, since the premise is very cool and interesting, but unfortunately, it mostly didn't work for me. I love the idea of a society that connects rich and poor via mind-to-mind connections in an attempt to get the rich people to respond to the needs of the poor, but I felt like the idea wasn't really executed well. The two main characters, Felix and Joy, felt a bit flat to me, and I didn't really like the romance between them, since I felt like they actually had nothing in common except that they had this mind-to-mind connection their whole lives. The plot also seemed a bit convoluted, and I didn't love the way that the author brought present-day Earth into her sci-fi universe, since it just didn't seem to fit with the other elements of the story. I think that conceptually it could have been a good idea, but it just didn't read smoothly, and I felt like the author was trying to do too many things at once. I think I would have liked it better if the storyline had stayed focused on the Monchurians and their politics and problems, rather than bringing in the problems of today's real society on Earth as well.

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"It can be so intense in such bonds that if one Kindred were to die, the other might follow shortly after."

Thank you to NetGalley, Inkyard Press, and Alechia Dow for the opportunity to not only read The Kindred in exchange for an honest review, but to be a part of the blog tour as well.

Joy and Felix are Kindred, minds bonded at birth, as is a mandate of the planet to keep the peace. Joy is from a poor planet in the Monchuri system, while Felix is a Duke. The chances of them ever even meeting in person are slim to none. Despite not having met, Joy and Felix see everything through each other's Kindred connection, but Joy is able to block Felix out. She knows why, but it's a secret from him.

When the royal ship is blasted out of the sky, Felix is framed for the murder of the queen and her family. Someone was able to pin the perfect motivation, as he is next in line for the throne. Not a great way to show his innocence, Felix makes a run for it. He knows Joy is in trouble, and he would die if something happened to her. After finding Joy on her own planet, the Kindred meet for the first time and Felix plans to take them to a neutral planet to wait out the onslaught of people hunting him down.

They find they do not end up on their designated planet, but one known as Earth. When their ship runs out of fuel and they force a crash land in Florida, they meet some interesting humans (and Andarrans), and formulate just what their relationship might mean once everything is settled on the political agenda.

I found this book extremely entertaining and found the intense space chase to be a fun read. Once they landed on Earth, I was a bit disappointed, as the world-building could have been so much more interesting with a planet that didn't involve something we know in our world. The Earth side of the story grew on me. It makes many modern connections to hate and injustice, as well as iconic media. What really drew me in was the connection to Alechia's debut novel, The Sound of Stars. The tie-ins proving these books are in the same universe are rather subtle, but they are there, and you certainly don't need to read one before the other. Both are perfectly fulfilling stand-alone novels. I just found the connections to make this book all the more brilliant and intriguing. I have also surmised that the events of The Kindred come before the events of The Sound of Stars.

This is an exciting novel, and I am intrigued by what kind of tale Alechia will weave next and how it may connect to this universe.

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This premise was GREAT, I was so excited to read it! Wasn’t a fan of the urban sci-fi quality but the romance was fine. I didn’t really connect with the characters beyond the surface. The galaxy world and politics were interesting in the beginning but got interrupted often.

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I love books with romance. But I can honestly say I have never read a sci-fi book who’s story featured romance so heavily. I loved the way Joy and Felix’ Kindred bond worked. It was so intriguing and really cool! I loved honestly everything about this book. My only issue was with the pacing. The final act/battle seemed too rushed for me. I really wish there was more build up to make it more heart pounding.

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The Quick Cut: Two teens on opposite sides of the social caste are connected from birth as Kindred. They find their lives in danger when they are set up as the killers of the royal line.

A Real Review:
Thank you to Inkyard Press for providing the ARC for an honest review.

In many cases, the lifestyle you are born into is the one you will have. In rare cases, some will find an opportunity for a better life or something different than expected - but that takes opportunity and in many cases good luck. What would you do if you found yourself connected to one of the rich and powerful? Would you feel jealous at the opportunities they have? Or would you take the chance that they could share some of that lifestyle with you? These are the questions on everyone's mind when a commoner named Joy Abara is the Kindred connected to the nobility's Duke Felix Hamdi.

Joy knows her class in life. Being from one of the poorest planets in the kingdom, she knows what is expected of her growing up. When she turns eighteen, she will marry someone of her station and no longer have a connection to her Kindred. At birth, everyone has somebody else in the kingdom they are connected to. Usually, the person you are Kindred with is someone of a similar or close class to you. In the case of Joy though, she somehow becomes Kindred with Duke Felix - one of the nobility. As they both are about to become saddled with adulthood, though, the unexpected happens and the royalty who run the kingdom they live in are assassinated. Whoever set them up to die not only pulled off the difficult task, but they also made it look like Felix and Joy did it together. Can they stay out of trouble together and outrun those who are trying to find them? Can they figure out who really did the deed?

While you can generally classify this one as a fantasy story, I would say it is also very much a science fiction one as well. The intergalactic kingdom and multiple planets involved make this one a space oriented book that can interest anyone. There are also some romantic elements as well for those who aren't interested in space odysseys. Overall, this one was written in such a way to have appeal to a wide audience range. The fact that this story also happens to incorporate our own fair planet? Just makes the storyline that much more exciting to read.

The characters are very well written, especially our two leads. Joy is an optimist who wants more out of life, but knows that isn't an option for her. She is destined to get married in a year to a guy named Maxon, even if she's not necessarily interested in him. Felix is by reputation a playboy who does what he wants and is quite the flirt. While he can do whatever he wants, he loves to spend his time playing instruments and has issues getting over his stage fright when it comes to playing in front of an audience. These two are from opposite sides of the spectrum on many levels, but their Kindred connection has made them best friends. When the book starts, they haven't even met each other in person - and the other nobility would like to keep it that way. They have to go against all the odds to not only meet one another, but survive what is coming for them. Seeing them make their connection live and work together is something that made me smile every time they dealt with an issue.

My only issue with this book is the multiple sections in the past. In some cases, they provide important context that tells you more about what has happened to make Joy and Felix who they are. In other cases, the benefit to adding these sections seemed minimal at best. I preferred it when the storyline stayed in the present far more.

A thrilling space story that can appeal to many readers.

My rating: 4.25 out of 5

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4.5 stars

I received an ARC from the publisher and am voluntarily posting a review. All opinions are my own.

The Kindred is a fabulous sophomore novel from Alechia Dow, and I enjoyed it just as much as her debut, which I read earlier this year. While not a sequel or even companion to The Sound of Stars, it is set in the same universe, and I love the subtle little references for those who’ve read both.

This book also gives me more of the intergalactic space politics vibes which is my favorite type of sci-fi. I loved the world building with the Kindred pairings that forms the basis for the story. There also being some light political intrigue and backstabbing is fun and adds to the excitement. While I wasn’t sure how I felt about the pop-culture references at first, but as the book went on, I came to enjoy them just as much as I did in the prior book.

But Dow’s main strength is building fabulous characters who you can connect with, in spite of any otherworldly characteristics they may have. Not to mention the fun spin on some familiar romance tropes that arise both from the Kindred-bonding system and the politics. Felix and Joy are both lovely characters, and incredibly easy to root for. Joy especially resonated with me, given the struggles she navigates. At points the fatphobia feels a bit overwhelming, especially as it doesn’t feel properly addressed (especially the more internalized self-hate). She does come around to feeling deserving of Felix’s love, but it just didn’t feel like a properly executed transition, especially given the impact of the sentiments in the moment.

Other than that, I really enjoyed them together. Felix is delightfully chaotic, charming yet vulnerable. And Joy is generally optimistic, and I love how the two fought for each other in this time when everything seemed against them.

This book is an absolute delight, and I’d recommend it to anyone who loves sci-fi/space fantasy romance.

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This book was so good! It's so much of what I love done right: dual perspectives, time hoping, world jumping and budding love story. There were so many funny moments as well as heart wrenching was a beautifully book and I would highly recommend it!

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What a great time! This book was ridiculously fun. It did read young to me, but I am not the hugest YA fiction reader so it may not be as noticeable to people that normally read YA. But, the “youthfulness” of it did not detract at all from how good it was. Somehow, I pictured this entire space adventure in my head as an animated movie.

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