Cover Image: Stars, Hide Your Fires

Stars, Hide Your Fires

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This ends up being a fun, lovely ride. We get a heist set at a space ball in Future Space Greece that turns into a locked room mystery, allies of convenience who lean into flirting with each other and faking being newly married to avoid suspicion, and a pretty solid debut novel overall. I do feel like it glossed over things at times, but the vibes were good, and I'd recommend it to a younger reader.

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Unfortunately, I didn't really enjoy this one. I was so excited for a space adventure, but I found the characters lackluster and the plot fairly predictable. I was super excited for the FF romance, but that also fell flat. There wasn't muh chemistry there.

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The best thing about this is that Natalie Naudus narrates the audiobook. That's probably the sole reason I listened all the way through.

The characters feel barely sketched in. There's so much potential in the idea but they don't have much personality. The plot requires more suspension of disbelief than even I could manage to give it. Everything is too fast-paced and surface level - nothing and no one has any depth. The "relationship" doesn't really have anything to back it up. The stakes are laughably low and every time anything remotely bad is about to happen all obstacles melt away, resulting in a complete lack of tension.

We have an impoverished, downtrodden, but plucky thief from a nowhere backwater who hatches a grand plan to infiltrate a royal ball and steal from the rich. Despite repeatedly telling us that she doesn't trust anyone except her crew she proceeds to blindly trust practically everyone she encounters. An invitation falls into her lap (along with a gorgeous dress) and she doesn't question it. A rebel girl strikes up a friendship and she doesn't question it. Then suddenly she's framed for murder so what does she do? "Investigate" the murder (ie have more things fall into her lap) by eavesdropping. Then she blabs everything she "discovers" to the first friendly face and is shocked when that doesn't turn out well. But not to worry it all works out and she solves the entire thing because of course she does. Hand-wave away all the murdering and exploiting and we're all gonna be friends now.

It's very clear from the beginning that she has no idea who anyone is or anything about the wider galaxy or politics or how things work. And yet everyone - including princes and ambassadors and rebel leaders - just sort of... take her seriously? For no apparant reason.

It was at times entertaining and some of the characters have moments of being interesting but mostly I'm just mad that I wasted time listening to this. I kept hoping it would get better but it just kept going downhill.

*Thanks to NetGalley and Quirk Books for providing an early copy for review.

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While the plot summary did intrigue me when this book came across my desk, I didn’t expect it to fully pull me into the story as much as it did. But within the first chapter, I was already hooked and quickly turning pages to see what was going to happen to our unfortunate protagonist next. There are some very fun plot twists in the story (which I won’t give away!) but left me guessing for most of the middle section of the story. And I was happy to see the story came to a satisfying conclusion as a standalone story, which has been difficult to find in YA Science Fiction recently.

In the first few scenes, I couldn’t quite make out Cass’s personality. She’s a con woman at heart so in many of the opening scenes, as we see her manipulate and fool other characters, it’s difficult to get a sense of who the true Cass is. But as the book gets deeper into the story, we see her true colors come out through her interactions with Amaris, a rebel she allies herself with to clear her name. While I would have preferred to see more of Cass’s personality earlier on, their scenes together are fun and entertaining enough to make me forgive the author for the slower revelation.

The world-building in Science Fiction can always be tricky, as there’s a lot to learn about technology, cultures, and typography, and in a fast-paced novel like this one, it can be difficult for the author to clearly set the stage before the plot takes over. I was pleasantly surprised by the world-building in this story, it wasn’t exceptionally lush or complicated but that worked well for the story. I understood enough fo the dynamics and politics to figure out the tension between the characters and to appreciate Cass’s motivations.

Stars Hide Your Fires is Jessica Mary Best’s debut novel. This fast-paced and thrilling young adult science fiction story was pitched as KNIVES OUT goes to space and that is the perfect, quick summary of what you can expect. There’s some exciting storytelling, dynamic character interactions, and subtle but satisfying world-building, making this the perfect read for lovers of mysteries and Sci-Fi. I highly recommend this book to fans of the genre or even readers who are curious and want to dip their toe into the fantasy/sci-fi world.

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A different kind of book about palace intrigue with a well-paced mystery. I would have liked more character and relationship development.

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It was "okay", I suppose. It had a good thought and idea, but... I'm not sure what happened. I didn't really like it very much.

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I gave this one a good college try, but sadly it wasn't for me. The tone of the writing felt both too stiff and too juvenile for the age rating and the praise it had received. I ended up DNF'ing at 25%.

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In short, I preordered this book to own when I got about 3 chapters into the story. I think that says a lot about how much I enjoyed it!

I am someone who struggles to read super heavy, information dump style sci-fi. Any book that requires me to memorize a new planetary system, a new fake language, etc, the ADHD is just too strong sometimes to struggle through info dumps to get to the story. I *love* world building, don't get me wrong, but I am also a fan of character-studies and action/plot heavy books. I feel like this book struck a good balance of setting up a new world for the reader to dive into, without losing us amongst a blackhole of information. I also really liked all the characters, and was definitely rooting for the MC!

I grew up on sci-fi shows, Star Trek TOS, Farscape, Firefly, Stargate.... I love a good ensemble cast and ragtag team. I do kind of wish we had lingered more in the beginning on the home planet (as those characters were fun but brief), but I understand from plot pacing reasons that we needed to launch into the action.

I won't spoil the ending, but I did really enjoy it! 10/10 I absolutely recommend this book as a fun, light, action/romance read.

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I did not have time to download and read this book before it was archived, so I'm unable to leave a review.

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Scifi is such a difficult genre. I LOVE sci-fi so I always have high expectations. I also love YA sci-fi, but it doesn't always hit the way I want it to. HOWEVER, this book was amazing and was such a fun ride. I was initially very interested in this simply because the plot was intriguing. I love space sci-fi more than anything and so having that plus a sapphic romance, I was sat and ready to dive into this. It was easy to get into as the pacing was fast and there was good action. The narrative unfolded really well and I loved the characters. There's a nice found family going on and it was just overall such a good book. I want a second one lol.

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1.75 Stars

'Stars, Hide Your Fires' is about a thief named Cass who lives on an impoverished moon named Sarn. Desperate to find a way to help her ill father, Cass plans to sneak into the emperor's ball. All of the richest people will be under one roof, which makes it the perfect opportunity for Cass to pick-pocket enough jewellery to change her life. Things don't go exactly to plan, however, as the emperor is killed - and Cass is the one the murderer is trying to frame. In order to clear her name, Cass must work with Amaris, a rebel operative who has her own reasons to want to solve the murder- but when it comes down to it, can Cass trust Amaris to keep her safe?

I never thought I would write this in a review, but my biggest issue with this book is that it was just too fast-paced. At first I thought this was a bonus, since we got into the action pretty much from the get-go, but then it just never stopped. With one thing happening right after another, we never got a break - we never got a moment to care about the characters or the plot. Also, even though there was always so much happening, the stakes never seemed particularly high, despite the characters facing the risk of death - and that's because whenever there were obstacles (and sometimes there weren't), they were always overcome without too much of a struggle.

The reveal of the murderer was both a surprise and not, but it still fooled me into thinking that the ending could be interesting. Instead, we, once again, hurtled through everything at break-neck speed just for things to be resolved because we wanted it to be - not because it was the logical conclusion based on the events that occurred. It seemed as if the author didn't know how to properly tie up all the loose ends in a way that made sense, so she just took the easy way out and didn't? I know this is vague, but saying more would be spoiling it.

The politics of this world play a considerable role in this book - but I didn't mention it in my synopsis at the start because, to put it simply, I don't understand it. Just like everything else in this book, I could not keep up with the worldbuilding info-dumping , so I simply have no real grasp on the settings or people. There are a few different groups of people mentioned in this book, and I assume that they're from different planets in a single galaxy, but I can't be too sure. I also have no idea what anyone is supposed to look like - which is fine, since I tend to picture characters however I want to anyway.

As I briefly mentioned before, I don't care about the characters. The ship feels very formulaic to me (one "silly" girl + one "serious" girl + "banter" = good ship?), and this probably arises from the fact that the characters lack any real depth. I can only think of one moment where I felt a modicum of emotion for anyone, which is what really doomed this book in my opinion.

One thing I think this book does do well is the representation. The fact that the characters are LGBTQ+ is not a big deal, which makes it feel less contrived. That being said, if you wanted to read a book for the rep, I feel like there are better books out there.

Overall, I really didn't enjoy this - but since it didn't actually make my blood boil, it doesn't get a lower rating.

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Political scifi murder mystery + queer romance. Protagonist Cass spends her days pickpocketing wealthy tourists who visit her home, a small moon in a vast interplanetary empire. When she hears of the emperor's upcoming ball, she knows that it's her best chance to finally steal enough to take care of her ailing father. Her plan to sneak in and back out with her pockets full of jewels is quickly complicated when the emperor is found dead, and it seems that someone is trying to pin the murder on her! She must discover the truth, with the help of an intriguing woman named Amaris, who also has her own hidden agenda.

I loved Cass from the start. She's smart and tough. She just wants to protect those she loves, but doesn't have time to focus on the bigger picture. Amaris is more tightly wound, focused on improving conditions throughout the empire. They work so well together, and it was quite fun to watch them come together: from reluctant allies, to friends, to potential romantic partners. Balls always make for fun settings, especially when the main character is a fish out of water, like Cass. She has her eyes opened to the insane opulence of the upper class, showcasing how much inequality exists in her world. Seems ripe for a revolution, right? The story is very fast paced, and the mystery kept me engaged. I would be interested in seeing more from this world. Definitely room for a sequel here.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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LGBTQA+ representation in a book will always grasp my attention and have this special place in my heart. As a member of this community it is just something I love to see. If you are not new to reading then it might be easy for you to figure out where this story is headed and the twists it will take. If you are a person who can never seem to figure them out and are always surprised then this one will do that as well. This is a book I will definitely be recommending to others as I found it to be sweet and eventful.

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"Stars, Hide Your Fires" takes readers on an exhilarating journey through a world of intrigue, heists, and unexpected alliances. Cass, a skilled thief with a heart of gold, is a compelling protagonist who leads a motley crew on a daring mission to steal from the empire's elite during the emperor's ball. However, when the emperor is found dead, the story takes a thrilling twist as Cass becomes a prime suspect.

The book's strength lies in its well-crafted characters, particularly Cass and her enigmatic rebel ally, and their evolving relationship amidst a web of secrets and danger. The plot is packed with suspense, and the mystery surrounding the emperor's death keeps readers guessing until the final pages.

Overall, "Stars, Hide Your Fires" is a gripping tale of heists and conspiracies set against a richly imagined world. It combines elements of adventure, romance, and political intrigue to deliver an engaging and satisfying read. Author Jessica Mary Best skillfully weaves together the threads of the story, making it a must-read for fans of thrilling and character-driven fantasy novels.

I just reviewed Stars, Hide Your Fires by Jessica Best. #StarsHideYourFires #NetGalley

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- thank you to netgalley and the publisher for an arc to review!

- i dnf'ed this book, as it didn't feel as engaging as i had hoped. the description sounded so good, but the execution left me wanting more that wasn't there. I'll look into Best's work more in the future, but i didn't enjoy this book, unfortunately.

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A fun and accessible YA sci-fi mystery. Not only does this novel highlight diversity and classism, but has a group of loveable main characters and twists to keep you guessing!

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Thank you, Netgalley, for providing this ARC in exchange for my honest review. A fun murder mystery in space with diverse characters and an imaginative world. Fast-paced and easy to follow, this story will definitely appeal to a younger audience. The plot twist was a little predictable but still a fun read. Would recommend for those who enjoy YA Sci fi mixed with an Agatha Christie murder mystery.

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This was a scifi murder mystery, with our main character Cass going to a grand ball, where the emperor is found dead, and she is the main suspect! The worldbuilding in this book was amazing, and it was a good exploration of gender, with significanr representation, with the main burgeoning relationship being sapphic. However despite the promising concept, it sometimes fell a little flat, with the storyline jumping around with some very slow moments. The characters were also not the strongest, however they do show some character progression from the start to the end.

All in all I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I thought I would, but it was ultimately a fun read, with the murder mystery aspect working well for the story, and kept me guessing until the end!

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I really enjoyed Stars, Hide Your Fires - it was very enjoyable! A Dystopian space adventure with diverse characters and a plot full of depth that will keep you hooked.

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"Don't judge a book by its cover", right? But when I saw this cover, I couldn't help but want to read it, even though it's not a genre I'd normally pick up. And boy have I never been more happier about such an impulsive decision.

Cassandra Zervas is an expert thief who decided to steal from people who have gathered riches by exploiting the poor. Amaris is a rebel who wants to fight the unjust political system. And me? I just love Cass and Amaris. They're both badasses and such strong FMCs. Their banter is so fun to read and adds humour to this story about revolt and the need for it. [Swipe to see my fav banter parts!]

Despite it being slow paced in the beginning, I found myself getting increasingly interested in knowing what happens next.

A 4.5/5 star read for me! If you are looking for a book with adventure, love, found family and proper representation, let this be your next read!

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