The Stars We Steal by Alexa Donne
Engagement season is in the air. Eighteen-year-old Princess Leonie “Leo” Kolburg, heir to a faded European spaceship, only has one thing on her mind: which lucky bachelor can save her family from financial ruin?
But when Leo’s childhood friend and first love Elliot returns as the captain of a successful whiskey ship, everything changes. Elliot was the one that got away, the boy Leo’s family deemed to be unsuitable for marriage. Now, he’s the biggest catch of the season and he seems determined to make Leo’s life miserable. But old habits die hard, and as Leo navigates the glittering balls of the Valg Season, she finds herself falling for her first love in a game of love, lies, and past regrets.
All I wanted this past week was to read a light and fluffy romance with a splash of drama, and that’s exactly what I got from The Stars We Steal by Alexa Donne. Score!! So, before diving into this book, I had heard that it was kind of like The Bachelorette, but set in space. There was even a nod to the show in the book, but that is not how I would describe this book at all. Yes, there is competition for affection, but it’s not what you’re thinking. This is less like the popular television show and more like a competition between sisters and family for the affection of someone who should be off limits.
See, our main character, Leo, is a princess, and back in the day, she was in love with a boy who had no wealth whatsoever, which was bad for Leo’s family because they had some financial strain. Leo and the boy, Elliot, had planned to run away and get married, but Leo’s father and Aunt found out and put a stop to it. They sent Elliot packing for another ship, and Leo was forced to use her crown to find a more suitable match… Fast forward three years, and Leo is kind of seen as an old maid (at 19!) and has got to find a rich husband during this special courting event that is being hosted on her Aunt’s ship. The only problem is that Elliot is back, and he’s now the most eligible bachelor on board.
After reading this book, I found out that it is a retelling of Persuasion by Jane Austen. I have not had the pleasure of reading that classic yet, but I looked up the synopsis on Goodreads and yes, this book was definitely inspired by Persuasion, and now I want to read that as well. Never ending TBR, y’all!
So, let’s talk about some things I loved about the book, as well as some things that maybe could have been improved on…
First off, I was impressed with the side characters. They were all so lovable, and I think there may have been a few that I preferred over the two main characters. Also, the representation for the LGBTQ+ community in this book was a pleasant surprise. Now, I am not a member of that group, so I cannot speak for them on how well it was done, but hey — it’s still huge to me that we had multiple characters representing that community.
Something that really bothered me was that some of the side characters that were heavily present in the first half of the book [who I was enjoying reading about] are suddenly just gone later in the story, and I do not know why. I think maybe the pacing was off, because in the first half, everything is drawn out, and we’re getting so detailed with characters, the past, and the current situation between Leo and Elliot. However, towards the end, it’s a whirlwind, and I feel like maybe the author didn’t know how to fit certain characters in. Also, that ending you could see from a mile away, but it felt like it came out of nowhere and fast! For a minute, I really thought this book was going to be the first in a series, but things wrapped up nicely in the last few pages.
My Overall Thoughts
The last thing I have to say is that so much of what happens in this book could have been avoided with a little communication! So often the characters have something major that they should really be sharing with others and instead decide to hold off on telling. Like, what?! This is such a common thing in movies, television, and books to keep the drama up, and for me, it’s frustrating, but it also gives me a chance to laugh and roll my eyes a bit, which I thoroughly enjoy doing.
In the end, I really did like this one. I got caught up in all the drama and romance, which was just so much fun. It really reminded me of Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner’s Starbound Trilogy. So, if you haven’t read those yet, please do, and also, mark your reading planners, ’cause The Stars We Steal releases Tuesday, February 4, 2020!