The Ilori have taken over the Earth and are shaping it to their vision, and forms of self expression are made illegal to minimise the spread of rebellion. But two beings have found ways to fight against it. First is Ellie, a human providing salvation to her peers through a small library of books she hid. Second is Morris, a lab made Ilori and human sympathiser in love with pop music. When their paths cross, they band together in order to find ways to save each other from getting caught by the Ilori and to find a way to save the world from being turned into lifeless hosts waiting to be possessed.
What drew me to this book was the asexual representation in it. Both main characters Ellie and Morris identify on this spectrum. While it was nice to see them, it wasn’t as revolutionary as other novels with ace leads. And that’s not always a bad thing! We need more stories like this where it is explored but not taking over the whole plot. And I respect the novel for doing that in ways that I strive to. I guess I kind of expected something revolutionary when people recommended this to me as a book with ace rep.
But that didn’t make me like the characters. Even the ones who weren’t ace I found immensely unrelatable. It’s hard to explain – they were both too generic and too untouchable at the same time. I will credit the motivations the characters had were solid, but for some of them that plus their hobbies wound up defining their entire personality. That’s a major character pet peeve for me! If I can’t define a character in three traits like in the Sims, I don’t consider them fully developed. And those traits don’t relate to their goals of freedom or their love of books.
But enough mediocrity and disappointment, let’s talk the best part of this novel – worldbuilding. It feels very rooted in it’s near futureness, that even with the take on aliens it felt like something that could actually happen. Protests, climate change and more make the prologue of this novel, and the alien race of Illori has come to monitor humanity and fix the issues on the planet. Albeit to their vision, it is still a very interesting take to start. It makes for a good hook to start this novel.
Sadly the relationship, plot and worldbuilding was cast into shadow by pop culture. I’m not hating on it, just the way that it is used. Books, bands and clothing references were found on every page. It’s like the author was getting paid by every single company who owned these pop culture pieces to reference them, and each time she did she earned ten dollars. It’s not seriously that big today, right?
If that’s what the author thinks humanity is, I may have lost my faith in it. There’s more to us than the songs we sing.
The Sound of Stars gets a score of 2/5. Humanity isn’t so shallow.
Yours in writing