Bite-Size Corner · Book Reviews 2015 · Sci-Fi Books · Supernatural Books · Young Adult Book Reviews

Bite-Size Corner – ‘From a Distant Star’ by Karen McQuestion

Seventeen-year-old Emma was the only one who hadn’t given up on her boyfriend, Lucas. Everyone else—his family, his friends, his doctors—believed that any moment could be his last. So when Lucas miraculously returns from the brink of death, Emma thinks her prayers have been answered.
As the surprised town rejoices, Emma begins to question whether Lucas is the same boy she’s always known. When she finds an unidentifiable object on his family’s farm—and government agents come to claim it—she begins to suspect that nothing is what it seems. Emma’s out-of-this-world discovery may be the key to setting things right, but only if she and Lucas can evade the agents who are after what they have. With all her hopes and dreams on the line, Emma sets out to save the boy she loves. And with a little help from a distant star, she might just have a chance at making those dreams come true.

2.5 Stars (Rounded to 2)

I received a free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Netgalley and Skyscape for the e-copy.

I’m a big fan of paranormal/sci-fi books with aliens in, and this one caught my eye straight away (if initially for the stunning cover). Also, I’d seen the recommendation “if you liked ‘I Am Number Four’, this book is for you”, and ‘I Am Number Four’ was my favourite book back when I was twelve or so, so I thought ‘why not?’ At under 300 pages – and what with it being a standalone – it is a very quick read, and I completed it in a couple of hours this afternoon. Unfortunately, it definitely wasn’t all I was expecting it to be, and even though I never really considered not finishing it as an option, I really wasn’t enjoying reading it.

Pros

  • Scout was an endearing character, who actually came out with some good lines about humanity. I liked how he was used to inspire reflection upon how humans as individuals treat one another.
  • Eric was also a likeable character, even if I spent the whole time wondering why he acted about 18 – older than the protagonist, Emma, sometimes, and she is meant to be 17 – when Eric is in fact 14. I did pity him, however, as those around him treated him as ‘second-rate’ or ‘not as important as Lucas’ as he was nerdy and intelligent, rather than attractive and sporty like his brother, and it is that view on society that really makes me despair.
  • The opening chapter certainly gripped me – it is written from the perspective of the dog, Mack, which I thought was a creative way to open the book.

Cons

  • The writing felt very bland to me – it was technically fine, but it lacked a distinctive style or flair to keep me hooked. It just felt a little bit boring. There was also a bit too much ‘tell’ and not enough ‘show’ if you ask me.
  • The book was truly one of two halves. In the first half, barely anything really happened. The pace was too slow, and not enough was going on to hold my attention. In contrast, the second half had so much going on, that I completely lost track of events; it felt rushed and like the author was trying to cram everything into a set number of pages, rather than letting things run their course.
  • Emma is an awful protagonist. She makes a load of stupid decisions, all in the name of ‘love’. And yes, her typical high school relationship is supposedly the strongest love known to man, and ‘none of the adults understand how in love they are’. It all felt a little pathetic. Also, she is incredibly harsh when it comes to her boyfriend Lucas’s parents – he is dying of cancer, and they want some space as a family, and she accuses them of some wrongdoing by asking her not to spend 24 hours a day by his side, acting like his mother is being irrational! Emma is prone to a bit of ‘slut-shaming’ (I hate that term, but I can think of no better one) and the second any girl appears to fancy Lucas, she nicknames them ‘Bambi McSlutsky’ and scorns them for showing an interest. She also seems to think she is acting as some kind of superhero (and even refers to herself as one) when she is just acting like an irrational and love-crazed little girl. What’s worse is that Emma is portrayed by Scout as one of the ‘best people he has encountered’, which I simply do not see – her ego needs no inflating!
  • I was looking forward to the climax, as I was hoping that there would be some cool resolution. In the end, it was just a mess. I’d completely lost track of who the villains were meant to be, who exactly Emma and Scout were running from, and which group of people had done what, so by the time the climax came, I had little patience with the story. It turned out I was wasting my time trying to work out which of three groups of people was evil, as all of them were, and I’m still not entirely sure how Scout pulled off the stunt he did to save the day. It was so rushed and poorly described that it was borderline nonsensical.
  • The very end was a return to the love-fest; Emma and Lucas (despite only being 17) were talking about how they were going to be together forever, and about the prospect of having children, and there was snogging and confessions of love… it was all very superficial and shallow, and it just lead me to the conclusion that the whole alien plot was one massive device so that Lucas could recover from his cancer and the pair could live happily ever after, because that’s all it boiled down to; yet another romance hidden behind claims of a purposeful story.
  • One story that did interest me was that of Amy and her daughter Chloe, and I was hoping that they would be more significant than they were; in the end, they had all of two scenes, which I felt was a wasted opportunity.
  • Was it necessary for Emma to be supplied with a gun in order to save the day? Gun possession is already a huge issue that needs tackling, and yet a 17-year-old is told that she should carry a pistol for her own protection… surely that’s how we got into the situation we are in with gun laws, and that is the exact behaviour we should be deploring.

Would I recommend? – No, I probably wouldn’t. Whilst it wasn’t entirely bad, and I did finish it quickly and without constantly putting it down, I certainly wouldn’t call it a must-read.

Follow me on Twitter @emmathereader, Tumblr (www.snapeisourprince.tumblr.com) and Goodreads (www.goodreads.com/snapeisourprince).

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3 thoughts on “Bite-Size Corner – ‘From a Distant Star’ by Karen McQuestion

  1. That’s disappointing to hear, seeing as I also got an egalley through NetGalley to read. I’m still going to read this, but now I won’t as blind going into it as I normally do with books — I tend not to read blurbs/descriptions that often, and when I do, I make a point to only remember the gist of what was explained. Hmm…

    Liked by 1 person

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