Stars In Her Eyes (Sparkstone #1)
by Clare C. Marshall
Summary: Burn hot and cold.
Disappear at will.
Dream your own death.
Welcome to Sparkstone University, where some students are more gifted than others.
When Ingrid learns she’s been accepted at the hyper-secretive Sparkstone University, she is sceptical. It’s an honour to attend, apparently, and yet barely anyone has ever heard of the place.
And everyone seems a little too happy that she’s there: especially when she meets Sunni and her group of friends. They seem to already know Ingrid. As if she was expected. Expected to save Earth from an imminent alien invasion. Like she has superpowers or something.
As if magic and mutations exist. As if aliens are really planning to attack.
That just sounds ridiculous. There’s no such thing.
Source: I received a copy of this book for Kindle from the author in exchange for an honest review and participation in a blog tour.
I loved Stars in Her Eyes. It was a well written YA science fiction full of wonder, adventure, and strange concepts. Stars in Her Eyes had a hidden alien plot within a functioning university with beautiful descriptions and graceful, celestial writing.
“Sparkstone is determined to keep outsiders out. Or insiders in. I wonder what secrets it holds.”
The cover of the book is gorgeous and it reflects the book quite well. The book is every bit as beautiful and magnificent as the cover lead me to believe and each scene stood out.
“A cold, tingling sensation sweeps over me, the same one you might get when stepping into a freezer after sitting in a sauna. And then, I’m transported to a layer of reality that exists unnoticed within my own world. The real world whistles around me, a constant storm that I don’t see when I’m visible to the naked eye.”
“When I’m unseen, I see the beauty in everything.”
I liked the main character, Ingrid, and I felt like she was a relatable character. She wanted to prove herself, fit in for once, but the possibility that she didn’t belong at such a prestigious university terrified her, which is something I think most book nerds (or nerds of any kind) can understand. Ingrid was immediately bombarded by a group of tight knit friends who reached out to her and warn her that everything was not as it seemed. Thrust into a conspiracy she wasn’t even sure she understood, she struggled to fit in, arrange her priorities, and save the people she came to care about. And then, of course, there was a guy.
I really loved the plot of Stars in Her Eyes because it was a mixture of things I love: aliens, science fiction, coming of age, romance, friendship, conspiracies, and superpowers. The alien agenda at a school definitely reminded me of some of the plots in middle grade series like Goosebumps, but there was an element of maturity, beauty, and wonder that isn’t present in those types of stories. I love how the author was able to combine the elements in such a magical way and make me appreciate the beauty of the world and the horror of the situation while also caring about the characters and their outcomes.
“‘It’s too much after a while,’ she says finally. ‘It’s paradise. A siren’s song. Too dangerous for me to remain here long.'”
“Earth is too beautiful , too small in the endless black vacuum of space to look at.”
Ingrid was central to the plot, but she had no idea why. She wasn’t sure what she could possibly bring to the table in the midst of the talented group of friends she became a part of. However, I thought she ended up being a valuable person to the group even without super abilities. She tried to get the extremely different personas of the group to work together and succeeded.
“I don’t know why I’m so hopeful, since I have zero experience in being a hostage on an alien spaceship, but I have to believe that the countless hours I’ve spent reading and watching science fiction is going to help keep us alive somehow.”
While a lot happened in the novel and I have a better understanding of the overall plot, I thought more questions arose near the end than answers. Which means I cannot wait to get my hands on the next book in the series. I love books that make me think and make me wonder what the author will do next and Stars In Her Eyes is definitely one of those books. I highly recommend the book and other books by Clare C. Marshall. I love the way she writes and can create such amazing action and adventure while also being wonderfully descriptive.
About the Author:
Clare Marshall grew up in rural Nova Scotia with very little television and dial up internet, and yet, she turned out okay. She has a combined honours degree in journalism and psychology from the University of King’s College, and is a graduate from Humber College’s Creative Book Publishing Program. She founded Woulds and Shoulds Editing and Design in 2010 for self-published authors looking for quality editing and design services. When she’s not writing, she enjoys playing the fiddle and making silly noises at cats. Within is her first published novel.
Links of Interest:
Facebook Fan Page: Faery Ink Press
Author Website: faeryinkpress.com
Goodreads Author Page: Clare C. Marshall
Interview with Clare C. Marshall
Me: I’ve read a couple of your books and they are completely different in terms of genre. Is it difficult to be a multi genre author or do you find it easier?
Clare C. Marshall: You know what, I never really considered myself to be a multi-genre author until I read the question! I identified with being a multi-genre publisher than a multi-genre author. But I suppose I do write different genres! I write stories about people–mostly women–in challenging fantastical situations that often mirror difficult real-life circumstances. That the setting is otherworldly, or that the real-life setting has magic imbued in it, is simply another layer in the storytelling.
From a publishing perspective, I think it’s good to publish in a multitude of genres. By casting a wider net, I have the potential to reach more readers than I would if I only published in one genre.
Me: What is your favorite genre to read?
Clare: Young adult, in all its forms, but in particular: science fiction, fantasy, mysteries, dystopian, and thrillers.
Me: What are some of your favorite books and authors?
Clare: Maggie Stiefvater is one of my favourite authors. I also enjoy George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series and Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials series.
Me: Stars in Her Eyes was a YA sci fi that was completely unique, but elements of it reminded me of old school middle grade novels like the Goosebumps series because of the “horror at school” plot, which I thought was awesome. Do you have any favorite middle grade series that you read as a kid?
Clare: Yes! I was a big Boxcar Children fan. I think I have them all. I also read the Babysitters Club quite religiously–I think I have most of those as well. Animorphs was one of my favourite series. I didn’t read Goosebumps as much because it always seemed to be a “guys” book–but I got into those more when I was in later elementary school.
Me: The main character, Ingrid, is a bit of a sci fi nerd. Can you relate? If so, what were some of your favorite sci fi stories? If not, what is your go-to genre?
Clare: I am a big-time science fiction nerd, and that definitely seeped into Ingrid. I wanted to write from the POV of a girl who might be the ideal reader of the series–a nerdy, intelligent girl who wants to fight aliens and save the day.
In the past year or so I’ve gotten into Doctor Who. I’m also a big Star Trek and Star Wars fan. In books, a few months ago I read the first book in the Across the Universe series and I loved it, and I can’t wait to read more.
Me: Who is your favorite fictional character?
Clare: Big question! I enjoy Doctor Who’s complexity.
Me: Do you have a favorite villain?
Clare: Hmmm. One that comes to mind is Frollo from The Hunchback of Notre Dame. I love the torn aspect of his nature: on one hand, he’s devoted to his religion and beliefs, and on the other hand, he’s struggling with his sexual attraction to Esmeralda. So, I guess I like villains with strong convictions, who are weakened or tempted by things they shouldn’t be tempted by.
Me: The covers of all of your books are absolutely stunning. Who designs them and how much of an influence do you have with the design?
Clare: Thank you! My boyfriend does the cover design, so as you can imagine, I get lots of say! J But I hired an illustrator to do the image for Stars In Her Eyes, and I had quite a bit a say with him as well, and then my boyfriend did the type layout. Often I’ll give him an idea of what I want to see, and he’ll design something, and we’ll talk about the details of the design at length.
Me: The characters in Stars In Her Eyes have some sort of supernatural ability. What ability would you like to have and why?
Clare: Probably the ability to be immortal, so that I could see and do a million things!
Me: Fans typically have their own dream movie cast for favorite books. Do you have a dream cast for the main characters in Stars in Her Eyes? What about for your favorite book?
Clare: I don’t really cast actors for characters I write, because I don’t want their looks or assumed personality traits to influence the character.
That said, however, I would be thrilled if Ellen Page played any female character of mine, in any of my books, because we’re both from Nova Scotia.
And, I suppose a young Noomi Rapace would make an excellent Misty, as the character Lisbeth Salander she plays in the Millennium Trilogy is somewhat similar to Misty.
Me: Best movie adaptation of a book?
Clare: Speaking of the Millennium Trilogy! I’ve only read Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, but I thought that both the Swedish and the English versions were extremely faithful to the book. The Hunger Games I felt was also a great adaption.
I also enjoyed Cloud Atlas–maybe not the most faithful adaption, but if any movie deserves an award, it’s this one. Interweaving six different stories in different time periods, in different genres, into almost three hours of time–and still managing to make sense–that’s a feat.
Me: What new book releases are you looking forward to this year?
Clare: To be honest, I’m still trying to catch up on the big reads from 2012! I’m looking forward to getting my hands on a copy–or an audiobook copy–of Scarlett by Marissa Mayer. I really enjoyed Cinder!
Me: Any upcoming movies or TV shows based on a book you’re excited about?
Clare: In the totally opposite spectrum of everything I’ve discussed here today, I was surprised to learn recently that Jeannette Walls’ The Glass Castle–an autobiography about a girl who grows up with an extremely dysfunctional, almost gypsy-like family and faces shocking abuse–is being made into a movie, and Jennifer Lawrence is supposedly been cast. So that’s exciting.
And of course I’m excited to see Jennifer Lawrence in Catching Fire. JI’m hoping that Divergent will be a big hit as well, because I really enjoyed the book.
Me: Ebooks or physical books?
Clare: I enjoy both! J I also enjoy audiobooks.
Me: Best writing advice for aspiring writers?
Clare: Hone your time management skills and your sense of discipline. Writing is a lot of telling yourself to sit down and do something you might not feel like doing.
Me: Stars in Her Eyes involves aliens. What is your favorite alien story (book, movie, show, etc)?
Clare: Doctor Who is one of my favourites. And of course, Star Trek in its many incarnations. And you know what? I do like the earlier episodes of Earth: Final Conflict. Its story had so much potential and was wasted with poor production values and the high turnover of the cast.
Books by Clare C. Marshall