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Hold Back The Stars by Katie Khan book review - SciFiNow - The World's Best Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Magazine

Hold Back The Stars by Katie Khan book review

Space romance is the order of the day in Katie Khan’s debut Hold Back The Stars

Carys and Max live in a world where love is banned. Daring to defy their society, they fall in love under the watchful eye of Europia. But when they become stranded in space with only 90 minutes of air left, what truths will they discover about themselves and their world?

A debut novel from Katie Khan, this story is an unique take on the usual dystopic fictions littering the shelves. At first glance the world seems idyllic, with each member of society contributing in the name of themselves, not government
nor religion.

Every three years, each citizen of Europia rotates to a new country to discourage romantic relationships and continue to better themselves to become the ideal citizen. Only when they have established themselves as productive society members are the allowed to seek a partner and have children.

Max is complete in his devotion to the system, and unwavering in his belief that he is part of a utopia – that is, until he falls in love. Carys demonstrates how love can change the most vigorous perspective, and the progression of the story shows us the tragic consequences when society dictates who you can love and when.

The chapters of the story fly between their current perils to flashbacks of how their relationship began. It creates a great pace, and there is a real sense of intimacy in the slower moments when we know what is to come.

When the couple are facing the prospect of death, the conversations and arguments they have seem very real. Neither of them always say the right thing, they don’t handle the situation with grace and dignity, and they become desperate. They are undeniably human, with human emotions, and that is part of what makes this book a worthy read, which will keep you up past bed time.