***This book was reviewed via XPresso Blog Tours
In Arwen Paris’ Fate of the Stars, Earth has become a battlefield in the war between two alien groups. Allison just wants to enjoy a night on the beach with her friend Becca. During a beach party, she and several others witness an odd light in the sky. Later, Allison passes out on the beach. Waking in a panic, she hurries home, hoping to avoid an angry mother. Soon enough, she’ll have far more to worry about than a missed curfew…
Devastating news on the personal front is followed by devastating loss on the communal front, when more lights appear in the sky. The bestial and bizarre Ma’tiok seem to have no control over their ships. They crash wherever, disgorging four-footed, needle-mouthed hunters that tear into anyone they see. Their bite proves infectious, turning the victims into some sort of psuedo-zombies, and the creatures themselves rapidly reproduce in a most unusual way. The little Ma’tiok are just as lethal as their larger dams.
Then come the other ships, bringing bipedal leopard-like warriors that hunt and kill the Ma’tiok. During the first attack, Allison managed to get to a ship out at sea. When she realises her mom is back ashore, she leaves the ship, heading to the old nuclear bunker under the library.
That journey turns into one of discovery, as she learns she is hosting an alien presence within herself, one that the second group, the Vongjar, rever. In exchange for help for her mother, Allison agrees to learn to work with the Xeenci called Eenoki, the advanced soul now sharing her body, for the Vongjar believe that only in times of great universal crisis will a second Xeenci appear.
Question is, how does Allison reconcile her humanity with the weight of this new status? And, of course, there are those who do not believe her a worthy host, though Eenoki chose her, out of the millions of others out there.
I don’t usually enjoy alien invasion stories, because the aliens are often left as just that- alien. The Ma’tiok are, don’t get me wrong. They act like mere animals, yet they’ve achieved spaceflight, or someone shoots them into planets to wipe it clean. If the latter, who controls them? If the former, what of their culture and motivations? However, the introduction of the Vongjar and Hytan species changed the dynamic. Once Allison is among the Vongjar, we learn of their culture. The Hytan as well. They cease to be faceless. They become beings whose goals and ideas we can admire.
Allison learned the hard way, just how terrified of the strange and unusual most humans are. Her growing bond with Eenoki gave her abilities beyond her known ken, and altered her appearance just enough to fall under the “too different” category for the survivors. Both of these things turned this into a very interesting book for me and I’m looking forward to continuing it!