Title: Digging in the Stars
Author: Katherine Blakeney
A lost ancient civilization and the tomb of a legendary king lie buried beneath centuries of ash on the volcanic Planet Thror, but that’s not the only reason sixteen-year-old Carter has tricked her Archaeology of Outer Space class into coming here. Her best friend Conrad has just disappeared on a trip to Thror, leaving behind little more than a broken vintage camera. The strange and disturbing photographs she manages to extract make her suspect Conrad’s disappearance is somehow connected to the hidden tomb of the last king of Thror.
Unfortunately, the ludicrously over-friendly ‘Furry Giants’ who have taken over the planet’s barren surface would rather offer her cheap souvenirs than answers, and the local officials insist they have no record of Conrad’s existence. Inspired by fear for Conrad’s life and the chance to make the greatest archaeological discovery of the century, Carter and her friends follow Conrad’s footsteps deep into the mountains of Thror’s forbidden Black Zone and launch an illicit excavation.
Coded messages, stunning ancient ruins, and clues left by Conrad himself begin to surface as the young archaeologists fall victim to an alarming series of accidents staged by the increasingly hostile Furry Giants. Piecing together a history of dictatorship, terrorism and disguise, Carter glimpses the horrors beyond Thror’s flamboyant façade and startling revelations about the friend she thought she knew. The masks of Thror hide devastating secrets, and the golden tomb buried deep in the frozen core may claim the lives of everyone she loves.
I do not come across young adult science fiction novels very often that are as advanced and well thought out as Digging in the Stars is. Katherine Blakeney writes with a knowledgeable hand when explaining the world that she has created, and I became trapped within her detailed world as I read along. Digging in the Stars is a novel that takes hold of you and won’t let go until you cross the last page, and even then it stays with you long after. This is the perfect young adult novel to introduce readers to the science fiction genre, while also giving seasoned science fiction readers the ride of a lifetime.
The heroine of this novel, Carter, is one of the best characters that I have read about in this genre. She is feisty, rebellious, and strong, and she was relatable on so many levels. Everything she did was for the greater good, and her love of books was infectious. I felt as though Carter was a personal friend of mine by the end of the novel, and few authors can make characters as vibrant as Blakeney does. It was clear to me that Blakeney has had this story and these characters inside of her for quite some time, and they were just yearning to be released. I could feel their energy vibrating off of the pages, and threatening to break through. Some novels read as though they are forced, but Digging in the Stars was effortless. It allowed me to travel the galaxy within my own home, and very few novels have done that for me.
Blakeney is an expert at world building, and her carefully created realm inspired me to dream beyond this earth and our own society. It was clear to me that her world was inspired from different mythologies, and I loved how she incorporated science into the mix. Her characters were inviting and I cared deeply for each of them by the time the novel was over. I look forward to what Blakeney writes next, and I highly recommend this novel for anyone who loves space travel, adventure, and rebellious heroines who know no bounds.
*This ARC was sent to me by Blaze Publishing in exchange for an honest review.
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