January 9, 2014

Review: And All the Stars by Andrea K. Höst

And All the Stars by Andrea K. Höst
Published: 2012, Self-published
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction, Post-Apocalyptic
Source: Purchased
Goodreads · Amazon · Barnes & Noble

“There's no way to do more than guess what would have happened if Fisher Charteris and Madeleine Cost met one day in a world which had never feared dust, any more than we can be certain of surviving two years, or two days. I can't speak to what-ifs, but I know I will always be glad to have been here in this moment with you.” 

I haven’t read many works of science fiction (although this is something I’m working to improve), nor have I read many self-published books. It’s not that I have anything against self-published books, but I find it’s very difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff, so to say. I had seen this book mentioned a few times to mostly positive acclaim, however, and, as I said, this fit the bill in my expansion into the sci fi genre.

Madeleine Cost is traveling to an appointment with her cousin Tyler in downtown Sydney, very much preoccupied on the portrait of him she plans on submitting for the Archibald Prize for portraiture, when the world as she knows it changes drastically. So when she wakes up in a ruined St. James Station, covered in purple powder, Maddie is understandably confused. Neither she nor the rest of the world had could anticipated the formation of massive starry spires in major cities. Maddie’s first concern is simply to get out of the station, away from the roots of the Spire there, from the dead and those huddled on the train, looking at dust-covered Maddie as though she is something different, something contaminated.

The fears of those who quarantine themselves away from the purple dust (and dust-covered humans like Maddie) prove to be very much founded in truth. Human body parts that came into contact with the powder either become a starry, night-sky blue or green. Many of those infected humans die, but those who survive are called either Blues or Greens and gain unusual new powers. Against the fear and distrust present within human groups, however, appears a much greater threat, for aliens have decided to enact elaborate supremacy rituals on Earth. And to do so, they need to occupy the bodies of the surviving Blue humans.

Because of her increased exposure to the dust, the majority of Maddie’s body is now blue. That’s made her one of the most powerful Blues and a highly desirable vessel for the conquering aliens. From the beginning, therefore, Maddie is special to a degree that none of the other characters can hope to achieve. Her heightened powers and extra special abilities could have been the downfall in Maddie’s characterization, if Höst was a lesser author. Fortunately that was not the case here. Maddie’s special abilities certainly influence the course of the novel, but they never define her. Through her loyalty to her family and friends, compassion, courage, love of art, and determination to rid the world of alien invaders, readers are able to get a strong sense of Maddie’s character.

The majority of the story revolves around Maddie teaming up with a group of teenage Blues as they work to survive and evade capture in their new reality. Parts of their adventures felt a little corny, as did their self-proclaimed title, The Blue Musketeers. And yet the heart of the story is through the relationships of these teenagers. They argue, crush on one another, make jokes, lie in other words, they felt like very convincing teenagers to me. The relationship that Maddie and Fisher form is probably my favorite part; it was simultaneously realistic and heart wrenching. I really liked getting to know them, but I do feel like Höst had only begun to scratch the surface of most of their characterizations, in a large part probably due to the novel’s brevity.

For a shorter story all about an ongoing alien invasion, I was also a bit baffled by how much the pages tended to drag. There’s a lot going on in this book, and Höst’s approach seems to be throwing  her characters (and readers) in with little advance setup or warning. That’s exactly the situation that Maddie and her friends find themselves in, after all. I would assume that a story so focused on basic survival would have been a little more...intense? I certainly expected this would have kept me on the edge of my seat a little more than it actually did. The plotting just felt a little off to me. That, or perhaps I’m simply not as invested in stories about alien invasions as I would have hoped to be.

What really made reading And All the Stars worth it to me is how very unconventional it is. And I mean that in the best possible way. From the setting, characterizations, exact nuances of the plot, and more, Höst’s story is unlike any that I’ve read before, and that’s something I really appreciated despite the awkward lags in the storyline. And through Maddie and her friends, Höst has created admirable heroes worth rooting for.

Rating: 3 stars
author image


Amanda loves few things better than sitting down with a cup of tea and a book. She frequently stays up far too late, telling herself she just needs to finish one more page. When she's not wrapped up in the stories of others, Amanda works as a children's librarian in a public library.


  1. Glad you enjoyed this one. I'm also trying to read more scifi and to choose a self-pubbed book to read each month...
    Thanks so much for stopping by! Jen @ YA Romantics

    1. As much as I'd like to read more self-pubbed books, I'm still a bit wary of them. I don't want to spend money on something that's just not very good. Word of mouth/reviews are the best way for me to spot some potentially good self-pubbed books, so that's what I'll have to keep doing for now!

  2. I have to admit that I don't read a lot of sci fi either or self-published books, for that matter. This one sounds interesting, but I don't know if it's something I'd really enjoy. I agree that it does sound like something that should be intense and action-packed and it sounds like it may be a bit blah. I feel like the majority of self-published books would have pacing problems. Editors are there for a reason. I'm glad you enjoyed this one, for the most part. Great review!

    1. Editors are there for a reason. I know that Host has a number of books published, some which might be professionally published. So this may be more of a case of me and the book just not quite meshing right. I'm not sure. Thanks, Natalie!

  3. Aww, I'm sorry you didn't love this one, but I am glad you managed to like it. It's the only novel I've read by Host so far, but I really want to try more of her work since I've enjoyed her characters a lot in this installment. Great review, Amanda - I hope some of Host's other novels work out better for you in regards to pacing.

    1. Thanks, Keertana! Me too. I am curious to try out more of her works eventually. I mean, even with this one she showed a lot of creativity and talent so I'm curious to see what else she can write. :)


Thank you for taking the time to comment! I strive to make my blog the very best it can possibly be and I appreciate each and every comment on here.