Dominion of the Star (Amazon Affiliate Link)
Author : Angelica Clyman
Published By : Indie Angel Books
Year Published : 2015
Genre / Tags : Sci-Fi, Dystopian, Fantasy, Romance, Drama, YA (In my opinion, Mature YA. No exceptionally explicit content, but it just reads as older YA.)
Formats : Paperback and eBook
# of Pages : 479
The totality of a solar eclipse lasts only a few short minutes. That’s more than enough time for an apocalypse to erupt.
Almost eighteen years have passed since the Eclipse changed the Earth forever, and Sebastian Za’in rose from the chaos and seized control, imposing his order on the broken planet. In a world ruled by fear and superstition, where all gods have perished, there is no one who can stand up to Za’in, the man rumored to be one of the Nephilim—hybrid offspring of Angel and Man. In a few short months, another Eclipse will occur, and while there are those who expect a new natural disaster, Za’in has plans of his own . . .
Completely unaware of this global turmoil, Kayla Steelryn has spent most of her life in a quiet village, longing to uncover her hidden past. When she leaves her home in search of answers, she finds herself faced with the truth about her identity, forced to choose between the two men she loves, and thrust into a conflict where she alone has the power to stop an event more disastrous than the end of the world.
Dominion of the Star is a post-apocalyptic (and pre-apocalyptic?) futuristic sci-fi novel with an emphasis on world-building, action, and angsty romance. It also features religious imagery, fantasy elements, and some lengthy dreamlike passages. This is a tall order of variance and if I were only reviewing on account of unique and ambitious imagery, this title gets top marks.
The fantasy aspects of this title are pretty well-realized, with finely written passages detailing wastelands submerged in the supernatural. The religious imagery includes angels that have descended upon the earth. The races in this tale include humans, angels, and powerful hybrid offspring. Also of note is the magic- it seems almost limitless in terms of possibilities and scope. Teleportation, mind control, and visions depicting the past are just naming a few.
Kayla (the main heroine) is gifted with unique powers and wants to learn more about her mysterious lineage. She can see visions of events both past and present. The last half of this novel explores these to the utmost. These scenes serve to tell a fuller story illustrating her background and fate of other side characters.
There is a fairly large cast of characters and most have a distinctive voice. Sadly, some of the most important characters were unlikable. Starting with the main one, Kayla. She doesn’t have much of a backbone and for a whopping 50% of the book (at least) she is a wispy and bland doormat. Jeremy has that whole enemies-to-lovers tormented anti-hero flavor going on but he’s a bit too harsh in my opinion. Kayla’s near submissiveness toward him also factored into that.
I like Kittie, a sort of ageless child character- think Claudia from Interview With The Vampire- but more cheerful and able to hold her own in terms of abilities and plot relevance. There is also Asher, a stern and more traditional hero archetype who clashes with the more ambiguous Jeremy. Asher is a man of few words and didn’t leave much of an impression on me, which is unfortunate given his major role in the story.
That said, I like the variety of characters and the vivid and varied fantasy world. But this book ended up being a mixed bag due to those important characters lacking appeal. Moreover there are some very puzzling events and dynamics between the characters.
I often felt like something was missing as far as adequate groundwork for developing the connections between the cast in a convincing way. This dampened the otherwise solid conflicts, fights, and drama that ensues. It seemed murky at times, what makes the characters tick or what they are intending to accomplish. Kayla often seems just as confused and aimless. I was very curious about Kayla’s parents, but found their storyline to be kind of random and lacking impact.
The concept behind the romance was appealing, but I’m a sucker for tormenting external factors. Without delving too far, lets just say Jeremy/Kayla have a lot to overcome as a couple… but unfortunately, the pair give off an insta-love vibe. It might have worked out better to have them be long lost childhood friends or something more firm to support the strong attraction leading up to their rocky romance.
There is also a love triangle of sorts between Jeremy, Kayla, and Asher. Kayla and Asher’s interactions are coldly stilted and lack any romantic energy. I think Jeremy, Kayla, and Sebastian Za’in should have comprised the love triangle. Sebastian left a fairly strong impression. His motives are presented with some coherence and his methods are manipulative in a clever and involving way that has far-reaching effects on most of the characters.
But I digress, what this book excelled at most was its impassioned attempt at bringing a vivid post-apocalyptic world and fantastical elements to life. These scenes are well-written. By comparison, the characters aren’t quite so enthralling and the plot is a tangled web that could have benefitted from more organization, direction, and clarification.
Overall Rating – 6.5/10
Why You Should Try It – Impressively numerous ideas are packed into this lengthy novel. A variety of characters. The writing demonstrates a flair for intriguing descriptions and imaginative world building. Surprising amounts of action/combat. At almost 500 pages, the vocabulary is refined and I noticed no remarkable errors. Za’in is an effective villain.
Why You Might Not Like It – Spineless yet powerful main character who seems swept into situations rather than taking charge. The relationships between the characters seem half-baked, lacking memorable moments. The plot at large would have benefitted from more clarity and direction.
Disclosure : Many thanks to the author and publisher for sending me a copy of this book for review.
Dominion of the Star (Amazon Affiliate Link)
Thanks for reading my review of Dominion of the Star! This one was a bit challenging to review as it has a pretty unique feel. Reminds me a bit of The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare splashed with Angelfall by Susan Ee. But what it really reminds me of (and this is going to be a strange and random comparison that is worlds apart and from another medium of entertainment-) is an older manga series called X/1999 by CLAMP. The “feel” along with the strengths and weaknesses of the narrative and characterization are coincidentally, spiritually similar.
I have another review scheduled to go live today, and am in the middle of two other books. More about that on WWW Wednesday though. Thanks so much for reading this review and for all of your support. Still active, just quite distracted in the last few weeks. ~ Kitty
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