Review of “The Stars Between Us” by Cristin Terrill

Viktoria Hale, known as Vika, lives on the planet Philomenus, which is controlled by its nearby sister planet Ploutos. The Philomenis barely get by, mostly by working as menials for the wealthy people of Ploutos who pay for their daily travel by ferry between the two planets. The trip each way is less than an hour thanks to the invention of the hydrino fission reactor by Rigel Chapin, now the richest man on Ploutos.

As the story begins, Rigel Chapin has just been found dead, and his will shockingly specified that his son Leo would get all of his billions only if he married Vika. Vika had never met Leo, and only had encountered Rigel once when she was a child. Something about her appealed to Rigel back then, and he studied her over the years, deciding that she was the one he wanted for Leo’s wife.

Vika’s life thus suddenly turns upside down, not once, but twice. Before she could even adjust mentally to what all this meant, it turned out that Leo Chapin, on his way back to Ploutos from abroad, was on an airship that exploded mid-journey, killing all aboard.

Vika thought her inheritance was lost before it was even realized. As outraged as she had been over the manipulation by Chapin, she couldn’t deny the idea of money had been overwhelmingly appealing.

Then Vika had a third upheaval in her life. She was summoned to Ploutos to meet the next inheritors in line to Chapin, a married couple who acted as Chapin’s former housekeeper and handyman. They invited Vika to come live with them in the Chapin penthouse and share in their good fortune. She accepted, and began to live the life of luxury she always dreamed about. Moreover, there were several men from Ploutos who found her attractive for various reasons, and wanted to marry her.

But being rich, which had great advantages in terms of comfort, was not as wonderful as she thought it would be. She saw lots of shallow and greedy behavior, and didn’t know whom around her she could trust. Moreover, whoever wanted Leo Chapin dead was not done trying to get rid of the benefactors of his fortune.

Evaluation: This sci-fi/romance/thriller is directed at the young adult market, but I think it has broader appeal. It’s not too complex (a plus); somewhat predictable (not necessarily a minus); and has an outcome that will please most readers.

Rating: 3.5/5

Published by Wednesday Books, an imprint of St. Martin’s Publishing Group at Macmillan, 2022

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