Title: The Brightest Stars
Author: Anna Todd
Genre: New Adult Romance
Publication Date: September 19, 2018
Karina knows the harsh realities of military life. And like anyone who has grown up around an army base, she knows the background noise that follows a soldier home from war. That’s why she’s forging her own quiet life in her own little house. But she hasn’t turned her back on her family. She’s the glue that holds them together-when her father is deployed, when her brother, Austin, has another brush with the law.
Karina knows that she has to look after herself, that she can’t always fix what’s broken. But when Austin’s behavior worsens and her father’s reactions grow more extreme, Karina feels her own edges beginning to fray. That’s when she meets him-a closed book she’s desperate to open.
At just twenty, Kael is a handsome, brooding soldier struggling with the aftermath of two tours in Afghanistan. He’s emotionally damaged and closed off. Quiet doesn’t begin to describe him. But as Karina gets used to his stable presence, she finds it hard to ignore the way he makes her feel. In their time together, she finds the stillness she has always wanted and never found. She lets down her guard. And she lets herself fill in the blanks about this mysterious man.
But illusions quickly made are quickly shattered. That’s when Karina has to find her own courage-to untangle the truth from the lies, and decide what she’s going to do about it.
Honestly, this is probably one of the hardest reviews I’ve ever had to write, mainly because I adore Anna Todd. The After series is hands down by favorite NA series to date. Tessa and Hardin are my OTP, and I’ve been a fan of those books since she wrote them on Wattpad. I’ve read them all more than once, and her writing has always pulled me right in. I’ve been so excited that she was bringing out a new book, The Brightest Stars, and couldn’t wait to read it. I was able to get my hands on an early copy and settled in to read.
So here’s the thing. The Brightest Stars is nothing like After. While I fell in love with the characters in After, I couldn’t connect with anyone in The Brightest Stars. For me, the story was oddly paced, and the writing choppy, and almost unrefined, if that even makes sense. I liked the premise of the story, and the first few pages, immediately had me hooked, but as the story continued I found myself caring less and less.
Kael and Karina are the main characters of the story, Karina is an army brat that is trying to make a life of her own away from her military father and her stepmother. Her biggest concern is her twin brother, Austin, who she worries about on a regular basis. She’s a massage therapist, who meets Kael when he comes in for a massage. He’s cold, and standoffish and there was no connection between the two. However, he continues to come back, and ends up staying at Karina’s house because he has nowhere else to go.
The book is an instalove story. The two main characters relationship spans over a week or so, I believe. There were a few places where I felt like the timeline was a little off and a bit clunky. The short chapters made it hard to dive in too deeply, and often caused the my reading to feel stilted.
All of that being said, I believe every book is someone’s favorite book, and I don’t want to deter others from reading this. Just because it didn’t work for me, doesn’t mean it won’t work for you. I know for a fact, that there are plenty of people that do not like After, and I completely respect that opinion. The Brightest Stars is the first in a trilogy, and even though I didn’t enjoy this one as much as I hoped, I still plan on reading the next two books, simply because I want to know the secrets sprinkled throughout the pages.
A big thanks goes out to Big Honcho Media for providing me with the finished copy!