Monday, February 6, 2023

Light From Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki


Katrina Nguyen is a young transgender woman who has run away from her abusive home.  Her father hates what she is and is ashamed of her.  He beats her often.  Her often refuge is music and she has a violin that is her most prized possession although she hasn't been able to take lessons outside of YouTube.  She has little self confidence but knows that somehow she must play the violin.

Shizuka Satomi was the most famous violinist of her generation and the most famous violin teacher currently.  She is also the Queen Of Hell, since she has signed a contract to deliver seven violinist souls to Hell which will relieve her of having to give up her own soul.  She has already delivered six students' souls and is looking for her last student.

Lan Tran is a doughnut shop owner and meets Shizuka Satomi there when she stops to buy doughnuts.  But Lan is more than a shop owner.  She is an alien who has shepherded her family to this world to escape war and destruction.  There is an instant spark between Lan and Shizuka although neither knows the other's secret.

The lives of these three women will intersect and change each life.  Shizuka takes Katrina as a student, moving her into her own home and instructing her.  Katrina has a feeling for the music that no student before her has had and Shizuka knows that she could become a star.  But what of the contract she has made with Hell?

This book was a Hugo Award Finalist along with many other awards.  It is a body positive story along with being a love story on many levels.  The three women form a family that supports each individual and helps them find their way and give their talents to the world.  The author, Ryka Aoki, is a transgender woman herself so writes Katrina's story from personal knowledge.  Readers will fall in love with Katrina and keep reading to see how this story will turn out.  This book is recommended for readers of science fiction, music lovers and those interested in the difficulties transgender people face in their daily life.  

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