In 2157, the Adryil—an advanced race of telepathic humanoids—contacted Earth. A century later, 15-year-old violist Iris Lei considers herself lucky to attend Papilio, a prestigious performing arts school powered by their technology. Born penniless, Iris’s one shot at a better life is to attract an Adryil patron. But only the best get hired, and competition is fierce.
A sudden encounter with an Adryil boy upends her world. Iris longs to learn about him and his faraway realm, but after the authorities arrest him for trespassing, the only evidence she has of his existence is the mysterious alien device he slipped to her.
When she starts hearing his voice in her head, she wonders if her world of backstabbing artists and pressure for perfection is driving her insane. Then, she discovers that her visions of him are real—by way of telepathy—and soon finds herself lost in the kind of impossible love she depicts in her music.
But even as their bond deepens, Iris realizes that he’s hiding something from her—and it’s dangerous. Her quest for answers leads her past her sheltered world to a strange planet lightyears away, where she uncovers secrets about Earth’s alien allies that shatter everything she knows.
This book was so lovely! I’m big on sci-fi stories that include a romance plot line, but you really have to be good at world-building to do this genre justice. Mary Fan has no problems in creating her world, and with such an interesting concept, it was hard to pass this one up!
This one has a very Cinderella-esque feel – what with the penniless beginning and the boy swooping in to save the day. But there is more to it than that, which I’m glad for. The music and art depicted here are so enthralling, I simply couldn’t get enough. And then don’t get me started on the love story.
The combination of Iris and Dámiul paints such a beautiful picture, I couldn’t put this book down for a second! I feel like the sweet, romantic moments really helped to flesh out the world and to keep everything from getting too scientific and sterile-feeling like some sci fi can be. Then of course there’s the issue with Iris being and earthling and Dámiul an Adryil, which can only cause problems.
Overall, I 100% enjoyed this book! Very grateful to have the chance to read it, and should there be more from Mary Fan in the future, I’d be excited to read it!
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.
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