Films have changed the way we read and write – Hold Back the Stars by Katie Khan

Book Reviews, Book Thoughts, theatre, Uncategorized, Writing, Writing Thoughts


They’ve got half and hour left. Max and Carys fell in love – but love is not allowed. In their world relationships are only ever short term, and you only live in one place for one cycle. But they’re determined that their love can beat the system and change the rules, taking their case to the highest powers. They are sent on a mission into space together – a mission doomed to disaster. Is love worth it, in the end?

In a plot woven between the present moment and the story of their love, Max and Carys’ predicament fans out around the reader, with the elements of mystery becoming clearer and clearer. This book draws you in very cleverly, with you as the reader rooting for the couple more and more as you learning more about their past, making the outcome of the present moment more and more tense.

I initially chose to read this book because it seemed reminiscent of the film Passengers, a film I was vaguely fascinated about but was fairly sure I wouldn’t actually enjoy, so this seemed like a worthy substitute. I can’t comment on the film as I’ve never seen it, but this didn’t disappoint. I wasn’t blown away by it by any means, but it was certainly enjoyable and well told.

I don’t think I was hugely grabbed by either of the main characters, so it took a while for me to be won round to their cause – though of course I am predisposed to be against a society that has completely outlawed long term relationships so should be immediately onside. It does seem rather beyond belief that a society of this type has been allowed to develop – especially on a whole world scale.

But when you suspend belief the world is pretty well painted through Max and Carys’ stories. Thinking of it now it’s also quite like The Adjustment Bureau – interesting to have a book that is most reminiscent of two films. I wonder if our being more used to scenes changing in films has made us more accepting of it in books?

It’s got a clever ending too, which is hard to leave out because it’s probably the most interesting part of the book, but I’m going to have to. It’s frustrating, heart-breaking, addictive. I’d love to discuss it with you if you’ve read it.

All the things online are saying this is like One Day and Passengers, and I’d agree. I didn’t love either of those, and I didn’t love this though I did enjoy it – but if that’s what you’re after here you go!

Thanks so much to Netgalley and the publishers for allowing me to read this book in exchange for my honest opinions.

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