It is always so refreshing as a writer to come across a debut that is given the amount of marketing and press we all dream about getting for our own debut novels. Before undertaking any of my reviews, I commit a cultural crime of epic proportions. I judge all of the books I get by their covers. I know, I know, Our Child of the Stars review you’re about to read is indeed tainted by that fact. However, I received Our Child of the Stars about a week ago, delivered with a collection of sweets and chocolate sweeteners. The book itself was wrapped rather lovingly, and when I removed the packaging, proceeding to open the first page I expected to be greeted by nothing short of magic.
From the offset, although a fantasy novel and very much to my surprise; the characters are grounded in realism. Facing the everyday struggles and themes of modern living, Molly and Gene Myers’ relationship is one of personal trials with a rich backstory that could easily apply to all of us. After years of trying for a child, their marriage is on the brink, that is until a child arrives under magical circumstances. But this arrival is not without it’s challenges, and as you read on, the reality sets in that the child could either bring them closer together or tear their world apart.
Themes of change are abundant. Set in the turbulent era of the late 60’s, war is raging in Vietnam and the two superpowers are toe to toe. Stephen Cox has masterfully crafted this tension through clever use of prose and word selection. I have always been a fan of that dark time and Cox has captured it without having to spell it out with exposition. The story and characters reminded me of a mix between Stranger Things and the 1970’s movie Starman – Stranger Things for it’s fast pace and fantasy element and Starman for the realism.
Our Child of Stars is a gripping, remarkable story that will stay with you days after you’ve read it. Stephen Cox is the new big name in fantasy.