header03-final

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Doubt the Stars by Maddyson Wilson // Book Review

I think most of you regulars know by now that as much as I'd love to have the time to beta read and review ARCs and friend's books ... I just don't have the time! Now imagine me signing up to read an ARC on an impulse for two reasons: 1) a paperback ARC and 2) an amazing blurb.


I'm telling you guys, blurbs are important! Without such an excellently written blurb, I most certainly would not have agreed to review this ARC (Advanced Reader's Copy). My impulse paid off, though! It made for great reading material on my first train ride. I have no regrets. ^.^


How far would you go to save the damned?

Celeste Adair lives in a world painted gray. She's spent the last five years of her life stuck in a mental institution because she told the truth: there was an angel on the roof of her foster home. Since then, she's been slapped with labels she didn't deserve and words she didn't ask for. 

Luke Enoch lives in a world painted a fire red. He and his sister, Clover, have been living on the streets of Brooklyn for the last five years, running from the police because Luke has been accused of lighting the house fire that killed their parents. Luke has sacrificed everything to keep Clover safe and will do whatever it takes to make sure she doesn't suffer the same fate he has.

After waking up from what they thought to be their final breaths, Celeste and Luke find themselves trapped in the year 1392 with a single mission: protect Romeo and Juliet, the star-crossed lovers. With the centuries-old war brewing, the only shot they have at keeping Romeo and Juliet alive is keeping them separate. But, when fate (and a trigger-happy prince) steps in, there aren’t many things Celeste and Luke can do to stop all of Verona from falling into war. With the line between good and bad erased, Celeste and Luke will have to risk everything to keep the star-crossed lovers safe--even if it means losing each other.

You cannot blame me for falling for that blurb, amiright?! I mean ... come on.
Maddyson Wilson is a sixteen year old author and actress who has won multiple awards for her writing, including the 2014 and 2017 NC Young Playwright's Festival, and the 2009 Celebration of Poets. Most recently, her original play, "Glory Days" was showcased in the Hickory Playground. Maddyson resides in North Carolina with her parents and three dogs. When she's not writing, she can be found on stage at her local theatre or aimlessly surfing the internet.
You know how this works by now. I ramble and then sum it up on a scale of ten. :) (Or if you're in a total cheapskate mood, here's my shorter review on Goodreads.)

As I've said, it's the premise that initially hooked me. Like why did I not think of that?! As a huge fan of Shakespeare, I really enjoyed that entire element to the story. All the timey-wimey and angelic elements were not only very neat, but surprisingly easy to follow. Gotta love that ;) It was well executed, so I'm happy. :)

I really loved all the character interactions. I mean, let's face it. Most of these characters were just gold. Celeste is so dismal and snarky, and Luke tries to be better than that, but he's broken, too. Romeo and Juliet were a little crazy sometimes, but dude I forgot how young they were ... o.o And sticking all the angelic, crazies, and Shakespeareans in a Verona time loop was just a good call, okay?

The villain was spot on. Creepy prince who's a horrible person ... but also makes good points ... and wants help from a protagonist? Hmm ... And then there's Ramona. Another horrible person with a soft spot. No "true" villains--just messed up people who've decided to act like it instead of push through like the MCs.

Honestly, all the brokenness is part of what made me like the story. Was there more language and violence than I typically enjoy? Yes. But it was done effectively and not excessively for the most part. (I still recommend something like 16+ because of this, though.)

And in the midst of all the brokenness, I could see the allegory to Christ. This was the true beauty of the book. Beyond the great premise, nice execution, and downright epicness of Shakespeare-meets-Peretti-meets-asylum ... there was God. No, He wasn't a character. But every now and then a line would slap me, and I could see the truth behind it. The Jesus story behind it. It's done in the least blatant way possible, but I found it completed the story.

All in all, I really had no idea where this book was going the entire time, but I also kept from getting too lost. The ending was glorious in that it tossed something unexpected at me and took a huge turn. Then, ya know ... ended. -_-

Boiling all of that down, my result is 7/10 shrooms. I'm taking one off for more nasty language than I wanted, one for the occasional choppiness and minorly confusing elements of the story, and one because honestly, I wanted more Romeo and Juliet. They were side characters in their own story--the blurb told me as much. But they weren't as deep as anyone else ... and I wanted more. 

So here's to hoping Book 2 will give me some answers, clarification, character development, and light. :)
I know, I can hear you saying what else could there possibly be?! But hey, this is important.

You can befriend the wonderful Maddyson in all of these places:


And, if you'd like to give the book a read (if witty, broken, fantasy, retelling-ish tragedies on a time loop are your thing) then it is available for pre-order HERE.
What are your thoughts on that premise? How much of a turn-off is language in a book for you?

((Oh, and speaking of pre-order ... watch for a paperback Andora's Folly! Soon, I promise.))