If you’re looking for a fun summer read, Light from Uncommon Stars is an engaging romantic science fiction/fantasy. I enjoyed this book, despite the fact that I’m not generally fond of urban fantasy or stories with demons.
The story follows a runaway trans violinist, Katrina, who escapes her abusive home and supports herself selling sex, and a violin teacher, Shizuka, who sold her soul for music and must condemn a student to redeem herself from damnation. The blossoming student-teacher relationship between these two forms the heart of the novel.
There are a lot of technical references to violins and food that work in the context of the novel. By the end of the novel, I wanted to go to an Asian restaurant and order everything on the menu and take violin lessons!
Katrina’s characterization is the main strength of the novel. She felt like a real person, and I rooted for her throughout the story. I loved Shizuka for embracing Katrina as a musician, and standing up for Katrina when others misgendered or dismissed her.
Shizuka is clearly torn between her affection for Katrina and her need to condemn Katrina to save her own soul. Watching Shizuka struggle with this impossible choice, and seeing Katrina blossom as a musician and as a young woman, were compelling and made the last 25% of the book impossible to put down.