Diamond Star Mass Market Paperback – Jun 29 2010
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About the Author
Catherine Asaro has an M.A. in physics, and a Ph.D. in chemical physics, both from Harvard. She has done research at the
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The story is - Del, the youngest scion of a royal family ruling an interstellar empire, is on Earth, hiding in anonymity under a pseudonym. His unusual good looks and a tremendous vocal talent land him a contract as a rock singer, but the path to stardom is unlikely: his telepathic sensitivity cripples him in front of crowds. He's an awkward, naive farm boy thrust into the decadence of Earth's music industry, yet his past hides pain and alienation.
Usually being more fond of science fiction novels, I was surprised that the sample chapters I read drew me in so well. The book is a good, fast read, and the end had a surprisingly emotional impact - I did not expect to be tearing up. This is an excellent book to read for readers new to the Skolian series, and existing fans will also enjoy it.
Del is a damaged and troubled young man, and it's sometimes painful to watch his mistakes. But he grows as a man, an artist, and a prince, and the end is smashing. Clearly Asaro loves music and has done her research on alternative rock, and that shine through Diamond Star. I also really like the music that is threaded through the book, and which is available on CD.
Can't wait for the next Skolian novel!
Wow, I'm actually trying to write a book review. I haven't done that in months and months, but we'll see how it goes.
Catherine Asaro is my favourite author and her Skolian series, of which Diamond Star is the latest chapter, is my favourite series. However, I often get incredibly anxious about reading her books, sometimes putting it off for months, and I'm never been completely sure about why. I am coming to the conclusion that it is a combination of the fact that I really connect with these books, meaning I tend to have a very intense reaction to them, and the fact I find her bad guys particularly nasty, so that the more they feature in a book, the more anxious I feel about reading it. But I love the books. The characters speak to me and I really respond to them. I care about them all and want to know what happens to them. If I was a writer (which I'm not, and certainly wouldn't ever be one of Catherine's talent) and I was trying to "write what you love and want to read", these are they books I'd want to write. They just hit all my buttons, even if they terrify me a little bit as well.
As I read the book, I really wasn't always sure if I liked Del or not. I certainly didn't dislike him, but he could be an incredibly frustrating character at times. He could be pretty immature and needs to do some growing up. Most of her other characters have been much more mature and this is something new. It's done well, but I wanted to slap him occasionally. I think this is completely intentional, but he's still sometimes frustrating. Not annoying, because he's totally in character all the time, but frustrating because he has so much potential he isn't living up to yet.
Of course, that's part of the power of the character. For a lot of complicated reasons I don't want to spoil, he's missed out on a childhood really and he's a grown man who is still finding his way out of adolescence with all of an adult's weight on his shoulders. I found it particularly poignant that, for him, all that his family has suffered (and we readers have suffered it with them through the earlier books) has happened all in one brief, crushing moment, where in reality it has been spread out over 40 years. For them, there has been time to come to some sort of terms with it all and move on, even if only to the next crisis. For Del, it's all happened to him at once and I doubt he's had time to work through any of it. That's why he takes the action he does at the end of the book, full of anger and also confusion I think, and it works perfectly. It's probably also the beginning of some healing of all the pain, so it will good to see where his character goes in the aftermath of that.
Apparently, Catherine's next Skolian book is to be called Carnelians. "It's another stand-lone, like Diamond Star. However, it fits in with Diamond Star and another book called The Ruby Dice, because all three [sic:] involve the same characters and universe." (Catherine Asaro on Paraoddity)
Firstly, I'm not sure what the third book mentioned here is as Catherine has only named two, but I'm not sure that I care. More Del, more Kelric, more Jai. Yay, I'm going to be happy (even if that whole anxiety thing happens again). But my real point is that I can see Del needing another book. His story doesn't feel finished here. This chapter of it is, but he's still got growing up and healing to do, probably quite a lot of both, and his character arc has plenty more places to go. But now that I have finished the book, I find that I do like him. I'm well established in his corner and I want to see him do that growing and become the man he can be. He's made mistakes, but he learns from them and I want to see that keep happening. (Although a bit from Kelric's point of view, to see his real feelings for Del, not his always stoic reactions as interpreted by Del in his frustration and anger, would be good too.)
One other small comment - it was nice to have an aspect of the family tree that has always been confusing finally explained. Maybe in the next book we could have an update of the family tree and the timeline (with the "location" of the newer books added to it ).
This is a slightly jointed review - I apologise. I started with a bang, then rather ran out of steam. Rather than leaving the draft sitting around for months, I decided to post what I had, so here you are. I hope it was interesting and/or useful.