Monday, March 20, 2023

Book Review: "Stars and Smoke" by Marie Lu

A little action and intrigue, a little romance, and a fun ride characterize Marie Lu's upcoming book, Stars and Smoke.

Winter Young is the biggest pop sensation in the world. His latest album tops the charts in 70 countries, and he’s a real heartthrob and fashionista. But despite his amazing success, he doesn’t feel fulfilled anymore. Inspired by the memory of his older brother, who died while in the Peace Corps, he starts yearning for more than fame.

Enter Panacea, a top covert-ops organization. They’ve been trying to bring down a major drug, arms, and human trafficker without success. But the mogul’s daughter is Winter’s biggest fan, so when she invites him to attend her birthday party, it will allow Panacea to infiltrate his home courtesy of their newest recruit—Winter.

Sydney is Panacea’s youngest operative, on her way to becoming their best agent ever. She doesn’t suffer fools gladly, and she’s not thrilled about having to babysit a pop star playing spy. But as Winter and Sydney get closer to their target, she starts to realize there’s more to him than meets the eye, and he finds that her icy exterior is hiding vulnerability.

This was a good, fast-paced read, with memorable characters and a good mix of intrigue and romance. I’ll read whatever Lu writes, and this was an interesting change of pace for her.

Thanks to NetGalley and Roaring Brook Press for an advance copy. The book publishes 3/28.

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