Book review · novel

Book review: An Accident of Stars

An Accident of Stars (Manifold Worlds #1), by Foz Meadows

09 an accident of starsDescription: (from Angry Robot)

When Saffron Coulter stumbles through a hole in reality, she finds herself trapped in Kena, a magical realm on the brink of civil war. There, her fate becomes intertwined with that of three very different women: Zech, the fast-thinking acolyte of a cunning, powerful exile; Viya, the spoiled, runaway consort of the empire-building ruler, Vex Leoden; and Gwen, an Earth-born worldwalker whose greatest regret is putting Leoden on the throne.

But Leoden has allies, too, chief among them the Vex’Mara Kadeja, a dangerous ex-priestess who shares his dreams of conquest. Pursued by Leoden and aided by the Shavaktiin, a secretive order of storytellers and mystics, the rebels flee to Veksh, a neighboring matriarchy ruled by the fearsome Council of Queens.

Saffron is out of her world and out of her depth, but the further she travels, the more she finds herself bound to her friends with ties of blood and magic. Can one girl ‘an accidental worldwalker’ really be the key to saving Kena? Or will she just die trying?

I saw a lot of noise around this book on twitter when it came out from the people I follow, celebrated for being a great inclusive portal fantasy. Now that I have read it I totally undertand why people were so happy about this book!

I love the way An Accident of Stars includes the characters’ sexualities such as the first introduced character’s bisexuality, the second’s aromanticism and polyamorous relationship. The book also deals a lot with trauma, scars and disability in a very sensitive way.

While the fantasy world this takes place in isn’t a reference of equality since it is a matriarchal society, it isn’t either full of abuse against one type of poeple. The two men in the main cast of characters are kind and their physical appearence is often commented on – the worldbuilding often reminding that men are mostly there for looking pretty. Though the main cast is aware of how fucked up this is and try to make up for it. Since this is a world that has a clear men/women look on things, I liked the inclusion of a trans character at one point. Though I’m wondering if more characters outside of the gender binary will be introduced in the sequel. I also liked the way the book addressed the bias that the main character had regarding skin colour and internalized racism.

The themes of friendships, family and motherhood were really present throughout the book and seeing the cast interact and bond together was really a highlight of the novel for me. Still, I feel like the characters sometimes lacked a certain something for me to fall in love with them and make this the unforgettable reading experience I wished it had been. During the first part of the book I was sometimes almost on the verge of stopping reading because while I was really intrigued, the worldbuilding is really hard to make sense of because the reader is thrown into this whole political plot just like the main character from Earth, drowned with a lot of information that the main character is forced to learn fast. This does not make for a fun reading experience at first!

The density of the worldbuilding, political plot and large number of character helped my decision to buy the sequel before I was even finished so that I could read it this summer before I started forgetting everything. I’m really looking forward to it despite those little complaints.

ALSO please @ publishers: put the glossary at the beginning and not at the end when I realise I could have had this reminder all along when I’m finished…


Regarding other reviews, I loved this post on the duology by D, and this post posted on by Liz Bourke.

Content warnings: gore, violence, mutilation, description of physical violence and abuse, wounds, blood, scars.


2 thoughts on “Book review: An Accident of Stars

  1. I’m really not sure what to think after reading your review. I really love falling in love with characters, and I hate info dumping/being completely confused when I start fantasies. I’ll have to think about this one some more!


    1. Yeah I really liked reading it but upon recommending it I really don’t know what to say. It really depends on the person, if some elements really appeal to you I’d say go for it, otherwise… Definitely a good book but I can’t say it’s perfect


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