Usually, I would try to post an ARC review before the publication date, but due to some bad luck, Harper360 did not manage to get me a copy until after it was out! Due to that, I did put it off until I had a few other proofs to read. I’m actually kind of glad I did, as I already have a copy of The Sound of Stars to read after this. I didn’t realise that they’re set in the same world until I checked the reviews, so heck yeah!
The Kindred follows Felix, a duke who would love to be a musician. And Joy, his kindred, who is poor and is stuck within the constraints of her culture. When the royal family is killed, Felix and Joy are both blamed. They have to run away until they can find out what is really going on. They get stranded on earth, and the chaos begins.
In their system, the way they have tried to make things equal is by creating a connection between people. The idea was that if a poor person is connected to a rich person, even the poor will get their voices heard. This kindred program is supposedly working, and many of these pairings wind up falling in love. Joy’s mother is in love with her kindred, and Joy and Felix have developed feelings for each other. Joy just believes they can’t act on them.
The connection means that Joy and Felix are in each other’s heads near constantly. They can see what each other does as well as speak to each other. This means that they know each other in ways that not many others do. Usually, the characters being interested in each other at the start would be a bit of a put-off. But with their connection, it makes sense.
For me, the best part of the book was definitely the characters. Joy is such a good girl, and on earth, she makes some wonderful friends. Rashid and Sarah were amazing, and I found myself awwing during some of their scenes. She has no idea what it’s like on earth, but she does her best to support them and they to support her. I kind of wish that Joy would have gotten the chance to stay on earth and grow up with them, as that would have been sweet. As it is, I hope they can at least visit each other a lot.
Something that Dow did well was handling queerness. Joy is described on-page as being demi ace, and Felix is said to be interested in all people no matter their gender. The aliens we meet on earth introduce themselves with their pronouns and it appears that in their galaxy gender and sexuality don’t really matter. That’s something so easily included in both sci-fi and fantasy but most people will stick our human issues with them in there. So it was nice to see them left out.
I enjoyed the romance as well. Joy and Felix were cute together. I did get a little frustrated sometimes with them, but I also understood why they were behaving the way they were. To be honest, I didn’t even really notice my frustration much while reading it. It’s something I’ve figured out looking back to write this review.
Writing-wise, this was a very easy-to-read book. Sometimes the dialogue on earth from Joy and Felix felt a little stilted and off, but I feel like that might have been on purpose. Their words were being translated after all. But other than that, I had no problems and flew through it. I had fun listening to it and also reading it physically. It was an overall wonderful experience.
A warm and entertaining sci-fi novel that I recommend to all.
Title: The Kindred
Author: Alechia Dow
Age Range: Young Adult
Publisher: Inkyard Press