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An Accident of Stars

(Manifold Worlds #1)

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  676 ratings  ·  175 reviews
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 w
Mass Market Paperback, 494 pages
Published August 2nd 2016 by Angry Robot (first published July 1st 2016)
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Foz Meadows Not to the best of my knowledge, but there will be a pretty shiny map in the front! :)

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Until the death of Google Reader, I was a regular subscriber to Foz Meadows' blog, so I was absolutely delighted to have the chance to read her book. I think I would have been absolutely captivated by Accident of Stars when I was younger. Thematically, it's a coming-of-age story in a creative high fantasy world, and not only are the majority of protagonists teenagers, but the story is also blissfully devoid of love triangles, self-image issues, and school-related angst. Sadly, I've since become ...more
Sherwood Smith
Aug 27, 2016 added it
Shelves: fantasy
I keep hearing third-hand that publishers all believe that portal fantasies don’t sell, and yet when I talk to other readers, a vast percentage of those who like fantasy sigh and wish there were more portal fantasies.

As a kid I certainly loved them, except for the endings. I hated the endings wherein the kids arrived back the day they left, like nothing had changed—including their experiences shaping them—and I loathed the utter betrayal of the memories being taken away “for their own good.”

Dec 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017-read
An amazingly rich portal fantasy, both in terms of story and characters.

The storyline is deceptively simple: teen girl follows another traveller into a portal that leads to another world. The other world is in the midst of political upheaval, and the main character, Saffron, gets drawn into this.

What makes An Accident of Stars different is that, among other things, Saffron is not a Chosen One in the story. She has no special skills that will turn her into a key player, and she's not running away
May 25, 2017 rated it liked it
A modern Australian teenager follows a mysterious woman through a portal between worlds in this engaging fantasy with strong feminist elements as well as a racially and sexually diverse world where polyamory is the norm. The story features a cast primarily of women, and of many different age groups and also shows much more realistic outcomes of and reactions to violence than you see in most fantasy books.

Saffron inadvertently becomes a "worldwalker" by following fellow worldwalker Gwen into her
Niki Hawkes - The Obsessive Bookseller
There were many aspects I enjoyed about An Accident of Stars even though the story never developed to its fullest potential. It’s a fun, light read for those who like classic portal-fantasies.

The diverse cast of characters (boasting some LGBT awesomeness) were easily the best component of the novel. I thoroughly enjoyed reading each POV (which bounced around in almost an omniscient style at times) and appreciated how well developed they all were. Even during the slower moments, my interest in th
Aug 01, 2016 rated it it was ok
I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Take a look at the cover. Do you like it? That will tell you whether or not you'll like this book. See how old-school it looks? How much like one of those pulpy fantasies from the 80's? How vaguely YA?

I am still wondering if this book is a re-release, somehow, despite my research, because it reads so VERY MUCH like one of the old 80's portal fantasies. And to be honest, that's what attracted me to the book in the fir
17/12 - I had such high hopes for this one, but from the beginning I felt like the gender and sexual equality were shoved in my face as if the author felt it was necessary to prove that she was capable (maybe that someone was capable) of writing a sci-fi/fantasy that didn't demean women by making them all TSTL or turning them all into Madonnas or whores. Unfortunately, this was just the opposite extreme of books with the aforementioned crappy female characters, which didn't make it much more of ...more
Claudie Arseneault
Jun 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: aromantic, fantasy, lgbt
I'm having a hard time putting stars on this book, or on my opinions of it. The bottom line, however, is that I liked it. I enjoyed myself. And if people asked me if it was worth the time, then yes, I definitely think it is.

Before I go on, this book comes with major tw for gore, violence, mutilation. If descriptions of physical violence, wounds, blood, scars, etc. are hard for you, proceed with caution.

Now... novel is full of women. Seriously, massive amount of women characters. Almost every sin
May 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
This gets five stars for sheer enjoyment. Wish fulfilment for every person who has ever read a portal fantasy and questioned how a person would adapt so quickly to medieval standards of living. A wonderful example of how to create societies, for that matter, that don't simply recreate a medieval world. Tons of fun for me!
Galley provided by publisher

DNF @ 23%

Honestly, watching paint dry would be more interesting than this book. Probably, it was just one of those that wasn't for me. There was nothing about it that I thought was bad per se, but I just didn't connect to any of the characters and the writing bored me.

I was actually bored by it from the first page, which is a shame because I was really looking forward to this one. There's portals between worlds, and magic, and a diverse cast (both racially and sexuall
Bob Milne
Sadly, as much as I was looking forward to this, I feel as if the cover blurb left some important things out. This was entirely a teenage coming-of-age story, written specifically for a YA market, and I am so very much the wrong audience for that. I liked the idea of it, and the world building seemed interesting (albeit a bit simple, especially in terms of culture/race), but I could not connect with the characters, and the story just wasn't interesting enough to make up for it.
Feb 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle, bookshelf, nist

An Accident of Stars is one of the most well plotted, well characterised novels I have read in a while. I can't think of one time where I thought "Oh that's silly" or "That doesn't seem plausible". I'm impressed; normally at some point in a novel I will notice an irregularity or some sort which will niggle at the back of my mind. Not in this.


So, An Accident of Stars is a portal fantasy, featuring a large cast of mostly female characters. Primarily we have Saffron, the young protag
Jun 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
I understand why so many people recommended this to me! Such a great inclusive portal fantasy!
I love the way this dealt with trauma, scars and disability.
I love that most characters were women (cis or trans), that this is a matriarchal world where the male characters were a beautiful man, a kind boy and the bad guy/usurper.
I love that while this isn't a world with equality, the girls and women here never abused or thought less of their male friends and even frowned at the way they were so
Lisa Coss
Aug 20, 2016 rated it did not like it
I bought this book because I was excited for a feminist world-hopping fantasy with complex female characters driving the story and fascinating new world to explore...

I'm not sure where to begin, because what I found was a book that was an overwhelming frustration and disappointment all around. I almost set it down a dozen different times, and the only thing that had me picking it back up again eventually was the thought of being able to write a true review so others might avoid making the same m
Nov 13, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, queer
Reviewed for The Bibliophibian.

This took me a long time to finish, and I’m not entirely sure why. There’s a lot I love about it — the diversity, the bonds between the characters, the fact that it’s so driven by female characters (in both positive and negative ways), the way things aren’t just simple right and wrong. I mean, Kadeja and Leoden are undeniably pretty evil, which does undermine me saying that somewhat, but Yasha raises doubts at times as well. She’s on the side of the “good” characte
This book was sent to me by the publisher at no cost.

This is the first book of the Manifold World series. It's a portal fantasy and a coming-of-age story, with an Australian schoolgirl following a woman who had helped her - and following her through a rift into another world.

Saffron's life is a fairly normal one; it opens with a distinctly unpleasant experience with a boy at school harassing her, and a stranger supporting her as (sadly) almost no one else ever had. In going to thank the woman,
May 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Portal fantasy seems to be making a comeback, which is fine by me; I'm not sure why it fell out of fashion in the first place. This one, as you would hope from a new book, does something fresh with it, primarily by splitting the point of view between several different women: a teenage white Australian who goes through the portal more or less by accident, a middle-aged black British woman who's been "world-walking" for a while and is already familiar with the other world, and a couple of even you ...more
Sep 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lgbtq, sf-f
This story did so many things that ticked all of my boxes! It delved into the difficulties of magically learning a language without necessarily having the cultural context for it, which was fascinating. It showed communities of women of all ages, working together – and sometimes against each other – and getting stuff done. It spent time thoughtfully exploring the impact of trauma has, particularly on young people – characters are given lots of space to deal with and begin to recover from their e ...more
May 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
(Full review here:

I flat-out adore the world that Meadows created here, with its rich unique cultures and language and clothing styles. I want to read more things set in it, to spend more time there with characters I’ve grown to know and appreciate. The story is phenomenal, a brilliant fantasy with fascinating characters and an overarching plot that’s full of action and intrigue and the world being on a precipice, on the knife-edge of revolution while th
An Accident Of Stars is one of those books that, honestly, I always knew I would love. I put off reading it for far too long, because portal fantasy isn’t a trope that particularly appeals to me, but… it’s Foz Meadows, and I’ve been following Meadows’ reviewing and writing on fandom and culture for years now. Her first book is just as brilliant, incisive, thoughtful, and compelling as I always expected it to be, and I confess - I’m more interested in portal fantasy as a trope after reading it.

May 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
Beautiful storytelling, a stunning world and concept, slow tale to start but the intrigue picks up. My issues are few and they are purely my issues. I don't understand all the polyamory stuff, lately everything I read seems to have huge families, but that will not affect your enjoyment of the story.

Thanks to the robot overlords at Angry Robot for the ARC, this is a great introduction into an amazing world, check it out most definitely.

Sep 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
One of the most thoughtful novels I've read, SFF or not. Its really brought into stark relief how little trauma is given a stage in novels that involve some pretty traumatic things. Highly recommend, I can't wait to start the next one.
Review originally published on The Curious SFF Reader

As I mentionned in last month Wrap-Up I wanted to read lighter books and since I didn’t make a TBR I had the complete liberty to read whatever I wanted (which is a bit unusual for me, I like to plan everything because it reassures me). Because of that I decided to randomly browse the books on my Kindle and I spotted An Accident of Stars that I pre-ordered months ago after reading Coral Bones, her fantastical retelling of The Tempest that I re
Sarah (CoolCurryBooks)
An Accident of Stars is a queer feminist portal fantasy told from the point of views of four female characters. Saffron is a high school student in Australia who follows a strange woman through a portal and enters another world, Kena. While born on earth, Gwen has been traveling to Kena for over thirty years and considers it home. She even became involved in local politics and made an unwise choice in supporting a man called Leoden in his bid for the throne. Now Gwen and her allies are hunted by ...more
Ju Transcendancing
An eARC of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This review is presented as part of my contribution to the Australian Women Writers Challenge 2016.

An Accident of Stars is a very solid debut novel from Foz Meadows, it truly brings epic and portal fantasy to life. This book is equal parts the start of an epic story and a coming of age story. This is also a story that disabuses you of the notion that nothing *truly* bad can happen to your heroe(s) in a novel, be
Feb 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book was really excellent. It has a good solid story (it's a portal fantasy), but its strengths are the characters and character development. For one, I can't remember ever having read a book with so many non-traditional characters. To start with, there are a tremendous number of women. Women of all sorts and sizes, many with competence, bravery, and character. And not to forget, positions of power. Then there are people of varied shades. Then, even more noteworthy, characters who are lesbi ...more
Jan 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I don't LIKE portal fantasy, but I loved this book. The main character's transition from our world to another (view spoiler) felt quite believable. It started a little slowly, but once it got going I thought it was very well paced through the rest of the book. It doesn't exactly end with a cliffhanger, but there's a lot left unresolved - fine, I guess I'll be reading the next one. The story also seemed to mature a bit over the course of the book, which I think makes ...more
Bogi Takács
Review very soon IY"H.
Jun 14, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Try as I might, I just couldn't connect with this book— Something that is likely due to the fact that I'm pretty far removed from the target audience, but still. The setting didn't really catch me, although I did appreciate that there were many women in it (despots, still, but then again I've lost hope of seeing anarchosyndicalist communes in fantasy). Other problem that's a common trend with fantasy: I felt there were far too many fantasy names with little original content behind. Nothing was p ...more
Michael Underwood
An exciting character-driven fantasy with a strong ensemble, intriguing magic, and all of the feminist badassery you would expect from Foz Meadows. I'm very excited to share this series with readers next year.
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Foz Meadows is a genderqueer fantasy author with a pronounced weakness for Dragon Age, fanfic, webcomics and mornings that are so late as to technically constitute noons. She currently lives in Brisbane.

Other books in the series

Manifold Worlds (2 books)
  • A Tyranny of Queens (Manifold Worlds, #2)
“Feelings are feelings, no matter when they happen. Our bodies don't stop being ours just because worse things happen to other people.” 3 likes
“And so I keep waiting for someone to come along and say to me, You’re traumatised, you need help, only nobody does, and so I can keep pretending I’m not and that I don’t, but that’s the point, isn’t it? As soon as we get home again, that’s all anyone will ever say to me, all they’ll ever see in me. Because–” “Because,” Gwen finished softly, “there’s no lie you can tell to explain all this that won’t leave people thinking you’re a victim of something horrific.” For a moment, the world fell away from her. “Am I, then?” Saffron asked hoarsely. “Is that what all this has made me? Just a victim? Nothing else? Because I still can’t decide whether coming here was the best or worst thing that’s ever happened to me, or if it can somehow be both and neither at the same time.” 1 likes
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