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Faloiv #1

A Conspiracy of Stars

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Octavia has only ever had one goal: to follow in the footsteps of her parents and become a prestigious whitecoat, one of the scientists who study the natural wonders of Faloiv. The secrets of the jungle’s exotic plants and animals are protected fiercely in the labs by the Council of N’Terra, so when the rules suddenly change, allowing students inside, Octavia should be overjoyed.

But something isn’t right. The newly elected leader of the Council has some extremist views about the way he believes N’Terra should be run, and he’s influencing others to follow him. When Octavia witnesses one of the Faloii—the indigenous people of Faloiv—attacked in front of her in the dark of night, she knows the Council is hiding something. They are living in separate worlds on a shared planet, and their fragile peace may soon turn into an all-out war.

With the help of Rondo, a quiet boy in class with a skill for hacking, and her inquisitive best friend, Alma, Octavia is set on a collision course to discover the secrets behind the history she’s been taught, the science she’s lived by, and the truth about her family.

448 pages, ebook

First published January 2, 2018

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About the author

Olivia A. Cole

11 books316 followers
Olivia Cole is an author and blogger from Louisville, Kentucky. She spent eight years in Chicago and two in South Florida before finding her way back home. She is the author of PANTHER IN THE HIVE and its sequel, THE ROOSTER’S GARDEN, as well as her latest young adult series, A CONSPIRACY OF STARS and its sequel AN ANATOMY OF BEASTS. She is on the Creative Writing faculty at the Kentucky Governor’s School for the Arts and is the founder of the sci-fi art show for young Kentucky women, KINDRED: MAKING SPACE IN SPACE.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 422 reviews
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,945 reviews291k followers
January 4, 2018
Is this how humans got ourselves into this mess? By believing that we have as much right to this planet as the Faloii? Do we think we own the galaxy?

3 1/2 stars. I really think that love for certain books can depend on the time when you read them. There would probably be times when A Conspiracy of Stars would be too slow-moving for me. Because, honestly, it is a very slow climb; a gradually painted picture of a fascinating concept, with later chapters containing enough action to just about make up for the earlier pacing.

Thankfully, I read this book on vacation. There was no rush; no demand I read it within a certain time. I was able to enjoy the book's pacing in a way I otherwise may not have. It is sometimes hard to commit to a slow book when real life pressures give us so little time to read. But I am so glad I made the effort with this.

A Conspiracy of Stars reminded me of Avatar or, if you remember it, Ferngully: The Last Rainforest. It imagines human settlers crashing on a planet called Faloiv, setting up a laboratory called N'Terra, and experimenting on the native animals, with obvious nods to the colonialism we know. The indigenous people - the Faloii - live out in the Faloiv wilderness but, as Octavia is about to discover, the actions of the human settlers, the secrets they are keeping and the vows they are breaking, could lead to a catastrophic war.

There is a strong focus on nature and animals, with the latter being sometimes terrifying and sometimes heartbreaking. Some of the heavy descriptions of Faloiv wildlife bogs down the first part of the book, as Octavia and friends (who were born on Faloiv) take part in lab internships and learn a lot of facts along with the reader.

The pacing picks up when Octavia begins to discover that she can hear voices or get a sense of something that no one else seems to hear or feel. And it picks up once again later when Octavia starts to discover how deep the shit is. I especially liked that the author creates such a strong friendship dynamic between Octavia and her friends, putting emphasis on friendship above all else. A romance develops but it is not central to the story, and it rises organically out of a friendship.

The society Cole imagines seems at least relatively diverse. All of the major characters are dark-skinned and, unless it's a grammatical error (which has happened to me before), Rondo has two dads. Most other characters are not given physical descriptions, though some are described as "pale" or have names suggesting diversity (Dr Wong, for example).

So yes, it does take a while to get going, lingering on dense descriptions that may not all have been necessary, but I personally thought it was worth it. Cole considers issues of colonialism, imperialism and the moral questions that come with scientific discovery. And, slow as it may be, that certainly cannot be said for the later chapters that explode with action and reveals.

It is impossible to look away as the novel draws to a dramatic close and you can count me on board for the sequel!

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Profile Image for Yusra  ✨.
249 reviews512 followers
April 14, 2018
4/4.5 stars ✨

Woah. Firstly, I’m going to reconsider the sci-fi genre because this is the second book that I’ve really enjoyed, the first being The Diabolic .
But I’m not going to say they are similar; A Conspiracy of Stars is its own definition of spectacular. 💫
When the Origin Planet became unhabitable, five hundred passengers boarded the Vagantaur and arrived at Faloiv. The landing at the surface caused the spacecraft to ruin, and humans were forced to negotiate with the locals of that planet, the Faloii. Rules were set out, compounds were created, and science discoveries began.

Octavia is the daughter of two scientists, both talented in their field at the Mammalian Compound. It has been her dream since she was young to become a whitecoat like them, and make discoveries for the planet.

When rumours swirl of internships being offered to the students, she is overjoyed. Until she encounters a native animal of the planet, a philax, being shot dead after a rage. In turn, she too is affected by the death of the animal, and nothing will ever be the same.
When she witnesses the kidnapping of one of the native Faloii, she realizes that perhaps nothing should be the same.
Oh, I had so many theories! Most proved wrong but it was, once again, an unraveling of something so wonderful and different. 😊
The main issue I had with this book was the pace; it was a reveal of a bigger picture that took a long time to show itself. But, trust me, the action-packed ending will make up for whatever is missing at the beginning! It’s not like I was bored out of my mind either; you know there is a bigger picture awaiting.
I personally found this to be a really original book too (but maybe that’s just because I don’t read sci-fi); somewhat related to Avatar but since I watched that when I was little, there’s a meager recollection. The Faloii have the ability to connect with everything in the planet, and their entire concept was so intriguing.
I’d say the only reason this wasn’t a five star read was both the pace and the ROMANCE. Oh my. The romance was so unnecessary and just ruined so much for me. It was a literal case of “instant love” and AHASFDSKJFSHGSF I want to scream. 😤
Rondo was just, there? I guess? Like yes, thank you for your hacking, but please leave.

This was so complex and beautiful, and what I really need is the next book. The ending will leave you confused, jarred, heavy and oh my god, READ THIS BOOK Y’ALL.
I loved all the scientific bits here and there and the general “pristine” feel to the book. It was neat (until the end) and keeps you on the edge !
Sorry for this quick and messy review, but if you have any sci-fi reccomendations, please comment below ! 😇

also I’ve never tried chipotle
okay what the heck did I just read
my brain is spinning

RTC when I can function? again? or at least form some thoughts?
Profile Image for Laura.
425 reviews1,239 followers
December 20, 2017
I have a love/hate relationship with the classic slow build. Mainly because I usually get too bored. But there are the cases where the slowness pays off in an explosive way. That ends up being the case here. Especially in the last chapter. So this is worth the read. However..suffering through that slowness was a bit of a pain until the world we were in came to life. I get it, though. If this didn't come together in a slower way, the world-building would've been a full on info-dump. And we all know how frustrating that can be.

Sixteen year old Octavia lives on Faloiv, a planet that became their home when the Origin Planet became uninhabitable. She was born here, but her parents came from the Origin Planet. They are scientists and are both on the 12 person Council that makes decisions about N'Terra (the structure housing the labs and homes of their people). This makes Octavia a bit more in the know than any of the other kids she's in school with, as she has access to other compounds, etc. Oddly enough, this planet isn't necessarily that livable because people need to wear skinsuits to be outside N'Terra, but that's why they need to do so much research on the wildlife to see how they survive here. In the labs, research is done on the plants and animals of Faloiv..as they try to learn more about the planet they're inhabiting. This is the way it's been for the over forty years they've been on the planet. Even Octavia's grandmother was a scientist until she was lost in the jungle five years ago on a scavenging trip. It broke her parents.

News comes that the labs will finally welcome interns, even though there have always been strict rules of no one under 21 being allowed in. Octavia is thrilled. With the inside access, eventually it becomes clear that everything isn't what it seems. Too many unexplainable things begin to add up. There are secrets being kept from the public, Octavia's parents are at odds and Octavia is hearing things no one else seems to hear. The mysteries add up as the pacing ramps up a bit. And once it starts getting a bit more clear as to what is going on, the action takes off from there.

There are indigenous people on the planet, the Faloii. This is where the colonialism and imperialism comes into play. Settlers going to a foreign land and taking it for their own with no respect for the nation's people or wildlife. Sound familiar? Of course, this is a science fiction version of this story. Although, I'm sure it'll be fascinating to see how this all plays out.

I enjoyed Octavia's relationships throughout the story..not just her wonderful friendships with Rondo and Alma, but also her parents. I did see similarities to Avatar. It is hard not to. I'm looking forward to reading the sequel.
Profile Image for Sarah Elizabeth.
4,688 reviews1,266 followers
October 29, 2017
(I received an advance copy of this book for free. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.)

This was a YA sci-fi story, set on another planet.

I liked Octavia, and I liked how she kept searching for the truth even when things got hard. I also liked her friends Rondo and Alma, and I liked how they helped her even when she sounded a bit crazy.

The storyline in this was about Octavia finding that things were not as they seemed on the planet where she lived. She had been born on the planet, whilst her parents and other elders had been born on the ‘origin planet’ and had travelled to Faloiv when the ‘origin planet’ became inhospitable. There were several mysteries surrounding what was going on and what the humans were doing with the native people and animals, and the world building was pretty good. The pace was also fairly consistent throughout the book, and it held my interest fairly well.

The ending to this had plenty of action, and just enough of a twist at the end to make me want to read the next book.
7 out of 10
Profile Image for Angelica.
805 reviews1,066 followers
January 3, 2018
I think that this is my favorite book I've read this year.

Admittedly, it's the only book I've read so far this year, but no matter. For being the first book I read in 2018, this has set the bar fairly high.  And to think that I felt a bit hesitant when picking this book up after seeing some low rated reviews. But then I realized that the problem was less about the story and more about personal preferences.

The main problem with this book is that is slow. Like, extremely, I almost quit part way through, kind of slow. It didn't begin to pick up until around the halfway point where everything was finally starting to come together.

Cole sets up the world for us and fills it with interesting creatures (whose names I don't remember) and scientific things (that I won't even try to explain). She also sets up a mystery and a heavily guarded secret that takes time to weave and then time to unravel.

If you aren't a fan of slow building plots and slow-burning romances, then this book is not for you. Just stop right here and turn back because after reading some reviews,  this seems to have been the problem for most people who've read it.

But, if you are like me, and don't mind the slow build, then I totally recommend because the pay off was well worth it. After the story managed to get itself going it was highspeed rollercoaster that didn't stop until the last page.

My favorite books are ones that are heavily character driven, and this one certainly was. Cole took time to develop each and every one of them, giving them each a drive and a purpose and decorating them with characteristics particular to each one. She did this not only to the main cast, but also all the minor characters that appear throughout, a thing that definitely made them all stand out.

Another thing is that all the major characters are people of color! I honestly could not believe it. You know that there is a problem in the world when you go into a book and are surprised to find that the main heroine isn't white. I had to stop myself and wonder what the world had come to that I, a person of color, had gone into this YA sci-fi novel picturing a white heroine until it was proven otherwise when Octavia described her self as having dark brown skin and cornrows in her hair.

And it wasn't just racially ambiguous people with "light brown skin" or tans or foreign-looking faces. No. The girl who is considered to be "the prettiest girl on Faloiv" has "deeply black" skin and dreadlocks. And another girl, Alma, proudly sports an afro and is described regal because of it. That, my friends, is an incredible thing. We rarely see this kind of representation in YA, and rarely are they considered beautiful. So, thank you, Oliva A. Cole. Thank you very much. For that alone, you deserve a star.

The writing style is also one that is fluid and easy to read. You can tell that Cole is a natural born storyteller, and the story itself is one that is handled very well.  The book shows us the damaging effects of colonialism and the capacity of human greed and entitlement. It also focuses on the moral side of science showing us that just because we can, doesn't mean we should.

Overall, this book is solid. I totally recommend for those of you who don't mind the pace. I'm looking forward to the next book in this duology.

**I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.**
Profile Image for Anca.
359 reviews19 followers
December 28, 2018

Octavia wants nothing more than to become a whitecoat, just like her parents, and study the natural wonders of Faloiv, the planet humans moved to when the origin planet died.
When she finally gets her change and comes in contact with her first Faloiv animal, she notices something is different about her...

This story was unique (although I did get some Avatar and Jurrasic Park vibes here and there) and interesting. Octavia was a great heroine and the plot line was incredibly fascinating.
How would we, humans, react to having to move of Earth and onto a new planet, already inhabited by a different species? How would we deal with the Faloii? Would we study the native flora and fauna? Would we survive?
Very interesting, to say the least.

The story starts of a little slow though and it didn't grip me as much as I was expecting...
I really enjoyed it, but I kept finding myself putting this down, without the desire to pick it back up again.
Normally, I would finish a book like this in about 2 days, max, but this took me much longer, because I made up a lot of excuses not to read it.
It only really picked up and sucked me in at the last 75 pages or so and for a 400+ page book, that is a little late in the game.

And the romance... it's not annoying, cringeworthy, out of the blue or antything like that, but... it wasn't necessary.
The story was fine without it and I felt it took away from the main story more than it added to it.
Normally, I like a little romance in my books, but this time I wish the author skipped it.

The ending was what I expected, but the cliffhanger was well done and will make everybody who reads this want to pick up the second book :)

Edit: Yes, I'm editing my rating to 2.5*, maybe even 2*...
I'm doing a group read about this book and that means I have to answer questions about it.
Normally, I really enjoy discussing a book this indept, but for this book, I've noticed even though it's only been a couple of weeks since I've finished it, I remember almost no details and my overall thought are that the premise was really interesting, but I just didn't like the execution... shame...
Profile Image for Lisa.
827 reviews480 followers
September 17, 2017
Everything about this book - the characters, plot and mystery - are all very well thought out and carefully constructed. I was definitely compelled to read and continue unraveling the secrets of Faloiv (<- no idea how to pronounce this!).

I was so impressed with the world-building here - and I loved Octavia's curiosity and love of her planet. The science fiction aspects like skinsuits and all the species of animals added depth and interest to the story. I deeply wish the cover conveyed the array of colors and flora and fauna present in the book - I think the flowers shown on the background don't do enough to convey the imaginative nature of the book.

Make sure you pick this up on in the new year!
Profile Image for Sara Saif.
543 reviews220 followers
April 9, 2018

I never thought I would get to relive Avatar after 9 years but this book was essentially a similarly fantastic, exotic and colorful experience. Faloiv strongly reminded me of Pandora, the strangely beautiful life form there, the humans’ attempts to colonize it. I found the book intensely fascinating.

Books set on other planets always attract me, I absolutely love the premise and A Conspiracy of Stars was as good as they come. It was mesmerizing from start to finish and incredibly well crafted.

I feel like comparing it to another sci-fi futuristic fantasy book I read recently called Gods, Monsters and the Lucky Peach. What was wrong with that book, for me, was that it got more and more confusing the more it moved forward. The terminology did not make sense and the book did not stop to explain it. The technological aspects were heavy and they made the book tedious. It was short too, so that might be part of the reason as well but I don’t think so.
Point is, if you want the reader to be more interested in the science, take a breath, slow it down a bit and explain. Please. A Conspiracy of Stars was excellent because even though at first, it kinda felt the same, I began to get a grip on things pretty quickly and the science part became enticing.

“And we’re supposed to be clever, we students of N’Terra, children of whitecoats. It is our skills that will determine our survival. The founders of N’Terra had not meant for us to stay forever: Faloiv was the only habitable world their scouts had time to chart before evacuating the Origin Planet, and a meteor to the Vagantur’s hull during descent damaged the ship’s power cell irreparably. What had originally been envisioned as a brief stop on the hunt for a more survival-friendly sphere had become the final destination of the Vagantur. The original Council tried for twenty years to fix the ship before they gave up. Now here we are.”

Summary: (No Spoilers)
The book is set on a planet called Faloiv, where a human colonization spaceship called the Vagantur crash lands with 500 colonists, bearing at least 300 scientists. The humans arrive there after what was presumably an apocalyptic event on Earth? (this wasn’t clear) and in their hurry to chart the closest habitable planet, they find Faloiv. They strike a deal with the local dominant species called Faloii, a sort of Terms and Conditions of living on their planet and then set themselves up. Forty years later, their Town is a collection of domes, all of which are research domes on the life forms of the planet, thanks to the majority of the population being scientists and the tradition of scientific research being passed down to the younger generations. The settlement is run by a council of twelve, and lately with the election of a new head, drastic measures are being taken.

So this isn’t a standalone though I both wish it was and am happy that it isn’t. There’s much that needs to be known. The cliffhanger was ah-mazing and I actually seriously was upset that it ended there.

Profile Image for Melissa Souza.
185 reviews50 followers
January 14, 2018
3.5 stars!!!

Going into this book, I really didn't know what to expect. But from the blurb, I was pretty excited from the brief synopsis. I was looking for something which was a departure from the usual YA fantasy and I would say this novel did deliver in that regard. However, there were some aspects of the novel which could have been explored further. Let me explain this more fully.

Firstly, the worldbuilding was very immersive. The author has come up with a whole world filled with such unique creatures and living organisms that I actually felt as though I was on another planet. The descriptions, history as well as imagery was detailed, vivid and engaging. I would say it was pure escapism and I applaud the author for this. Plus, there was consistency in details which I also appreciated.

Secondly, the MC Octavia was a pretty awesome character. I loved her relationship with her friends and family. Even the romance element was handled in a realistic manner. It was the slow burn kind which I like. I also liked how her character developed as she learns about her family's secrets and deals with her own vulnerabilities. From the outset, we can see how fragile her family situation is and her keenness to emulate her parents. She longs for their acceptance but as the story progresses, she learns that things are not as they seem. While at the same time, she learns to forge her own path. I liked how the author fleshed out her character in the sense we see her resilience, level-headedness and independence. In addition, I also liked how the minor characters played a pivotal role in the overall storyline. This gave the novel a captivating and richer context.

Thirdly, I really enjoyed the premise of the novel. The idea of imperialism where one civilization seeks to dominate another made for an interesting read. Moreover, the elements of environmentalism along with caring for nature gave the storyline an even deeper message as it parallels with many issues our current world faces. I also liked reading about the abilities of the Faloii and how every species is interconnected. The only downside to this is that we get more of a glimpse into how the animals behave but not much of the native people. This was sorely disappointing as it left some plot points disjointed and underdeveloped.

Overall, the story was a rather pleasant read. But, I did feel like the novel dragged on in some places with unnecessary details. There's a bit of action in the later chapters but from what I can guess, the story is more character driven with emphasis placed on building a solid foundation for the series. With this being said, the sequel should be pretty interesting and I look forward to reading it.
Profile Image for Vicky Again.
587 reviews819 followers
April 16, 2018
5 stars

Octavia's dream is to follow her parents' footsteps in becoming one of the esteemed whitecoats--the highest rank of scientists on the planet of Faloiv. She would be able to study the jungle's exotic plants and animals that are protected through the Council of N'Terra.

When the opportunity for an internship opens, Octavia is overjoyed until she learns of the extremist views of the new Council leader. He's growing in power, and when Octavia witnesses one of the indigenous people of Faloiv, the Faloii, being attacked by her kind, she knows there's more behind the Council than one might expect.

The shared planet has become a breeding down for political tension--one that might lead to a devastating war. With Rondo, a hacker boy she befriends, and Alma, her best friend, Octavia is going to discover the secrets behind their history, one that will reveal secrets about her own family as well.

This book was just so perfect. It was so well-written and balanced that I was astounded by the thought and skill that went into writing this book.

Although it was executed perfectly, I do know this won't be the book for some people. I personally enjoyed it very, very much, but others will feel differently.

This is a sci-fi novel that explores relationships between humans and other sentient beings on a foreign planet, the political relationships in a colony, imperialism, humane procedures for science, and many more subjects atypical to your regular fast-paced romantic space opera.

The pacing is definitely a lot slower at first, building the world and how people got there in a steady way without making it feel like an info dump. Eventually, at the end, things get a lot more heated and the novel ends almost abruptly with a big cliffhanger.

This novel is definitely partly a mystery, a large portion of it dedicated to solving the secrets the Council of N'Terra is hiding and what is happening to Octavia. She and her friends discovering the truth behind the lies helps reel you into the story, even if you're the type who likes a fast paced thriller.

I loved the characters--none of them seemed overly irrational and although all sorts of things were happening to Octavia, she was able to treat it with a level head. Her friends were all also extremely kind and helpful, even when they had their rough patches.

I also really liked the romance between Octavia and Rondo. It was very low-key and not plot inducing, which was very refreshing to read. They had a good relationship with respect and kindness (gasp!).

Also, the sheer amount of diversity in this novel was fantastic! A ton of people, including our MC, are people of color and it's generally embraced. This was really nice to see in the novel.

The actual plot and background to the novel was really interesting.I enjoyed learning about how they landed on Earth (with a spaceship away from the "Origin Planet") and how they wanted to leave.

The political subplot was super intriguing as well, both with the power dynamics and social hierarchy between the green and whitecoats and the science-focus on the planet as well as the relationship between humans and Faloii and the imperialism over the Faloii.

The plot twists were all adequately expected, although it was still a surprise to me because I doubted the validity of my assumptions.

All in all, this was a very enjoyable novel and I would recommend it to lovers of science fiction and mystery! Even though you might not like slower paced novels, I think this is definitely worth the read! I'll definitely be picking up the sequel.

Don't forget, you can preorder A Conspiracy of Stars now or find it at any major bookseller on January 2nd!

Thank you to Harper Teen and Edelweiss for providing me with a digital review copy!

Immediately after reading reaction:
WOW this is my kind of book. Politics, scientific discoveries, new species--I absolutely loved reading it! And that cliffhanger--eek! Full review to come!

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Vicky Who Reads
Profile Image for Karen.
497 reviews94 followers
March 30, 2021

A CONSPIRACY OF STARS takes place on a distant planet called Faloiv. Octavia’s grandparents and other scientists have crash landed on. The big job on this planet is to become a ‘whitecoat’ scientist, studying the animals of Faloiv. Everything changes when Olivia witnesses a native Falvoii being attacked and captured by the scientists in the council of N’Terra. With a little help from her friends, Octavia must learns the truth about what her family and other scientists on the planet are actually trying to accomplish.

This book starts with Octavia living her life. We learn about the place she lives as the story progresses. Octavia is somewhat sheltered by her parents, the school, and even her living quarters. The world starts small for Octavia and then as she learns more the world opens up for Octavia and the reader.

This world is completely unconventional in it’s eco-structure and natural habitats. The native people living on this planet are Faloii, they look different and they have freakish spots on their skin that moves. They don’t communicate only verbally and that’s part of what makes them, and this planet, so unusual.

We don’t see much of the outside world. The story really focuses on the settlement that Octavia lives in, N’Terra. N’Terra is divided into sections depending on what job people have and what the scientists in each section are studying. This settlement is primarily academic as the first settlers were mostly composed of scientists. Where they were headed and what their actual goal was in traveling is not covered in the story.

The creatures of this world are all extraordinary in their appearance and skill set. Octavia and her classmates only know the creatures of this world and even they find them fascinating and worthy of study. People can’t actually survive in the wilds of Faloiv, so understanding how the animals do is the key to living on this planet. Studying the native species on Faloiv is the primary focus of the people living in N’Terra. Only through science can they learn how to live better on this rough planet.

The main focus of this story is friendship as Octavia tries to understand something she witnesses and the coldness in her parents marriage. All of the characters are important to move this story forward. Octavia does have a romantic interest in this story in one of her classmates named Rhondo. I liked the slow build of these two and they eventually progress into a partnership of necessity as they are thrust into danger.

I really enjoyed this story. Even though some of seemed really far out. I would highly recommend it to science fiction fans. It brings up some good questions about how far we should really go in the name of science. There were a lot of unanswered questions but I think this story ended in a really good place. I will definitely be reading the sequel.
Profile Image for Danielle (Life of a Literary Nerd).
1,146 reviews248 followers
January 2, 2018
“But home isn’t just a memory, I’ve decided: it’s knowledge, knowing where you belong and where you fit in.”

This was a solid sci-fi story that combined all the things I want to see in my science fiction reads: compelling research, characters I connect with, and an intriguing mystery. A Conspiracy of Stars follows aspiring scientist Octavia, who’s desperate to follow in the steps of her parents and discover the secrets of Faloiv. But Octavia soon realises the planet isn’t the only thing hiding secrets, and the ruling Council of N’Terra might have a few of their own.

Thing I Liked
The cover is absolutely stunning and is on my list for covers of the year. It's honestly what made me want to pick up this book.

I thought it was really cool that all the research was animal-based. Learning how the animals interact with their surroundings and other animals, and using that to make advancements was cool.

I really appreciate that we get a large cast of diverse characters. Octavia, her parents, Alma, Rondo, and Yaya are all black. And I loved that we get to see so many black scientists represented in the story.

Things I Didn’t Like
I needed to know more about Faloiv and the Faloii people. I know a big part of this story is Octavia discovering the Council's secrets herself, but I felt a disconnect to what was happening because I largely had no clue how or why things were happening. I like the world building of the legacy of the compounds and the Council, I just needed more from the other side.

This was such a quick read and I was so invested I didn’t want to put the book down. I’m definitely looking forward to getting some answers in book tw0, and I can’t wait to pick it up.

I received a copy of the book from Katherine Tegen Books via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for ♠ TABI⁷ ♠.
Author 15 books478 followers
Want to read
June 14, 2019
for some reason I was stuck on a coverless, lacking-publication-date version of this and now I am upset because this came out a year ago and I was completely unaware
Profile Image for rachel, x.
1,691 reviews856 followers
February 21, 2023
4.25 ★

underrated science fiction that grabbed me by the throat and didn't let go

Trigger warnings for .

Representation: Octavia (mc), Alma (sc) & various scs are Black/BIPOC.

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Profile Image for Madison.
1,065 reviews58 followers
November 6, 2017
Here there be monsters. A Conspiracy Of Stars is a truly imaginative novel. Beautifully crafted, this book draws the reader into another world, or rather planet, that is entirely different from our own. Yet is seems that the troubles of humanity follow, no matter how exotic the location.

Octavia's dream is to become a whitecoat like her mother and father, eminent scientists who study the diverse animals and plants of Faloiv. When she and her fellow classmates are offered internships well before expected, they are all excited. But things are changing within their settlement of N'Terra. There are murmurs of discontent, anger towards the indigenous people of Faloiv, the Faloii, and the head of the Council seems to be driving it all. As Octavia and her friends uncover more of the secrets of her home, she begins to experience her own strange changes - it seems she is far more tied to the planet of Faloiv and all its inhabitants than she ever could have dreamed possible.

The world created in A Conspiracy of Star is so detailed. The creatures, the plant life, the Faloii are all so different and creative. The author must surely have a sketchbook or workbook with all these details fully drafted out to bring them to life so clearly within the writing.

I loved the writing style. The book is centred around an entirely new planet, ecosystem, and social system, yet there is no information overload. Instead, the reader is placed immediately into Octavia's life, and slowly, as more details are revealed, it becomes clearer about who she is, where she lives, and the amazing creations with which she is surrounded. This meant that at first I wasn't entirely sure about all the details but it left me wanting to read more, quickly, to find out everything - from how this group of N'Terran's came to be on Faloiv, to their available technology and the secrets that have been hidden from Octavia. The publisher has categories this book under monsters, but I'm not so sure this refers to the amazingly diverse animals that feature in the story.

The story and characters are all very authentic. Octavia and her classmates have all lived on Faloiv their whole life. They know nothing else. They know so much about the new creatures and plants of Faloiv, but not a lot about the Origin Planet (Earth). And words, like tortoises or cornrows or Afros, which have somehow remained in their language base have now lost their meaning. I liked how these little details were included as a reminder of the difference between the children born within N'Terra and those older inhabitants who journeyed from the Origin Planet. And it is this divide from which the trouble stirs.

The romance in A Conspiracy of Stars starts as a newly developing crush and slowly deepens into a close friendship. Of course, this is all spread through the action and twists of the plot and so the romance does not take the focus. It will be very interesting to see how the romance continues in the second book. There are also many other relationships that feature in A Conspiracy of Stars, friendship, parent-daughter, student-teacher, and rival, that all become more complex as more secrets are revealed.

This series is a planned duology. It is hugely exciting that the story will be concluded within just two books, keeping the story fast-paced and totally engaging. The exciting and climatic ending of this first book has me very eager to read the final novel. The is still so much of Faloiv to be discovered. A Conspiracy of Stars is a beautifully crafted science-fiction novel, that uniquely stretches the boundaries of what we think of about other planets, animals, and human interactions.

The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.

Find more reviews, reading age guides, content advisory, and recommendations on my blog Madison's Library.
Profile Image for Shannon (It Starts At Midnight).
1,115 reviews1,010 followers
January 8, 2018
You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight

Oh yay, my mind has the mixed feelings again! Let's get right to it with yet another list, hmm?

The Things I Liked:

It's on another planet and that is always awesome. I mean, who doesn't want to go venture to literal worlds unknown!? And I love when a planet harbors secrets, and this one totally does. Especially in relation to the Faloii people, who are native to the planet.
There is a lot of exploration, too. Basically that seems to be the main goal of the humans on this planet- to figure out the natural habitat and such. Of course, it is more complex than that, but there's the basics for you. The children are trained to literally spend their lives studying the world around them, and like I said before, there is much more than meets the eye. I enjoyed watching this unfold, and having our young characters figure this out.
Amazing friendships and working together made me smile. While Octavia has a love interest, she is also in an amazing friendship. I like the balance, and I like how even though a lot of the students have seen themselves as competition in the past, they are awesome at working together to figure out some of the shady stuff that might be going on.

The Things I Didn't:

The biggest issue I had was that it just seemed to drag at times. There was some action, especially toward the end, but for a long time things felt like they could have moved a bit quicker.
I did have a bit of a feeling that I knew where certain plot points were headed. Again, that makes it harder for me to be as excited about reading as I would be if I wasn't sure of where things were headed.

Will I Read the Sequel: Possibly. I mean, it'll be on my TBR, at least.

Bottom Line: While I liked a great many things about this book, the predictability and pacing made it a bit hard for me to be fully invested.
Profile Image for Rachel.
Author 4 books147 followers
February 22, 2020
A Conspiracy of Stars was an interesting book about a group of scientists and their families who left on an exploration mission to discover new planets. They had already found one, Faloiv, and planned to expand from there. However their ship malfunctioned and they were unable to leave from Faloiv. Stranded on this foreign planet, they made a new society and studied the indigenous flora and fauna in order to survive it.

I love, love, loved the concept and world-building on this. It felt like a slightly different twist on the universe exploration theme, having this group of survivors stuck on a foreign planet, not wanting to be there. Octavia is our lead character on this story, the daughter of two scientists. When a new leader to the council is elected, she and her other peers are recruited into an early internship program where they begin to discover the secrets of Faloiv.

This sounds like the concept for a really good book, and it was. Olivia Cole has an incredible easy and accessible type of writing with smooth flow. She built an interesting and fully-fleshed out world with unique creatures, climate, and landscape. You think for all that is should have been a five star read, right?

I'm really sad it wasn't. While I love that Octavia and most of the other players in this are POC, and feature girls in STEM, there isn't anything else unique about them. Octavia is a really safe character. She doesn't get outraged, most of her rule-breaking results in little or no consequences, and her friends support her without question. I wanted one of them to say, "No, we're not doing this!" Because even Ron and Hermione called Harry out on his BS sometimes.

Octavia also falls into "chosen one" category and much of the tension is created from, "We can't explain that right now," which is my least favorite way to create intrigue. Having Octavia as the sole narrator also limited some of the drama. Exciting things did happen! But she was either gone or passed out when they did, so we found out about them when her friends explained it later.

I don't now that I will continue with this series, but because of the quality of Olivia Cole's writing and world-building, I will definitely be looking for her next book!

Profile Image for Glory.
350 reviews49 followers
February 10, 2018
We came here to start over, not to make the same mistakes...

А получилось как всегда.
Это было красиво. Да, "Аватар" чувствуется, но авторской крутоты тоже немало.
Profile Image for USOM.
2,329 reviews193 followers
April 3, 2019
So it's been terribly difficult to write a review about A Conspiracy of Stars because there isn't anything I didn't love. This is one of the most unique science fiction stories I have read in a long time, not only for its content, but it's amazing world building. If you like zoology and fiction, then you absolutely need to check out A Conspiracy of Stars.

But besides that, A Conspiracy of Stars is incredibly rich in themes - free will, science versus emotions, and respect. One of my favorite was the different ways the characters in the book view the native population, the Faloiv. It's almost equal parts respect, mixed with some fear, and what Cole does well is communicate the varying feelings of the community.

full review: https://utopia-state-of-mind.com/revi...
Profile Image for Nara.
937 reviews124 followers
June 27, 2019
It seems like 2018 may be a great year for young adult novels, because it seems like almost every one I've read so far has been absolutely fantastic. A Conspiracy of Stars grabbed me initially because of the cover, and to be honest, I just went for it without reading the blurb at all. I even thought it was a high fantasy, and was pleasantly surprised to be reading a wonderful pure science fiction.

The novel seems to be possibly set in the far off future (with the people being called N'Terrans- is this short for New Terrans i.e. New Earth? I don't know). It's quite heavy on the science aspect of science fiction, and probably not for those who are not somewhat versed in science fiction, or have at least read some dystopians or something.

I think one of the main positives of the book is that the pacing is excellent. The "conspiracy" was so interesting to follow and made it extremely difficult to put the book down. It was filled with enough twists that as soon as you think, okay time to take a break, BAM comes the next twist, and I ended up reading the book basically in one sitting. There was a romance subplot which was cute and thankfully did not distract from the main storyline. There were some suspiciously convenient aspects of the plot e.g. how the love interest and main co-conspirator of the narrator is also apparently a genius hacker, but on the whole I felt the plot was quite well thought out. I especially liked how open the relationships were between the protagonist and her friends.

All in all, an excellent novel from Cole. I will very much be looking forward to seeing what else she has to offer in the future.

Overall: 9/10
Plot: 4/5
Romance: 4.5/5
Writing: 4.5/5
World Building: 4/5
Characters: 4/5
Cover: 4/5
Profile Image for Stella ☆Paper Wings☆.
520 reviews46 followers
April 22, 2018
2.5 stars
Avatar is my favorite movie. When I heard this book reminded people of Avatar, I had to read it. Honestly, I probably would have been happy if this book was exactly like the movie. But Avatar has guns, airplanes, horses, robots, and dragons. A Conspiracy of Stars has, um, mysterious scientists?

I totally appreciate what this book is trying to do, but it's just so boring. I think if I'd been in a different state of mind when I read this, I might have enjoyed it more, but I wasn't in the mood for layers of intrigue and mild suspense. There is seriously no action in the whole first half of the book.

I don't need action to keep me interested in a story. But when I'm stuck reading boring character interactions and cringy romantic tension in between loads of info-dumping, I start to wish the Kdhisysjdhejdikhhekdi creature would just break out of its cage and eat them all!

The info-dumping does pay off, though. The Faloiv world is very rich and interesting. The Faloii are incredibly interesting, and I really wanted to know more about their world. I just wish Octavia had ventured into that world sooner than halfway through the book!!

And the message was almost enough to make me love this book. This is what I love aboout science fiction: there's almost always a really powerful message. (In books anyway.) I loved how Octavia felt like animals were people, too, which really makes the reader feel for them when they're

The last few scenes really did pick up, and they're making me hesitate on my rating of this book. I really want to round up to 3 stars because the concept, message, and world were really good, but the execution (plot, characterization) was really... not. For that reason, I think my GR rating for this is going to be 2 stars. And as much as I want to give the sequel a chance, there are too many sequels to read that have much better first books. Thank you.
Profile Image for Shealea.
430 reviews1,193 followers
October 1, 2020
[ Trigger/Content warnings & on-page representation ]

🌻 Science, research, and women in STEM
🌻 Knowledge is power, and science is political
🌻 Vividly described setting and perfectly fitting ambiance
🌻 Mysteries, conspiracies, and the unveiling of secrets
🌻 Family relationships and friendship dynamics

But on the downside:
🌻 Disconnect with the characters and lukewarm feelings towards the romance
🌻 Sluggishly paced story that ends on a well-written cliffhanger
🌻 Questionable use or portrayal of Indigenous culture

Final verdict: Recommended with caution*

A Conspiracy of Stars is a fascinating sci-fi story steeped with political tension, nods to imperialism, and inescapable moral questions that come with scientific discovery and the desire for societal progress. Admittedly, I have plenty of mixed feelings and reservations. However, although this book might not be universally liked, I do think that it has some merits to offer and that its story would greatly appeal to a very niche audience: soft and hardcore fans of this specific genre of science fiction. Nevertheless, whether you decide to give this one a try or not, I suggest examining its content – particularly its treatment and portrayal of indigenous people – with a grain of salt.

Read the full review on my blog.
January 31, 2018
I already need the second one. *throws hands up in the air*
This book is full of cliffhangers. Beware!
Profile Image for Stuti.
445 reviews71 followers
January 16, 2018
Read my review on the blog HERE.

Everyone and their grandma has seen Avatar (actually wait, I don’t think my grandmas have…), the James Cameron sci-fi movie about a white saviour dude who white-saves the indigenous people of a planet that humans are trying to study and colonise. A Conspiracy of Stars takes the same premise, but centres characters of colour in a narrative that promises to actually think about colonialism and its impacts—and there isn’t any white saviourism. Which is really all I ask for in my sci-fi.

“Why should they let us study them?” I say loudly, standing. “This is their planet. They don’t owe us anything. And they damn sure don’t owe us running experiments on them.”

The daughter of prestigious scientists, Octavia has always wanted to put on the white coat of a researcher and study the mammals in her colony, N’Terra, on the foreign planet of Faloiv. And when she and her friends are allowed to help in the mammal compound as a part of an internship, it seems she’s finally on the path to her dream. But N’Terra’s governing council is rife with disagreement about how they should study Faloiv’s life—particularly where the Faloii, the planet’s native people, are concerned. Octavia finds herself at the centre of the tenuous relations between the humans and the Faloii, and she must find out the Council’s plans before the planet’s peace shatters.

I mean, what’s not to like about this plot? Well… I knew beforehand that the book is slow to start, and that much is true. It’s well-told enough that I wasn’t bogged down by descriptions of Faloiv or Octavia’s research. But I’m just not totally convinced that the book needed to start where it did and build so slowly to the halfway point, which was when things really ratcheted up. That’s the only reason I’m docking a star off my rating. (The second half of the book, however, is fast-paced and has a jaw-dropping climactic sequence.)

“There’s more to the world than logic,” he says.
“Not in N’Terra.”

Faloiv is a lush, beautiful setting, and I was just as excited as Octavia for the research to begin because I so badly wanted to read about the wildlife of the planet. I wasn’t disappointed; if you’re into extinct megafauna, or animal behaviour in any way, the descriptions in this book will really enchant you. Of course, Octavia spends most of her time in the compound so there’s a lot of human politics too—which I find just as enjoyable. I can’t wait to read more about Faloiv.

No one knows, I think. But I will.

Octavia’s just the right kind of main character for a slow read with a creeping build-up. She’s observant and clever, and for once I can say that about a YA character without feeling like the author was simply trying to convince me of a character’s intelligence. She’s not without her faults—she can be annoyingly jealous, but considering the fiercely competitive environment that is a classroom full of scientists’ kids, that felt very natural. Also, it was so great to see how Octavia’s blackness is woven into her narrative. And regarding saviourism: since she’s a YA protag, of course there’s something special about Octavia, but that specialness is not exclusive to her and it’s never used to suggest that she‘s the absolute key to ‘saving’ the Faloii—the Faloii aren’t in need of saving.

The group of classmates that Octavia hangs out with were just as interesting as Octavia herself. There’s her best friend, Alma, the guy she sort of maybe has a crush on, Rondo, the joker Jaquot, and the beautiful, smart Yaya. All of them are people of colour, which I appreciated very much. And yes, they’re friends, but their dynamic is never oversimplified—there’s competition, awkwardness, and even moments when Octavia hides things from Alma. Octavia’s parents are also important characters, and while their absenteeism was a little annoying at times, I suppose that full-time research scientists have a lot on their hands.

…I realize Rondo has chosen the space next to me, and even though his leg is five inches from mine, I imagine I can feel the warmth of it.

Rondo and Octavia’s romance works very believably—it’s slow and awkward and often confusing to Octavia herself, which makes it feel very high school romance. Did I mention that it’s slow? We are in for the long haul on this one. But they’re sweet and adorable, and I’m totally on any train that’s people-of-colour-happy-together.

No comment [internal screaming]. I need the next book like, yesterday.

Do you want beautiful writing, a fascinating science fiction world, and compelling characters of colour? Look no further! Sign me up for the sequel.
Profile Image for Shelley.
5,125 reviews459 followers
December 27, 2017
*Source* Edelweiss
*Genre* YA, Science Fiction
*Rating* 3.5


A Conspiracy of Stars, by author Olivia A. Cole, is the first installment in the authors untitled duology. This is a work of pure science fiction/fantasy set on a planet called Faloiv where 40 years ago, a group of humans, including the protagonists own grandparents, left the Origin Planet for a new beginning. They ended crash landing on Faloiv and have been here ever since. They built a place called N'Terra to study and experiment on the local fauna and animal life. They built places like the Mammalian, Avian, Amphibian, and Aquatic compounds to continue their research.

*Review Posted @ Gizmos Reviews*


Profile Image for Amber (Ambee's Bookish Pages).
502 reviews56 followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
April 9, 2019
This the third time I’ve tried reading CONSPIRACY OF THE STARS and I really just struggled to get into it. I love how the MC is a POC and I love the whole concept of terraforming another planet, government hijinks and deadly secrets. But I also hate insta-love and I feel like Octavia gets butterflies and all flustered and can’t stop thinking about Kondo from the moment she meets him.

The concept of the book was cool and I was super excited but this one really wasn’t for me sadly.

DNF @ 30%
Profile Image for Nicki Chapelway.
Author 25 books229 followers
Want to read
July 19, 2018
Thanks to this strange anomaly known as library due dates, I'm putting this book aside for a while. But I plan on trying it again... someday.
Profile Image for Kara.
539 reviews168 followers
December 18, 2017
While I was reading A Conspiracy of Stars I was thinking that this was one of the most inventive and original books I have ever read. The world-building is bizarre, yet totally works, and though I don’t have all the answers, I am thrilled to find them all out in the next book. This wasn’t a perfect book, but it was mind-blowingly entertaining, and I loved every minute of it.

A Conspiracy of Stars starts as Octavia and her father are driving through the compound on an alien planet, speeding through a jungle filled with exotic animal species pulled from the author’s brilliant imagination. They are humans, mostly scientists and engineers, who have left their origin planet on a ship that had a mechanical failure and had to stop on Faloiv, the only habitable planet nearby. For forty years, they’ve built a civilization built upon research and studying the animal and plant species of the planet they now live on. Octavia’s father is a white coat in the Mammalian facility, as is her mother. Octavia’s in school, studying, and when she is of age, she will also become one of them, but then something happens, and the new head of the Council decides to let interns into the Zoo, effectively ending their education and beginning their careers as scientists. But something is not right with Octavia. She can feel and sense the way the animals and plants are thinking and feeling, and she starts to investigate why and what her parents are not telling her, because they clearly know something. The other thing important to mention is that Faloiv was already inhabited by another human-like species–the Faloii. They are much taller than humans, they have spots, and the ability to blend in with their surroundings by changing the color of their skin as needed.

What I loved most about this novel is the way the author brought the planet of Faloiv to life. There were so many different life forms and ecosystems, and I truly felt like I was there. The author described their appearance in a way that was easy for me to envision in my mind, and though I’m sure my mental images were not the same as hers, they completely worked.

The book is a bit of a slow starter, but I was so interested in the world-building and the mystery of what was going on with Octavia, that I didn’t mind the delay in action. I never found it boring.

So what didn’t work for me? Well, for one, I wasn’t as attached to the characters as I would have liked to be. I found them a bit generic, and I was looking for a little more depth. The romances fell flat for me, which isn’t that much of a negative because I’m never really reading these for the romance anyway. I read for the story, and if the romance works too, that’s great, but I will most likely not hate a book if it doesn’t, unless it’s completely yucky. It wasn’t yucky in this one, it was just…meh. It’s possible that it takes two books for you to really care about these characters, and I definitely will be reading the next one because the story was excellent.

Profile Image for Heather.
976 reviews26 followers
February 3, 2018
*Actual rating 3.5

A slow burn, but a good one.

A Conspiracy of Stars was only barely on my radar, but for some reason, I decided to read it ahead of even some of my more anticipated reads.

It follows a girl and her people who live in a new world (literally), one they’ve only lived in for a generation or two after having to leave their old planet for reasons not given. The new planet has a different climate, vegetation, and animals, and even people who already live there. And while the natives may be accepting to an extent, there are some who believe that they are hiding something.

I enjoyed reading about the descriptions of the animals, and how the ecosystem worked together. At times, it was a little boring, but overall, a good read.
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