This book was so very weird and so very lovely. I very much enjoyed it. I’ve been dragging my feet on this review but it’s pub day* so I need to buckle down. This is one of those cases where the description really doesn’t do the book justice, and also it very much will not be everyone’s cup of tea, because it resists classification, and takes three very good ideas for a story and smooshes them all into one story. The result is a very weird mix of genre and tone, and I seriously dug it. If this is what Aoki can do on her first try, I’m very much in for whatever she does next.
*I ended up buying a hard copy for myself this afternoon when I went out to buy C.S. Pacat’s new book, Dark Rise. So that should tell you how much I liked it!
Really, I am not up for teasing the contents of this book. I don’t know if anyone is. Probably the easiest way to do it is to give background on the three main characters and that will have to be enough to entice you. So, we have: Shizuka Satomi, a profession violinist turned international violin sensation who every violin student wants to be taught by, and who secretly made a deal with the devil for fame and talent in exchange for luring seven more violinists into selling their souls; we have Katrina Nguyen, a young transgender girl who has run away from home, and whose only possession worth anything is a violin; and last we have Lan Tran, owner of a donut shop, but who is also an alien refugee from outer space in disguise. Shizuka needs a soul who can play violin. Katrina has one and can do that. Lan is on the run from a galactic war, but develops feelings for Shizuka, who likes her in turn. They both care for Katrina, who has no one else to help her. Mix this all together and you get something that is pretty much the most unexpected thing you could imagine.
I’m not sure I would recommend this book for just anyone, but if that stew of particular ingredients sounds tasty to you at all, you should give this a go.
CBR BINGO: Free! (And my second BINGO: The Wilds / Old Series / Pandemic / Rec’d / Free!)