by Heather Hildenbrand
Reading Grade: Young Adult
Publication Date: March 9, 2011
Source: Author review copy
Age Rating: 12+
Orphaned as a young girl, Alina Leone has spent the last few years in dusty Arizona, being raised by her guardian, Peter, and wishing for a friendship that isn’t filled with lies and deception about exactly what she really is. Just before she can begin senior year she meets someone from her past – a talking wolf from another galaxy who won’t stop calling her ‘Empress’ - and in a single moment, her future is changed forever. She becomes a fugitive, on the run from the Shadows, the same monsters who killed her parents, and flees to the safety of the planet Bardawulf for refuge. But not everyone in this magically protected fortress is what they seem.
- Plot: I had a feeling as I read Across the Galaxy that the plot was a bit off to my natural senses. It seemed some key plot points were arrived at either too early, too late, more than one time, or not at all. It made it hard to get into a good flow of reading. The inciting incident/catalyst happened perhaps too early, although that's my own opinion. I don't even remember what happened at the halfway point, and the ending had two different climaxes. Very confusing. I found myself wondering why the book still had 60 pages to go after reading the first climax, only to discover the second one at, appropriately, the end.
- Characters: Main character Alina is an Ilya, a being from a world called Gliese, but she spent several years of her childhood in Arizona in order to hide out from Tharos and his evil shadow minions that had taken over her world. She had lost her memory of ever being on Gliese, but her caretaker, Peter, raised her informed of her identity as the heir to the throne of Gliese. She was a pretty good female character and brave enough to respect, but I didn't find her all that interesting. None of the characters really stood out to me and made me take notice of them. They felt like they were all just there to play their parts and then “exit stage left” when the final curtain fell.
- Writing: The writing left something to be desired, not counting the lack of proofreading. Not that it was altogether fail, but there were times I felt like it was weak in how it conveyed simple events that occurred. Also, there were quite a few little scenes and conversations that were unnecessary. A lot of those moments and exchanges were pointless and probably should have been cut out because they made the story drag.
- Story: First of all, Alina and her people were called “Glows” because they could generate a glow from the cores of their bodies. Not sure why this was, although it was a pretty good set up for them being the natural enemy of alien shadow people. And, there were large talking wolves for no apparent reason. Why not cows or ferrets? It seemed like a very random animal to use when there was no organic need for any anthropomorphic characters at all. Not that I'm against that sort of thing, but I like the author to make sense of why they are in the story. Otherwise, I found all the other characters' behavior annoying because they constantly restricted Alina from doing anything and everything in an effort to protect her “Royal Highness.” It got super old really fast. “Alina, are you okay? Are you all right?” Multiply this by 1,000 and that's about how many times she gets asked this by various characters. Not to mention she just happened to be the most powerful of her kind. A little too convenient if you ask me.
- Overall Quality: It's inferior to a lot of YA fiction in this genre, but overall not entirely awful. I just have very high standards for my favorite genre (sci-fi/fantasy). It's enjoyable to plenty of people out there, so get a second opinion, but it lacked way too much for me.
- Favorite Moment/Scene: Unfortunately, I can't say I have a favorite scene.
- My Score: 2.5 stars out of 5.