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Released: January 4th 2022
Genre: Young Adult
“The Kindred is an action packed space saga filled with sweet romance, political intrigue and lots of action.”~ Under the Covers
The premise of The Kindred by Alechia Dow caught my attention right away. A bond that connects you to someone else, on practically a soul deep level? A connection that allows your bonded to know you better than you know yourself? Sounds like something straight out of a fairytale, but as you might expect (and as main characters Joy and Felix come to find out) things are not always as simple as they might seem.
Joy has had her life set out for her since birth. Marry her “betrothed” (who’s a total jerk), make babies to help restore the population of her planet, and live out the rest of her days continuing to faithfully follow her government’s commands. Her only hope for meaningful connection comes in the form of her Kindred, Duke Felix Hamdi and their bond but circumstances and station prevent them from ever truly being together. They’ve contented themselves with near constant mental communication, but when a disaster happens and Felix is blamed they end up going on the run together. Will their feelings for each other get in the way of making things right and discovering who is really behind the deaths?
Ms. Dow had me invested in Joy and Felix’s relationship from the start of the book. The concept of “the kindred” is a really interesting take on the star-crossed lover idea. In practice, the idea behind the kindred program is giving everyone a voice no matter their socioeconomic status. In my opinion, the more important benefit of the program is how it gives citizens a soulmate of sorts (the vast majority of the population ends up either living with their kindred or marrying them). Ms. Dow made the stakes quite clear at the beginning of the story and it’s obvious why the relationship means so much to each of them. Their relationship is something I would love to have, and I’m a ginormous fan of how supportive they are towards each other. For example, Joy struggles with her body image due to the fat shaming she endures, and Felix is the ever present voice of reason and clarity. Cue the swoon moment and heart eyes after Felix delivered this line: “You are absolute perfection, every bit and piece and curve of you.” Please excuse me while I add Felix to my ever growing list of book boyfriends.
This book was full of tropes, and I was all in for it. I noted friends-to-lovers, sunshine and grumpy, and one of my personal favorites, the “there’s only one-bed trope”. If you’re a fan of any of these tropes (or a couple of others I probably missed), then Ms. Dow has got you covered. However, despite my fondness for the number of tropes, packing this many into a shorter book caused it to feel a bit hectic at times. The story might have been suited by limiting the amount of tropes so the plot didn’t get lost in the shuffle.
The Kindred is an action packed space saga filled with sweet romance, political intrigue and lots of action. I would recommend this book to readers who love fast paced adventure sci-fi tales filled with diverse characters. As a note to those who are familiar with Ms. Dow’s other book The Sound of Stars, The Kindred does take place in the same multiverse but there isn’t really any crossover in the storyline. You don’t need to read The Sound of Stars to know what’s going on in this book.
CW: Alcohol Consumption, Body Shaming, Fatphobia, Gaslighting, Manipulation, Kidnapping, Murder, War, Violence, Torture
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