Stars, Hide Your Fires

Quirk Bks. Jul. 2023. 304p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781683693512.
Gr 9 Up–Cass is an expert thief but will need more than picking the pockets of tourists on her minor moon if she wants to support herself and her ailing father. Luckily for her, the emperor is throwing the ball of the century—all she has to do is get to the capital, sneak into the party, and grab whatever she can. Things are going surprisingly well until the emperor is found dead at his own celebration and someone wants Cass to take the fall. Best’s novel is packed with appeal. The plot is fast paced, and the characters are wildly charming, from Cass herself to her diverse and endearing community. The romance is refreshingly light and flirtatious, complementing, rather than overwhelming, the mystery at the center of the plot. Later parts of the novel suffer under the exposition of larger political plot lines clearly meant to set up another book, and sometimes Cass misses clues that may seem glaringly obvious to readers, but the romantic chemistry, well-drawn inclusivity, and entertaining action outweigh the book’s shortcomings.
VERDICT A fun purchase for all collections, accessible and appealing equally to fans of heists, queer romance, and science fiction.

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