Good Omens meets The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet in this defiantly joyful adventure set in California’s San Gabriel Valley, with cursed violins, Faustian bargains, and queer alien courtship over fresh-made donuts.
Shizuka Satomi made a deal with the devil: to escape damnation, she must entice seven other violin prodigies to trade their souls for success. She has already delivered six.
When Katrina Nguyen, a young transgender runaway, catches Shizuka’s ear with her wild talent, Shizuka can almost feel the curse lifting. She’s found her final candidate.
But in a donut shop off a bustling highway in the San Gabriel Valley, Shizuka meets Lan Tran, retired starship captain, interstellar refugee, and mother of four. Shizuka doesn’t have time for crushes or coffee dates, what with her very soul on the line, but Lan’s kind smile and eyes like stars might just redefine a soul’s worth. And maybe something as small as a warm donut is powerful enough to break a curse as vast as the California coastline.
As the lives of these three women become entangled by chance and fate, a story of magic, identity, curses, and hope begins, and a family worth crossing the universe for is found.
-Excerpt taken from Goodreads.
Check Goodreads to see the book’s ratings.
(3 / 5) A lot of times I like to go into a book blind; not reading the synopsis. However, I recommend reading it with this one. It definitely takes a bit to get used to the story lines and get a feel for the characters.
The premise for this book is the most unique (and totally bizarre) I’ve ever read. Because of that, it kept me interested but also had me rechecking in my brain what had already happened. A runaway trans prostitute, refugee aliens owning a donut shop and a demon-cursed woman looking for another violin student to sell their soul are all interconnected. Did that boggle your brain? It should! Each person had their own story but was intertwined with the other story lines.
The writing was very well done. The fact that this story line even made sense attests to that. But the details in how they’re connected is well thought out and expertly done.
While this story was a bit too off-the-wall for me, I did enjoy it. The ending was perfect. It wrapped everything up so well. I loved getting to know Katrina and her trials with being trans. That was very impactful. Her love of music and violin resonated with me although I have never played. The book also brought in difficulties that refugees encounter (regardless that these were alien refugees, ha!) and how difficult their lives can be. For the violin teacher, her impact was her focus, or almost obsession, with being known, being seen, and being famous.
There were many characters but I did not have a hard time keeping them straight. Each has their own story that is clear and concise but also connected to the main story. I recommend this one if you love unique but well-written stories!
Content Summary: F words: 20+, rape (vague/few details), prostitution (quite a few details including making videos), physical and mental child abuse, a group of young musicians have all been killed by many different ways, self harm, murder.
Thank you to Tor Books for the gifted copy in exchange for an honest review.
The book releases September 28, 2021.
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