The Stardust Grail

Flatiron. Jun. 2024. 320p. ISBN 9781250875372. $28.99. SF
Maya Hoshimoto is a thirtysomething graduate student at Princeton University. She left behind her life as an art thief, one who specialized in stealing alien artifacts and returning them to their civilizations. Now that she’s in hiding because of her disastrous—and deadly—last job, Maya plans to stay on Earth for the near (and far) future, but then her old friend Auncle, who is a member of the alien species called the Frenro, asks for her help to find a powerful object that has been missing for over two centuries, an object that could save the Frenro from extinction. Maya joins Auncle and their crew on this quest, but there are others who are also looking for the object, and even more who are willing to destroy the object and the Frenro entirely. Plus, Maya is having visions of a future that seems to hold betrayal and the possible destruction of humanity.
VERDICT Kitasei (The Deep Sky) writes an emotional roller coaster of a space quest, highlighting friendship, family, and the ostracism of those believed to be different. The prose is as intimate as the universe is wide.
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