by Summer Wier
For seventeen-year-old Kira, there’s no better way to celebrate a birthday than being surrounded by friends and huddled beside a campfire deep in the woods. And with a birthday in the peak of summer, that includes late night swims under the stars.
Or at least, it used to.
Kira’s relaxing contemplation of the universe is interrupted when a piece of it falls, colliding with her and starting a chain of events that could unexpectedly lead to the one thing in her life that’s missing—her father.
Tossed into a pieced-together world of carnivals and gypsies, an old-fashioned farmhouse, and the alluring presence of a boy from another planet, Kira discovers she’s been transported to the center of a black hole, and there’s more to the story than science can explain. She’s now linked by starlight to the world inside the darkness. And her star is dying.
If she doesn’t return home before the star’s light disappears and her link breaks, she’ll be trapped forever. But she’s not the only one ensnared, and with time running out, she’ll have to find a way to save a part of her past and a part of her future, or risk losing everything she loves.
Dreamy, fluid, and beautiful, Link pairs the mystery of science fiction with the minor-key melody of a dark fantasy, creating a tale that is as human as it is out of this world.
Link is, in a word, unique. I’m not sure I’ve ever come across a book quite like it. It’s solidly science fiction, but I’ll admit that for the first third (up until a certain scene I can’t talk about because it would spoil it), I did wonder if it wasn’t actually dark fantasy. The truth is, it’s sort of both, crossing and blending the genres in a way that’s wholly original and entirely fascinating.
The thing I love about this one is that it’s not nearly as straight-forward as it seems at a glance. Yes, it is YA, and as such, features the usual teenage angst and romantic sub-plot, but it’s also handled in a way that feels authentic and doesn’t detract from the multi-layered plot that forms around it. Kira approaches her situation with all the acumen and maturity expected of a seventeen-year-old who’s suddenly had everything she’s known ripped away.
Mystery, adventure, and even danger face Kira as she struggles to come to terms not only with the fact that there’s more to the universe than she ever imagined, but also with the truth behind her past and her own identity. Wier manages to keep what is arguably a very personal journey for Kira at the center of the story, weaving an intricate and even somewhat plausible world (as a recent discovery by Stephen Hawking supports) around a framework that is easy to relate to and entirely human. The relationship between Kira and her mom is especially poignant, and something not often seen in YA literature, where absentee parental figures tend to reign.
The first in a trilogy, Link sets the stage for what promises to be an exciting and refreshingly original contribution to the genre. With simplistic prose that is at once lyrical and genuine, Wier paints a splendid, sometimes emotional tale that barely scratches the surface of what her world has to offer. She’s definitely a debut author to keep an eye on, and I, for one, can’t wait for the second installment.