Hey there! My name is Max and I will be composing a review for Body Of Stars By Laura Maylene Walter today! I would like to thank Times Reads for sending a copy of this novel to me.
So, without further ado, let us get into the review section of this article.
An exploration of fate and female agency in a world very similar to our own–except that the markings on women’s bodies reveal the future. A piercing indictment of rape culture, a read about what happens when women are objectified and stripped of choice–and what happens when they fight back.
Celeste Morton has eagerly awaited her passage to adulthood. Like every girl, she was born with a set of childhood markings–the freckles, moles, and birthmarks on her body that foretell her future and that of those around her–and with puberty will come a new set of predictions that will solidify her fate. The possibilities are tantalizing enough to outweigh the worry that the future she dreams of won’t be the one she’s fated to have and the fear of her “changeling period” the time when women are nearly irresistible to men and the risk of abduction is rife.
Celeste’s beloved brother, Miles, is equally anticipating her transition to adulthood. As a skilled interpreter of the future, a field that typically excludes men, Miles considers Celeste his practice ground–and the only clue to what his own future will bring. But when Celeste changes, she learns a devastating secret about Miles’s fate: a secret that could destroy her family, a secret she will do anything to keep. Yet Celeste isn’t the only one keeping secrets, and when the lies of brother and sister collide, it leads to a tragedy that will irrevocably change Celeste’s fate, set her on a path to fight against the inherent misogyny of fortune-telling, and urge her to create a future that is truly her own.
This novel is set in a reality that is parallel to our own, with an addition of women bearing markings (like moles or freckles) on their bodies that can foretell the future. There are two types of marking; one of them is childhood marking, and the other one is adult marking. Both of them will be observed by the government and an authoritative figure will be sent to perform a full-body inspection and record them down for future references. If one does not wish to let an authoritative figure inspect her body, an incomplete statement will appear in her record which will possibly render her plans to go to university or to acquire a prosperous career useless. If one is taken, or kidnapped, during her changeling period (which is a period of time where one metamorphose from a child to a grown woman and this is also a period of time where girls are irresistible to men), it will totally demolish her future as universities will not accept abducted girls.
I thought this novel was beautifully written as it has crisp writing and an infusion of emotions that can be detected by the readers universally (I cried reading several scenes). The author conveys social issues such as rape, sexual assault, the inherent misogyny in our society, body ownership, and victim-blaming through the novel immaculately as the writer does not beat around the bush when it is time to talk about those topics and instead, she hands all the straight, hard facts to you. The pacing of the novel was something that I really enjoyed. I did, indeed, find it impeccably paced and I was never once bored reading it as the plot, for me, unceasingly evolved and thickened throughout the novel. In addition, I thoroughly enjoyed the illustrations regarding the markings of the female body or the leaflets given by the rehabilitation centres at the beginning of each chapter.
There are several central characters in this novel, but I will only talk about two of the most important characters – Celeste Morton and Miles Morton – as they are basically the kernel of this novel. Celeste and Miles are siblings; Miles is the older brother of Celeste and he keeps secrets throughout the novel and only occasionally shares his secrets with Celeste if he sees fit, or if he is coerced into giving them up. He is also a character who enjoys studying Mapping Of The Future which is a book that the females in this book use to read the markings on their bodies to get a glimpse of their future. Mapping Of The Future is only intended for females to study and the government bans males from having any career path in this precinct. Miles, being unconventional, goes against the gender norms and double-standard in this society by working illegally under the wings of a renowned female marking reader. I thought Miles was multifaceted and I liked the way he went against the gender norm and double-standards deposited in the society for the entirety of the novel.
As for Celeste, I thought she had great character development throughout the novel. I thought she was a little intramurally misogynistic in the first half of the novel and she also did the victim-blaming thing that bigoted people do (which we can’t really blame her for having those thoughts or executing them because the society and her upbringing brainwashed her into thinking those thoughts were right), and her character growth was very prominent to me after the first half and the internalized misogyny and victim-blaming slowly, but surely, worn off.
Before we end this review, I want to talk about the repulsive father-daughter ritual that every changeling girl has to face in that period of time. So basically, the father will take naked pictures of their TEENAGE daughters to read the markings on their bodies to see if there is any indication of the family’s future. The fathers fundamentally curtail their daughters to mere objects and I find that really disturbing, and while I was reading the book, I couldn’t believe what I was reading and thought my eyes were deceiving me. I was baffled and I still am baffled by that scene alone.
In conclusion, I am proffering this novel with a verdict of 100% (A+). This novel has alluring writing, ties social issues into the story perfectly, and has a very riveting fantasy-esque element tied into it. This is, overall, a timeless piece of literature that I would highly recommend everyone to read.
This is the end of my review for Body Of Stars By Laura Maylene Walter! I hope you all enjoyed it and follow me with your email/Wordpress account to get notifications when I post a new article! Bye!