ARC Review: The Kindred by Alechia Dow

Posted January 3, 2022 by Richetta in #ownvoices, Blog Tours, Book Reviews, Young Adult / 0 Comments

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ARC Review: The Kindred by Alechia Dow

I received this book for free from Inkyard Press and Turn the Page Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.

ARC Review: The Kindred by Alechia DowThe Kindred by Alechia Dow
Published by Inkyard Press on January 4, 2022
Genres: Young Adult Fiction / Diversity & Multicultural, Young Adult Fiction / Romance / General, Young Adult Fiction / Royalty, Young Adult Fiction / Science Fiction / General
Pages: 304
Format: ARC
Source: Inkyard Press and Turn the Page Book Tours
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Goodreads

“Utterly swoony…an endearing reminder that true love can change the world”
—J. Elle, New York Times bestselling author of Wings of Ebony

To save a galactic kingdom from revolution, Kindred mind-pairings were created to ensure each and every person would be seen and heard, no matter how rich or poor…

Joy Abara knows her place. A commoner from the lowly planet Hali, she lives a simple life—apart from the notoriety that being Kindred to the nobility’s most infamous playboy brings.

Duke Felix Hamdi has a plan. He will exasperate his noble family to the point that they agree to let him choose his own future and finally meet his Kindred face-to-face.

Then the royal family is assassinated, putting Felix next in line for the throne…and accused of the murders. Someone will stop at nothing until he’s dead, which means they’ll target Joy, too. Meeting in person for the first time as they steal a spacecraft and flee amid chaos might not be ideal…and neither is crash-landing on the strange backward planet called Earth. But hiding might just be the perfect way to discover the true strength of the Kindred bond and expose a scandal—and a love—that may decide the future of a galaxy.

Book cover of The Kindred

Kindred Spirits, melanated aliens and romance with royalty. Now that is a combination that makes for a good story! This might be my first book reading about Black and Brown aliens. I have to say I enjoyed it and I’m here for more! Thank you to Turn the Page Tours for including me on the Instagram Book Tour! You can head over to my @CocoaWithBooks page to check it out!

Blue Blood? Sure Why Not?

Full disclosure: I picked this book up thinking more about romance and how the kindred spirit aspect would play out. I didn’t even really think of the main characters as alien and just knew that it was set in outer space. But honestly, I didn’t even think of the main characters as being aliens until they encountered humans in the story. I mean there was blue blood mentioned, but I kind of gave that the side eye and kept moving.

But what I found interesting about my glossing over the blue blood thing was how we view what is and isn’t normal. I was caught up in the world building and until they encountered Earth, the main characters were the normal ones. There was no contrast. So I was just like, oh this must be no big deal here. They don’t bleed red, they bleed blue.

Kindred Characters

I liked the main characters of Felix and Joy. I thought Ms. Dow did a good job of not allowing Felix be a one-dimensional spoiled royal who relies on Joy for everything. His redemption and saving grace in my opinion is really his love for Joy. He sees her as beautiful and never lets her forget it. He is never willing to leave her behind. Felix is also really funny especially when he refers to “the humans” and a hero when he wants to be. I loved the scene when he scoops up Joy when the ish is hitting the fan.

I also really like Joy and thought that despite having to deal with fat-shaming from her fiance, her poverty and the restrictions on her dreams, she maintains the essence of her name. Her kindness and caring for Rashid is touching.

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I see blue blood, but it doesn’t seem like a big deal to the characters so I’ll keep it moving. lol!

Unique Style Choices

The Kindred as three style points that I appreciated. First, this book is written in dual viewpoints, which for a romance I am definitely a fan of that style. I just like knowing what the guy is thinking. It’s interesting to me. I thought it was an interesting choice for the author especially since Felix and Joy are constantly in each other’s heads. But because of the romantic struggles the characters are dealing with each other, it works. I’d say more but I’m not doing any spoilers!

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When Felix comes to get Joy…swoon!

Second, it is written in a non-linear format. Now take a deep breath if you are about to have PTSD from trying to read “A Rose From Emily” or some other non-linear short story with 29 other classmates and you got frustrated with the “what did I just read moments.” This format really works for this story and gives you insight into the characters as individuals apart from from their kindred. It helped me understand their relationship better and was easy to follow along.

Third, there are multiple worlds. Get your space passport out because you are going to travel from planet Hali to planet Earth. Joy’s and Felix’s planets and civilizations are conceptualized with classicism, caste systems and advanced technology. Then when they arrive on Earth, I have to agree with the characters that is is a baby planet. And in contrast between the two systems, it feels like Joy and Felix’s homes have been there done that, while Earth is struggling with what they already struggled with years ago in what they call The Second Chaos. The earth in The Kindred is characterized with the same struggles that are currently hitting today’s headlines. The characters address racism, environmental struggles, classism, grief and relationships.

Representation

I loved that everyone in Felix and Joy’s realms are Black and Brown. When they get to Earth, Joy is able to pass for being Black while Felix passes for a foreign exchange student from Pakistan. The other characters bring in some additional diversity, but it is just cool to read a book about Black and Brown aliens, because I simply haven’t encountered that before. Even the newscasters on Felix and Joy’s planets make a comment about Earth and the United States and ask where are all the shades of beautiful brown?

Also, there is lots of diversity in sexual identification. Every time a new character is introduced the other characters refer to them by the pronoun they until the character identifies their own pronouns of choice. None of the aliens assume anything about another’s identity. There is also acceptance of same-sex relationships. 83% of kindreds marry each other. Since they are paired through the program based on their birth date and compatibility, gender is not the main factor for matching kindreds.

Trigger Warnings

Fat shaming, alcohol use

HAVE A SIP OF COCOA ☕…

I came for… a romance between kindred spirits

I stayed for…. the swoony romance between a commoner and a royal and of course plot twists from the adventure to Earth

Hot Cocoa Moments: When Felix rescues Joy when the bad guys are trying to capture her and it also happens to be the first time they are meeting. “He’s beautiful. He’s terrified. He’s here for me.”  (slides out of chair onto the floor with hand to forehead) 

Would I Read it Again: Yes. And I need to go check out Ms. Dow’s The Sound of Stars, since this book is set in the same universe and I heard there were some character crossovers.

Educator Recommendations: First, this book is a safe space for teens with any type of sexual identity. The characters are very respectful and caring about how they interact with each other regarding sexual orientation. Second, it’s a clean romance. So stop worrying about that.

Third, this book is chalk full of opportunities to discuss how societies evolve. The role of issues such as racism, sexual identity, classism and poverty. There is also the big discussion on whether or not there are kindred spirits. Now how cool would it be for a history teacher to give this book to their students and then turn around and have a discussion on how societies begin, end, revert and move forward? The kids would be in the classroom tearing it up with absolute genius!!! They could connect ancient societies and empires, modern societies and fictional ones that we imagine (Star Trek, Star Wars, etc).

head shot of Alechia Dow, author

AUTHOR INFORMATION

Alechia Dow is a former librarian and pastry chef living abroad with her partner in Germany. When she’s not writing, you can find her having epic dance parties with her daughter, baking, reading or taking teeny adventures around Europe.

Social info:

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