Buddy Read Book Review: SOUL OF STARS by Ashley Poston

Two planets side lit on either side of the title

Genre: Sci-Fi
Age Range: YA
Star Rating: 4 stars
Series: yes - second book of duology



Book cover for SOUL OF STARS: a rosebud of metal opening surrounded by spaceships and stars.Once, Ana was an orphaned space outlaw. Then she was the Empress of the Iron Kingdom. Now, thought dead by most of the galaxy after she escaped from the dark AI program called the HIVE, Ana is desperate for a way to save Di from the HIVE’s evil clutches and take back her kingdom.

Ana’s only option is to find Starbright, the one person who has hacked into the HIVE and lived to tell the tale. But when Ana’s desperation costs the crew of the Dossier a terrible price, Ana and her friends are sent spiraling through the most perilous reaches of the Iron Kingdom to stop the true arbiter of evil in her world: an ancient world-ending deity called the Great Dark.

Their journey will take the sharp-witted pilot, Jax, to the home he never wanted to return to, and the dangerous fate he left behind. And when Robb finds out who Jax really is, he must contend with his own feelings for the boy he barely knows, and whether he truly belongs with this group of outcasts.

When facing the worst odds, can Ana and her crew of misfits find a way to stop the Great Dark once and for all?

Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.

After thoroughly enjoying buddy reading HEART OF IRON with Beth (Planet Beth), and hardly able to wait for the second book, we decided to buddy read the second book almost as soon we got hold of the book.


I’m sorry this review was such a long time coming. It’s been months now since the buddy read, but life happened. Beth started a new school year as a fully qualified teacher (Whoop!) and I wasn’t careful about managing my stress levels and got so overwhelmed I made myself sick.

Best bit of the book?

We both agreed that the ending was perfect. We both squee-ed over it, not a happy-clappy ending but still hopeful for the future, with a final wobble of the heart that looked ready to be devastating until the second to last page. It was emotional and cute and brilliant all round.

Sifa: I also loved the clever use of character names as titles. There’s a point, either side of the part four break, where a name change occurs. I loved those two chapters, and it was such a cute YES moment

Beth: my shippy heart went mad when everything happened with Jax at the Ark. Anything with Jax is always a win. The conflict within the emperor was great – you could tell there was a massive fracture within the character. It was written so wonderfully that it was believable and engaging rather than irritating.

Favourite twist/surprise?

There were so many twists and turns to the story, which kept us turning late into the night. In order to preserve the twists, we’ve picked our favourites and encoded them as emojis.

Sifa: 🤒🌟😃

Beth: 🌞💇‍♀️🙏

What do you think about the Great Dark?

We both thought that the Great Dark was a good villain, a very psychotic, manipulative and almost childish in her single-minded pursuit.

Beth: I think she’s the Goddess’ counterpart, a multi-dimensional being, which would explain how she’s human when Dmitri first meets her.

Sifa: Or was she human? I’m thinking creepy AI/consciousness with a god-complex. Multi dimensional being sounds much better.

Sifa: It would have been nice to see more of her and the metals. Most of her interactions were with the Emperor, and he was then the presenting antagonist to Ana. This meant there was a distance between the Great Dark and Ana. It brings the Emperor into the conflict more, which is good.

Beth: I agree. It was great to have that conflict between Ana and the Emperor but it meant that Mellifare (the Great Dark) felt less threatening overall – though her scenes with the Emperor are where her presence is felt.

Captain Siege

Very early in the buddy read (just after the start of part 2), Beth messaged me saying that she had theories – and think she knew exactly who Siege was. I usefully replied that I didn’t have any clue who Siege was, but that she was important. Helpful!

Sifa: You know your predictions about who Siege was? You were right about part of it! And I was simply clueless. So clearly the hints are there, I’m simply oblivious. I like books where you can guess twists and put it together yourself – but I also like books where the twists are hard to guess but feel logical. I want to see if I can re-read and catch the hints.

Beth: *dances in joy at being right*

Least favourite part of the book?

Sifa: We talked about this in our review of HEART OF IRON, but I still feel like the crew (of the Dossier) were under developed. I didn’t really know them, despite two books with them. In fact, the newcomers got more character development than the crew.

Beth: Totally agree. We kept being told these characters are her family, the most important people in her life. And yet I felt no connection to them. There were no anecdotes about them, nothing to really bring them in. We just know Jax and Siege – and a bit about Siege’s wife (whose name I can’t remember, and indication of how little development she gets).

Read my review of other books by Ashley Poston

Heart Of Iron (this series):


2 thoughts on “Buddy Read Book Review: SOUL OF STARS by Ashley Poston

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