ARC Review: THE KINDRED by Alechia Dow

I received an ARC from the publishers in exchange for an honest review. It has not affected my opinions.

Title in white on two Black kids lying heads together with star-studded hair
Genre: Sci-Fi
Age Range: YA
Star rating: 4 stars
Series: standalone


Book cover for THE KINDRED: title in white on two black kids lying down, heads together but torsos on opposite sides of book, hair star-studded

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.

Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


YA Sci-fi is unfortunately very rare, which is such a pity as it’s such a fun genre combination. Space adventures with teens, and also anything that crosses with Earth can have all the marvel references in it, which is also a great shorthand for explaining things.

This is a romantic sci-fi adventure, but is also about self-love and acceptance too, and about letting yourself be too. We have action and a new galaxy to explore, as well as crashing down to Earth for a section. This is a book that’s having fun, and that really comes across in how bubbly it feels. I love finding books that are uplifting – adventurous escapism (vs grim and serious.)

I often struggle with sci-fi because I am a physicist and so I’m not a big fan of “the rule of cool trumps physics.” THE KINDRED is not a “hard science” book that’s trying to really impress on the reader the hard rules of what happens. But it’s also not a book that’s going “just pretend everything is possible.” Though it never stresses them, it is written in such a way that it feels like there are internally consistent and strict rules. It just doesn’t bring them to the forefront, instead bringing the escapist adventure into the limelight.

The idea of people’s brains being linked practically from birth is a fun one, seeing how the relationships can develop from that. I liked that the book did consider that this idea created to address an inequality could have ended up being used performatively, as well as the specific ways it was being abused to control the pair, as they weren’t deemed ‘suitable’ for one another.

That’s just one example of the many ways this book leans into nuance. It would be so easy just to explore the ways the technology and villains are using and abusing power and technology that relate to the plot and the characters. However, THE KINDRED touches on other ways that can happen.

I’ve heard that Alechia Dow’s debut, THE SOUND OF STARS, is set in the same universe at this book (but is Earth-based rather than space-based.) However, I was perfectly able to understand this book without reading that other book, so you could enter the universe either way.

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