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Audiobook Review: Hold Back the Stars by Katie Khan


“First love can break you. But it can also save you.”

‘We’re going to be fine.’ 
He looks around, but there’s nothing out here: nothing but the bottomless black universe on their left, the Earth suspended in glorious technicolour to their right.

Carys and Max have ninety minutes of air left.
None of this was supposed to happen.
But, perhaps this doesn’t need to be the end…
Adrift in space with nothing to hold on to but each other, Carys and Max can’t help but look back at the well-ordered world they have left behind – at the rules they couldn’t reconcile themselves to, and a life to which they might now never return.
For in a world where love is banned, what happens when you find it?

Plot: Let me start off by saying; this book is way more romance than sci-fi, if you’re not a fan of full-on romance or are looking for a strict sci-fi book, this wouldn’t be for you. This book is definitely romance centred with a sci-fi twist. That being said, I absolutely adored this story. It was intense, lovely, romantic, HEART WRETCHING.
I usually just pick up audiobooks for my commute to college, which involves walking and two buses, it’s a great way to pass time and get ‘reading’ slotted into my day. I picked up this audiobook on a whim, I’d seen the cover before but I hadn’t heard much about it and I’m so glad I that I went for it! It definitely exceeded my expectations.

The story switches back and forth future and present, showing you glimpses of the event leading up to Carys and Max being in space with 90 minutes of oxygen left.
I started off liking this book, I was invested from the start, I didn’t think I would end up listening to the remainder 5 hours+ in a day. I was hooked, I couldn’t stop listening, it was just so addictive. I had to know what happened. The story is set in a utopian futuristic version of our world, people in this world don’t get into serious relationships or get married until they’re in their late thirties. The main characters Carys and Max are in their mid-to-late twenties, I believe, and as you can guess, they fall in love.
I am still mind blown by the ending. I’m also so confused.. but in a good way? My heart was removed from my body and I couldn’t get over it. Shook.
I thought I was going to go into a reading slump as I couldn’t stop thinking about this book! (I’m still not over it but I’m trying!)

Characters: I adored both the main characters, you get the story from both their perspectives and I honestly enjoyed both. Usually there is a character I don’t like, but in this case, I really liked both the main characters!
I think I liked Max a *little* bit more than Carys, I adored him, he was so funny I liked his sense of humour.
Carys and Max’s relationship felt very realistic to me, with a lot of romance novels I feel the relationships are so lovey-dovey and perfect, they’re just not true to real relationships. Carys and Max go through ups and downs but they still had a good relationship. I was very attached to Carys and Max, I was definitely emotionally invested.

Narrator: Okay, so, I thought the voice was familiar but I didn’t really think about it for the majority of the audiobook. Randomly, I just thought who is this!? Turns out it’s narrated by Gemma Whelan aka Yara Greyjoy from Game of Thrones! She did a really good job, her voice is very soothing to listen to.

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars!

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