Book Review: There Once Were Stars by Melanie McFarlane

Hello everyone! After that last not-so-favourable review, I decided I would just read books that are more similar to my preferences. Not really in the mood to continue trying out new genres. I am, however, in the mood to try out a new review format… but I’m too lazy to zzz… for now…

I received an ebook copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

!! minor spoilers below. read at your own risk !!


There Once Were Stars
by Melanie McFarlane

Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopian, Young Adult
Publication Date: 
26 April 2016

Format: ebook
Pages: –

My Rating: 3 / 5

Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

Peace. Love. Order. Dome.

That’s the motto that the Order has given the residents of Dome 1618 to live by. Natalia Greyes is a resident of Dome 1618, a covered city protected from the deadly radiation that has poisoned the world outside for four generations. Nat never questioned the Order, until one day she sees a stranger on the outside of her dome. Now Nat wants answers. What else might her government be hiding from the good and loyal people of Dome 1618?


For the first time in weeks, I started reading a book with pre-set expectations.

Honestly, it was predictable but it was good.

There Once Were Stars starts with our main female protagonist, Natalia, who has just turned 18 and is about to begin her first job. She lives in the Dome with her grandparents. Things happened, she got placed into the expedition program, the same program that killed her parents and uncle years ago. There, she uncovers secrets surrounding her parents’ death and the Dome.

So yeah, we have the fully protected sanctuary, the clueless, naive female protagonist, the trio of friends, the friend who got friendzoned, the stranger who gets the girl, and the corrupt organisation. What’s new?

Personally, I felt that the concepts the novel was built upon was its main redeeming factor. The Dome, isn’t like any other post-apocalypse sanctuary you read about. Or at least, Dome 1618 isn’t. Those living in it are expected to contribute to the Dome, so the adults work while the children study in preparation for their future jobs. However, the Dome has limited space. As such, every single piece of land in the Dome must be utilised for the benefit of its people. Dead trees are removed to make way for new ones. Population controls have been put in place, one of which is The Last Banquet, a monthly ceremony for those who have just hit seventy years old. It’s a concept I would have liked to see more of as not much was really said about it. All we know is that these people will never be seen in the Dome again. Are they killed? Were they sent out of the Dome and slowly killed by the radiation?

The secretary barely looks up as I rush past. What are crazy day! And I still have to get to the clearing before the Order gets there.

The language, however, was lacking. There were parts where I felt the sentences didn’t flow (take the one above for example) and the dialogues were seriously lacking in emotion.

Also, I wasn’t satisfied with the lack of appearances of certain characters, especially Xara and Tassie. I felt that these two characters could have done with more character exploration instead of simply being “Natalia’s friend/roommate”.

That’s it for my book review today! The next one will be up in like approximately three days. I might slow down a bit after that one cause I’m pretty sure reading a book in three days and then spending at least two hours to write a review for it immediately after isn’t healthy for my school work.

☮ Peace out ✌


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