This Los-Angeles based sci-fi fantasy offers up in a heart-warming mishmash that somehow works amid its divergent plots.
There’s an alien family, the Trans (who apparently look identical to us), who’s escaped Galaxy warfare, landed on Earth which they selected as there’s a huge close up viewing of a comet in a few years, and bought a donut store they renamed Starrgate Donuts under which they’ve parked their ship. The Mom, the caring Aunt and the three teens of the family are all struggling both to adjust to a new planet, balance running a store with deep mathematical equations that will enable them to open a Stargate for other world travelers to visit Earth and see the Comet, and recreate donuts that humans will want to eat. Oh, did I mention that one of the teens is a virtual AI, with intense very human feelings and sensitivities?
There’s a runaway trans girl, Katrina Nguyen, escaping from an immigrant family and violent dad who simply will not accept her gender choices. All she has with her is her computer, her hormones and her violin. She’s crashed with an unreliable queer friend, and the situation is not working out. When playing her violin on a park bench, she gets swept into the orbit of a gorgeous and former superstar Japanese violinist, Shizuka Satomi, who’s been on the hunt for years to find her next student.
Shizuka, recognized as the world’s foremost violin teacher for whom students swoon at the chance of being selected as a student, has secretly cut a deal with the Devil (yes, you read that right) to recruit amazing 7 violinists who achieve fame in exchange for their soul – she has 49 years to do it. If successfully the world will recall her amazing music which the Devil has purged from Earth’s memory. Shizuka takes Katrina in, giving her both a home and violin lessons, but does she have the heart to corrupt and betray her?
How does this all fit together? Somehow it does, in sometime elegant, sometimes zany, and sometimes awkward ways. But what stays with you is the compassion and the friendships and loves that can grow so unexpectedly with such tenderness.
Thanks to Netgalley for an advance reader’s copy.