THE KINDRED BY ALECHIA DOW
"I love her with every part of my body, soul, mind, and molecules."
The novel starts with the reader being far across to the universe, in another planetary system where all people of a particular planetary system are born with a voice in their head. Just one voice, though, just them and another until death do they part.
Joy and Felix are star-crossed lovers in almost the literal sense. Not only is their seemingly doomed connection a product of their social stations, but they live on different planets. Joy is the only child of a poor single mother from a poor planet in a system ruled by Felix, who is a duke, extended family. While Joy must work for a living, Felix spends his time avoiding his royal duties, moonlighting as a Rockstar. Where Felix enjoys the intimate company of any attractive being he comes across, Joy planet demands her betrothal and, as such, doesn’t participate in dalliances.
If you hang out in fandom spaces, you are no stranger to the soulmates trope. However, Dow uses a fresh take rather than fate to seal two people together; it is good old-fashioned humanoid ingenuity brought to you by classism. The story can sometimes feel burdensome; we travel lightyears and galaxies just to get “space racism.” But then again, that is the point, to shine a light on the absolute absurdity of these fake social constructs that we have allowed to destroy so many lives.
Dow’s writing can be a little heavy-handed, but because she so explicitly details certain parts of her narration, the overt way she engages the reader makes the book's themes unmissable, opening the book up to a broader (and younger audience.) The straightforward prose makes for an easy, quick read for anyone looking for a meaningful, but lighthearted read.