Review: The Girl at the Center of the World by Austin Alan

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July 31, 2017 by Zoë

Lei and her father have made it back to the Big Island of Hawaii and to their family. In The Girl at the Center of the World by Austin Alan, they’ve fallen into a new routine in this new world without power, divided into factions, and cut off from the mainland. But danger seems to be closing in from all sides and it’s up to Lei, with her connection to the aliens circling the Earth, to save them all.

The Good
While I think I enjoyed The Islands at the End of the World slightly more than this, its sequel, I also think this is probably the stronger of the two. While Lei as the sole controller of the aliens can seem like a gimmick in the first book, in the second book it’s background information and somehow it works better. It was also nice to see her power over the aliens challenged, even if I was never too worried.

I appreciated how strongly anti-gun Lei was throughout the book. It’s easy in an apocalypse book for the characters to all pick up guns with no qualms and start waving them around right away, so it was nice to see things go in a different direction.

The ending was fairly satisfying, though like the first book, it was still somewhat easy.

The Bad
As I said in my review for the first book, I’m not a huge fan of a chosen one plot thrown into an apocalypse story. This book tried to muddy the waters a bit, questioning if Lei’s ties with the aliens had gone too far. This was good, but I wanted more. I wanted complexity and there just wasn’t a whole lot of that.

The Verdict
This was a fun, quick read that, like the first book, is unique largely because of the setting. I won’t be re-reading it, but it was enjoyable.

“I have dreamt of these shores. I was born here, but I slipped away. Now I have reached the shallows, at long last, guided across the endless waters by the ancient stars. These islands and their sacred tides call me forth.”



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