The Stars May Rise and Fall

Fiction - LGBTQ
258 Pages
Reviewed on 02/16/2019
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

The Stars May Rise and Fall is a modernization of a classic tale, reinvented and penned by author Estella Mirai. Focused on the glam-metal music scene of early 2000s Japan, Mirai retells the gothic love story of The Phantom of the Opera through introducing us to young ingenue Teru. Teru comes to Tokyo with all of the looks and appeal to make it big, but his songs just don’t cut it, and it looks as though his career might be over before it begins. It’s then that Rei steps in, a disabled and disfigured composer who can skyrocket Teru’s talents when they combine with his. But with forbidden romance looming, one kiss could take it all away.

If you’re looking for an intense, intelligent and inventive LGBTQ love story, there isn’t a more perfect book on the market right now. Author Estella Mirai takes us to the slick streets of Tokyo with cinematic description that leaps off the page, guiding readers through twists and turns of a plot which is classic in places, then elevated for the modern day audience in many others. Loving the original Phantom as much as I do, I was delighted to see so many elements redeveloped for the character of Rei, who didn’t lose either his charm, talent or darkness in the process. Teru is an improvement on the original Christine, with a more solidified emotional depth and vehemence about his dreams and desires. Overall, The Stars May Rise and Fall is a superb book and highly recommended.

Jack Magnus

The Stars May Rise and Fall is an LGBTQ glam-metal, visual kei novel written by Estella Mirai. La Rose Verboten had experienced some small successes, but the road to stardom seemed to be more strewn with obstacles than Teru and his teammates had hoped for. Teru was twenty-one now and wondering about the younger musicians who had already gotten noticed. His drumming was accomplished but didn’t seem inspired and, despite Minori’s attempts to get him to sing backup, Teru was reluctant to put himself out there. This feeling of being somehow past it already made the mysterious card he had found seem more intriguing than it would ordinarily have been. The scrawled message read: “I can help you. Call me.” Teru wondered if his best friend in the group, Yasu, was playing a prank, or maybe one of the other members. Was it an agent? He wondered. Could it be? Hope warred with his habitual resignation until he finally decided to take a chance.

Estella Mirai’s The Stars May Rise and Fall is an audial, visual and romantic feast that immerses the reader in Tokyo’s musical culture and narrates a love between an emotionally and physically scarred composer and the singer whose genius he recognizes. As I read this marvelous novel, I found myself Googling visual kei to get myself even more involved in what was for me a strange and lovely new world. Mirai’s story is also a compelling coming of age tale which explores the risks and chances Teru takes as he comes to terms with his sexuality and discovers that love can transcend imperfection. While one might compare this novel to a gay Phantom of the Opera, I saw also it as a modern incarnation of the seventeenth-century French fairy tale La Belle et Le Bete and other classic stories in that vein. Rei and Teru’s growing affection and love for each other is moving and transcendent. Mirai’s characters began to seem real and vibrant for me and I became involved in their lives. Her story is a vast musical composition that swept me smoothly through to the last page. The Stars May Rise and Fall is an astonishingly good debut novel that promises much for future works by this author. What an awesome book! It’s most highly recommended.

Christian Sia

The Stars May Rise and Fall by Estella Mirai is an interesting story that melds pop fiction with elements of LGBTQ to offer huge entertainment to readers, a tale with complex characters and themes of identity, self-acceptance, and the pursuit of dreams. The message on the card read: "I can help you. Call me." When Teru finds it in the dressing room, he thinks it must be a prank. No, he doesn't want to believe it. But this time, he needed some help — all the help he could get — because he had reached the point of despair; his dream of making it in the music industry was dying, and there was no hope with his band mates. Was the decision to come to Tokyo the wrong move? But then he decides to call Rei, a crippled, disfigured composer, and that changes everything, or does it?

The poetic nature of the writing, the insights and streams of consciousness allow readers to feel the pulse of the characters, especially Teru, the frustrated singer. The phone conversation with Rei is the beginning of a journey that will bring two souls together and allow them to explore each other and themselves. And a moment does come for hard choices. Can Teru and Rei follow their hearts and what will be the consequences of their dreams? Estella Mirai creates an exciting world for readers and explores adventures in music, unveiling the questions that haunt many bands and the challenges of team work. But what is most interesting is how personal journeys are developed in the story. The characters are real in their excitement, their deception, their pain, and their hope. Well-plotted and skillfully narrated, The Stars May Rise and Fall is a delight.