Book Reviews

BOOK REVIEW: August Kitko and the Mechas from Space by Alex White

August Kitko Rating**Thank you to Orbit Books UK for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review**


Jazz pianist Gus Kitko expected to spend his final moments on Earth playing piano at the greatest goodbye party of all time, and maybe kissing rockstar Ardent Violet, before the last of humanity is wiped out forever by the Vanguards–ultra-powerful robots from the dark heart of space, hell-bent on destroying humanity for reasons none can divine.

But when the Vanguards arrive, the unthinkable happens–the mecha that should be killing Gus instead saves him. Suddenly, Gus’s swan song becomes humanity’s encore, as he is chosen to join a small group of traitorous Vanguards and their pilots dedicated to saving humanity.


A highly entertaining and action packed space opera that cranks the volume up high!

August Kitko and the Mechas from Space takes place far into the future at the end of the world. Giant alien robots with their shapeshifting robotic beasts in tow, are zipping around the galaxy destroying the countless worlds humanity has ventured out to and Earth is up next. After a fall out with famous pop star Ardent Violet, Gus Kitko is aimlessly wondering the “greatest goodbye party of all time” alone but decides to see the final moments out by playing some piano. Except his jazz resonates with Greymalkin, one of the Vanguards that crashes onto the planet, and rather than destroying him it chooses Gus to be its Conduit to help it fight.

When it becomes apparent that Greymalkin is not the only Traitor Vanguard, both Gus and Ardent find themselves drawn into a mission to prevent humanities annihilation.

“We might live in a tragedy, but we can still deserve happiness.”

This was such an entertaining read and gave me major Transformers and Pacific Rim vibes with some added rock ‘n roll and great queer rep. Though the beginning is a little slow it’s not long before the chaos kicks in and grabs your attention. Both Gus and Ardent were such fun protagonists to follow, I loved their individual personalities and their relationship was sweet despite developing a little fast / being a bit insta lovey but hey it’s a book set at the end of the world so..

The worldbuilding was really well established and the heart racing action and battle scenes gave the whole story a cinematic edge.

The idea behind the Vanguards/mechas and their accompanying ghosts was equally fascinating and terrifying – be aware there is a fair amount of body horror involved. However, I really loved the involvement of music in both the overall plot and the process of bonding with the mechas, who each had their own unique characteristics too.

“The only thing more intimidating than a friend is one who makes plans.”

My only real issue with the book was that I got lost with some of the music/musicology lingo. Not being much of a musician myself there were some conversations and descriptions that were just flying over my head and in a scifi book where there is already going to be a handful of obscure science lingo that I am only half going to understand without Google, having the two together meant I was feeling more than the usual amount of confusion at times.

This did not diminish my overall enjoyment of the plot and development of the characters though and I am looking forward to seeing where The Starmetal Symphony is going to head to next!



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