Hello Humans! It’s rather rare that I find myself reading books that are I quite often find books hilarious because they are either bad or silly, but more often than not, the kind of thing I find myself reading is fairly bleak fantasy. Today’s book could not be further from that – Battle Beyond the Dolestars had me cackling from start to finish. This is the kind of story you can’t wait to share with other people, you end up wanting to turn to the person sat next to you on the train to say ‘I’m reading a book where the main character is a bread maker’.
It’s a year since the Battlestar Suburbia broke free from Earth and the human rebellion is hiding out in the asteroid belt. Their leader, Admiral Janice, is assembling a fleet she hopes can topple robot rule – except on Wednesday afternoons when she can do you a half head of highlights for 30 quid.
Janice has given Darren, now the reluctant captain of the teenage starship Polari, a critical mission, to open up a path back to Earth by bombing the Martian Gap Services. But when it goes wrong and Darren and his crew are chased deep into the solar system, Janice has only one hope left, back on Earth.
Here, sentient breadmaker Pamasonic Teffal is resisting the human–machine war the best way she knows how: by running for office. Until a distress signal from Janice persuades her to get her turbo-charged alter ego Pam Van Damme out of mothballs, that is…
Can Pam save the solar system and rescue Kelly from the clutches of her nemesis, the crazed smartphone-turned-cyborg, Sonny Erikzon? Find out in another anarchic comic adventure from the inimitable Chris McCrudden.
So, as you can imagine, this book is fairly high concept. You really have to suspend your disbelief at the start of the story if you want to have a good time. This is not the kind of book where you should ask questions such as ‘wait why does that motorcycle suddenly have arms?’ – you need to put all that reality behind you and just go for it.
Because this book is surreal fun at its core, and I genuinely had the best time reading it. Every character was a delight (even the very evil ones), every pun was another happy groan (you know the kind of pun-groan I mean) and of course, the character who is a printer sometimes prints of memes – of course she does!
I hadn’t really noticed that this was not the first book in a series – whoops – but for those wondering I really think you can go in blind. There are some references to characters from the first book but it felt like a companion more than a sequel (maybe I’d feel differently if I had read them in succession). For now, I would say you can read this in isolation and you won’t be missing out.
What surprised me was that I actually really liked the plot of this book, I thought this would be the kind of high concept book that puts so much work into the ‘what if basic home appliances were the head of the robot revolution’ that you don’t get any real story. In actual fact, this book reads as good (if not better than) some multiple POV science fiction stories I have read. Maybe I’m just more interested in what an alarm clock has to say about war in space than a white man? Who’d’ve thunk?
Overall, I’d recommend this book to anyone who wants to read something radically different. If you’re wanting to inject a little bit of fun into your regular reading, but you also want to read a book that has a genuinely gripping plot – then you can’t go wrong with Battle Beyond the Dolestars.
I did mention there’s a sentient badass motorcycle right?
My rating: 4 / 5 stars
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions are my own.
Battle Beyond the Dolestars is available now!
What say you? Will you be reading this? Let me know in the comments below!