Hello Humans! Thankyou for the patience as book reviews start to become a tad more scarce – those who follow my vlogs will know I’m SO CLOSE to finishing my TBR, but fewer books to read means fewer reviews to write. There are a fair few new release reviews coming up so stay tuned. When the TBR is done there shall be a book haul to rival all book hauls and then the reviews will flow – too dramatic?
Today I’m reviewing Christopher Paolini’s first foray into Science Fiction To Sleep in a Sea of Stars. As someone who has never managed to shake her love for the Inheritance saga I was tentatively excited to read a new book from Paolini – not just because it had been quite a while since we’d had anything new and this was quite the big book!
Now I will say – for those of you who prefer video content I have filmed a review of this book so you can see me talking about all the things! I never really know whether to crosspost these things or if that would feel irritating but hey!
Kira Navárez dreamed of life on new worlds. Now she’s awakened a nightmare. During a routine survey mission on an uncolonized planet, Kira finds an alien relic.
At first she’s delighted, but elation turns to terror when the ancient dust around her begins to move.
As war erupts among the stars, Kira is launched into a galaxy-spanning odyssey of discovery and transformation. First contact isn’t at all what she imagined, and events push her to the very limits of what it means to be human.
While Kira faces her own horrors, Earth and its colonies stand upon the brink of annihilation. Now, Kira might be humanity’s greatest and final hope . . .Find on Goodreads | Amazon (Affiliate)
My overwhelming impression of this book is that there is a lot in there. I mean a lot. The UK hardback clocks in at over 800 pages and despite the fact that the chapters are broken up into lots of smaller sections there is still a huge amount of text.
In some ways that is a good thing, I certainly felt like there were parts of this book that would appeal to many different readers. I personally like character driven science fiction so my favourite moments were the dialogue with other characters and the moments where Kira got more introspective. I was less keen on the space battles because I find whenever there is more than one battle in a book they tend to just blur into one for me – but if space battles were your thing then maybe you would really love that part of the book! Maybe that’s a double edged sword in that there is something for everyone but I don’t know how many people would adore the book in it’s entirety. But hey – 800+ pages loving every word would be a lot of work.
I did think this book maybe edged into the ‘too much detail’ mark. There were points where it felt as though Paolini was desperately trying to plug plotholes before they had even turned up. That’s ad admirable thing to do – especially since he admits in his author’s note that he had to do a lot of research to get things right as he isn’t a scientist – but as a reader I quite often just want things to be taken as read. Tell me something one time I will accept that it happened every time, I don’t need to be told each time it happens.
Speaking of science and being a scientist I thought it worth mentioning that I didn’t feel like this book got bogged down in science. That was actually one of the moments where things could be taken as read. The characters knew how faster than light (FTL) travel worked and I could be blissfully ignorant. But if you are the kind of person who wants to know then there is an addendum which explains things. I personally didn’t need to know and cannot fact check that but hey it’s there!
I liked Kira as a character, and given that the entire book is centered on Kira it’s a good thing I did. I thought it was interesting to set her up as a Xenobiologist and then not have her do much science as the book went on. I found a lot of similarities between this book and superhero stories – where the main character kind of gets absorbed by their superhero identity and their past is a little less important. I mean fair play to Kira she is dealing with a lot in this book but I might have liked to see a little bit more of that scientific analytic mind at play in the story. It is interesting to see such a huge book take one character’s story – where the trend seems to be focusing on larger ensemble pieces.
Overall, I probably enjoyed around 60% of this book – and I think the percentage to which any reader will enjoy it will hugely vary based on exactly what it is you enjoy in science fiction. But personally I found that this book met my expectations of being pretty good without totally blowing my mind. I would definitely say it is a book to give yourself the time and focus to read, you don’t want to have a dozen other books on the go – because there will certainly be points where you might be a tad less interested and you need to power through those moments to get to the really good bits. So should you read it? I would say that if you’re even considering picking up such a hefty science fiction book you’ve already kind of decided…right?
My rating: 3/5 stars
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions are my own.
To Sleep in a Sea of Stars is out now!
What say you? Have you picked this up? Are you planning to? Let me know in the comments below!