Review: To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini

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A brand new space opera on an epic scale from the New York Times bestselling author of a beloved YA fantasy series.

It was supposed to be a routine research mission on an uncolonized planet. But when xenobiologist Kira Navárez finds an alien relic beneath the surface of the world, the outcome transforms her forever and will alter the course of human history.

Her journey to discover the truth about the alien civilization will thrust her into the wonders and nightmares of first contact, epic space battles for the fate of humankind, and the farthest reaches of the galaxy.

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Thank you very much to Pan Macmillan Australia for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

TO SLEEP IN A SEA OF STARS IS SET FOR PUBLICATION 15 SEPT, 2020

Preorder the novel:
Pan Macmillan | Dymocks | Amazon | Booktopia | QBD | Readings

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“See you by the light of a strange star, Captain.”

When I was in high school, I loved Christopher Paolini’s Inheritance Cycle and the moment I found out he was writing an adult sci-fi novel, I knew I had to get my hands on an early copy. And, wow, I’m so glad I did.

Kira is a xenobiologist, a scientist that studies planets to see if they’re viable for human life. She’s sent on a last minute mission to investigate the planet she and her team have been living on for months — a mission that is supposed to be quick and simple and afterward, she can begin her life with her new fiancé. But while she’s there, she comes across an alien relic that attaches itself to her. Before she knows it, she’s in the centre of a galactic war that she wants no part of, with humans and aliens alike fighting to gain control of the relic that won’t leave her alone. And things only get worse from there.

To Sleep in a Sea of Stars starts off strong and doesn’t let up for the entire 880 pages. This book is an accomplishment and it shows — in the afterword, Paolini reveals that he’s worked on the novel for nine years, and I can definitely believe that. The worldbuilding is so fascinating and draws you into the story. I think the most interesting elements are Earth and Venus being considered the ‘ultimate’ planets, where only rich people are allowed to reap the benefits that they provide, while everyone else is forced off-world. The development of multiple alien cultures is also incredibly well done, and I wanted to know more about them, especially The Vanished.

If you like action-driven novels, then you’re going to love To Sleep in a Sea of Stars. Like many sci-fi books, there’s a lot of emphasis of battles, fighting, and travelling from planet to planet. But there’s also equal time devoted to found families, friendship and bonding. I really enjoyed Kira’s developing friendships with a group of space privateers that save her and welcome her onto their ship. This ragtag group quickly stole my heart and I really enjoyed reading their interactions with each other, seeing how close they are with one another.

To Sleep in a Sea of Stars is a first contact with aliens novel, a real traditional sci-fi novel. If you’re coming from Paolini’s other works, like I did, you might be in for a shock because this is completely different from anything he’s ever written before. But it’s still an incredibly well-written book that you will eat up — for an almost 900 page novel, the pages just flew by. The book is a bit science-heavy, but Paolini’s descriptions wonderfully explained the mechanics behind the fantastical technology, both human and alien.

I was also lucky enough to receive an audiobook of To Sleep in a Sea of Stars from Libro.fm, as it was one of the influencer picks for September. It was so much fun switching between the audiobook and the physical paperback. Jennifer Hale, the narrator, is fantastic — she made this book and the wonderful characters shine. Her voices for multiple characters were spot-on, and there were many times I forgot there was just one narrator, aside from a full cast. If you get the chance, I highly recommend listening to the audio!

If you’re a sci-fi fan, then you’re going to love To Sleep in a Sea of Stars. From powerful battle scenes to fascinating worldbuilding of interesting alien creatures and technologies, this isn’t a book you want to miss!

6 thoughts on “Review: To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini

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