Way back when I was in high school, I tried reading Eragon and DNFed after a few pages. I didn’t enjoy it and didn’t think of it again. I assumed it was the way Paolini wrote and that I wouldn’t like any of his further work. Yet when To Sleep in a Sea of Stars came out last year in hardback, I was intrigued. This was a first contact adult sci-fi. It sounded completely different to his other work, and it was getting such good reviews.
I planned on giving it a chance from the moment I first heard of it, but it’s taken until now for me to actually get around to it. I was lucky enough to be sent a free paperback copy with a very cute pin in return for a review from Black Crow PR. I’m so glad I requested it as I can finally say that I read it and I enjoyed it. I’m in a bit of a reading slump, so with the size of it…it was a bit of a slog. But I still enjoyed every second.
The book follows Kira, a xenobiologist who accidentally stumbles upon an alien xenome. As she learns how to live with and control the alien, she also learns that a war has begun, and even worse, that she’s the only one who can save the world.
I really enjoyed this book. I expected it to be good, but part of me was still a little worried. With its size, if I didn’t like it, it would have been a nightmare. As it was, I could only read so much before having to take a break. This book is incredibly dense, and it throws a lot of science at you. There’s a whole appendix of science-related things to read at the end as well which is really cool. Yet, if you’re not very science-minded, it can be a lot.
When I read a book, I’m mostly looking for good characters and plots. And I got that here. I really loved the Wallfish Crew, and Kira was a good main character. She wasn’t too strong-willed or a pushover. She didn’t really want to be doing what she had to do, but she wasn’t going to sit back and let others get hurt either. I will say that there were times where you could tell this woman was written by a man. It was only ever a line or two, and it didn’t take away from the enjoyment of the book. But it did pull me out for a moment as, yeah, that’s obvious. Overall though? Paolini did a great job with her.
The plot was interesting too. There is a lot of travel and skipping as they move from one side of space to the other. But even in those scenes, you get something. Whether it’s an understanding or Kira or more knowledge on how the backstory works. The action scenes were pretty damn good, but I mostly enjoyed Kira and the Wallfish crew interacting. There’s one character on the crew that I panicked when they got hurt, but it turned out okay in the end. Thank god, or I’d have rioted.
This was a really good book. I can’t tell you if the science works or not, as who knows? But I felt like it’s given to the readers in a way that makes sense. On top of that, you have good characters and some really interesting plotlines. The world-building worked well, though I would like to have seen more of some other planets. But overall it was fun, and I’m curious to know what else might happen in future books in the universe.
Title: To Sleep in a Sea of Stars
Author: Christopher Paolini
Age Range: Adult
Release Date: 30/09/21