Although I am familiar with the author Cristopher Paolini having seen his books in shops and libraries I have not actually read any of them or seen the film so I was able to approach this book with fresh eyes. From what I have heard The Inheritance Cycle is written for teens whereas this book is aimed at adults.
What can I say, I enjoyed this amazing book enormously and in my opinion it is the most gripping and involving science fiction I have come across for some years. I even had to eke out reading it as I felt quite sad that I would eventually come to the end of the story which is unlike me. This is a sizeable book in more ways than one and it has been quite a task to review it with no spoilers.
Firstly, it is an 880 page epic and I was quite worried it may prove plodding and dull because it is so long but the book is never boring. The action starts almost immediately and really never stops so please do not be daunted by its sheer size.
Secondly, the ideas and concepts are also huge. To Sleep in a Sea of Stars gave me a real feel of the immensity and vastness of space. I find a lot of novels that are space based, especially those that are set on star ships or single planets, feel small, confined and rather claustrophobic. But this story is freer, it is expansive and fast paced. It also gave me a sense of the time and the enormous amount of power it takes to actually cross space from one part of the galaxy or from one planet to another. Obviously in a science fiction book there is future technology. Paolini has managed to make this understandable and credible. He also does not patronise readers with long descriptions or tedious explanations of this future tech when most of the time it is obvious what it is for. I am not a science expert though and I think this book is not aimed at hard core Sci Fi buffs as they may find it a little
The descriptions of other planets are vivid, believable and fascinating as are the various kinds of aliens and creatures, some of which are very nasty, that are encountered in the book.
The main character is Kira who is thrown into a massive intergalactic kerfuffle just by falling down a hole by accident. This moment changes not only Kira’s life but that of everybody in the galaxy around her. Kira and the various other human characters are likeable, realistic and empathetic. This is a vivid book that is full of action and I found it had no dull moments for me. It never disappoints and I suggest you read and enjoy the marvellous story telling within it.
Reviewed by Sara Boorman
Published by Tor, 1st edition / proof
Publication date: September 2020
ISBN: 978 1 5290 4650 2