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

Rating: 9.0/10

Synopsis

To Sleep in a Sea of Stars is a brand new epic novel from New York Times bestselling author Christopher Paolini.

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 . . .”

Review

Thanks to the publisher and author for an advance copy of To Sleep in a Sea of Stars for review consideration. This did not influence my thoughts or opinions.

To Sleep in a Sea of Stars is simply astonishing. This is the premiere space opera epic of 2020 and is a fantastic adult debut for Paolini. If you enjoy stories about first contact, traversing the galaxy, uncovering ancient artifacts, and a gigantic space battle, this door-stopper is for you.

I’ll go ahead and lead this review by stating a simple fact: I have NOT read The Inheritance Cycle. I have it. I want to read it. I just simply haven’t. Sorry not sorry.
So to say that I went into this 850+ page work of fiction with high expectations based on the author’s previous works is now mute.

What I can say is that I THOROUGHLY enjoyed this novel; so much so that I devoured it in a matter of a couple of days which I feel that I tend to do with such massive tomes (i.e. Wanderers, Seven Blades in Black, A Game of Thrones, etc). Maybe more authors should stick with this “writing an entire story in one massive novel” idea instead of breaking it off into trilogies or longer (or just for my sake, give me the collection up front).

*Obviously kidding as longer series make for anticipation, mo money, and TBRs. Amirite?*

Paolini’s writing itself was part of what I like most. This doesn’t feel like a YA author taking a stab at writing adult fiction (eyes a couple of authors without mentioning names). The dialogue is smooth and emotionally gripping without all the unnecessary language; romance, though somewhat overshadowed, doesn’t involve a whole lot of fluff or fluffing (get it?); and the characters didn’t make me feel like I was too old to be reading the story and vibing with it.

While world-building played a big piece, I really was enamored with the character of Kira Navárez. From the onset, she is your POV. If you can’t connect with her, its game over. Luckily, she was super easy to root for, and I think an emotional hook in the early stages really helped cement my relationship with her. She also meets a litany of characters along the ride toward a dramatic conclusion that help with comic relief, getting Kira out of her own head, and also keeping her on track with the task at hand.

There is a ton to this book, but revealing one of the biggest pieces practically spoils the whole thing. If you enjoy Paolini’s writing, you probably already have this one pre-ordered. If you like first contact stories with galaxy-wide implications, this should be high on your list. Don’t let the page count scare you off; by the time you are finished, it’ll have been a ride of a lifetime.

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