Book Review | To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini


Title: To Sleep in a Sea of Stars

Author: Christopher Paolini

Publisher: Pan MacMillan

Release Date: 15th September 2020

Source: NetGalley

Buy: Amazon UK

To Sleep in a Sea of Stars is a masterful epic science fiction novel from the New York Times and Sunday Times bestselling author of the Inheritance Cycle, Christopher Paolini.

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
Space, the setting for many a good book and many a bad book.  To Sleep in a Sea of Stars has been much heralded, this hefty tome has a lot of hype to live up to, is it it worth it?

It is the 23rd century, Humanity has spread across the universe settling on planets and space stations, exploring and exploiting the new resources they find.  Kira is a scientist, a xenobiologist to be exact, she spends her life surveying uncharted planets to see if they are safe enough to be colonised. A rogue organism on the wrong planet could be deadly.  If you’ve watched Aliens you know that those xenomorphs can cause an immense amount of havoc, not something you’d wish on anyone.

Thankfully Kira does not have any worries about her current location, the planet of Adrasteia, the survey team are all packed and ready to leave.  The planet is deemed safe for the impending colonists, but, and there is always a but,  there is one blip that comes up and Kira is sent to check it out.  She finds something unusual.  Something that is definitely not human.  It is an alien relic of unknown origin but just as she rejoices at this amazing discovery, the relic begins to move and attaches itself to her.  What has she uncovered?

This is not a quick read, it comes in at 880 pages and quite frankly I am glad I have an e-galley of it as having seen the physical book in the flesh, it is a beast.  It could also be about 400 pages shorter but lets get to that in a minute as this is still a four star read in my book.

Kira finds herself bound to the relic, like a skin suit (I pictured something along the lines of Venom but nicer) and she also finds herself smack bang in the middle of an interstellar war.  Humans are no longer alone in the galaxy, two different races of aliens have arrived and it all seems to be linked to the suit that covers Kira’s body.  This humble scientist is about to find herself tested to her physical and mental limits.  Thankfully she wont be alone, she finds unlikely friends in the strangest of places and together they are going to figure out what the hell is going on.

TSIASOS is a good book, the world building is vast, the characters well thought out ranging from us plain old humans, to hive minded scientists and squishy aliens, oh I’d better mention the ships cat and pig too.  I liked this book as it felt like reading about all of my favourite sci fi shows at the same time.  

I can’t decide if this is a good thing or a bad thing, as I read I was drawn to comparisons to 2001 A Space Odyssey, Firefly, Aliens, Battlestar Galactica, The Illuminae Series and of course Venom, though possibly these are little nods, an homage possibly?  Saying that it was all the good things I liked about these that I saw in this book, the friendships, the crazy ship computer, the misfit crews and the fact that space is so amazingly huge and deadly.

Negatives for me, like I said above it is big, too big, as the universe is explored there are at least three or four cases where entire crews go into cryo and after the second time it does get a bit repetitive.  Also the naming of the aliens - the main ones are called the Jellies for their, you guessed it squidgy appearance, the Jellies does not say scary alien being to me.  

But despite my niggles I kept reading and reading, it took me four nights to get through it and I am pleased I stuck with it as it is a good story, one you could see Netflix quite happily making a series out of as going by the descriptions in the book it would be visually stunning.  Is it worth the hype? I’m not sure but it is an enjoyable blast through space.

Thanks to Net Galley for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

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14 comments

  1. Ok, you've given me hope for this book! I've been intimidated but I'd like to get to it next month, it would be perfect for SciFiMonth๐Ÿ˜

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    1. The bare bones of the story is good but the repeated cryo was a bit of a cop out, I dread to think how many pages that took up but I enjoyed it.

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  2. Not my usual genre but I did enjoy your review.

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  3. Sometimes I feel like cryo feels kinda... lazy?... when it happens to often in a story. But this still sounds like the kind of good I'd reach for. Adding it to my list!

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    1. I hope you enjoy it. The cryo just seemed to take up a lot of unnecessary space that could have been filled with something else.

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  4. I am curious despite the repetitiveness. Wonderful review!

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  5. More than 800 pages is indeed a beast to hold at arm's length! Who said reading is no physical activity? So yay for the ereaders LOL

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    1. It is indeed a beast, to think I once said I’d never buy a kindle!

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  6. I've been eyeing this - I'm right on the edge and I think you've pushed me the right way. :)

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  7. I am so glad you read and reviewed this. Despite being overly long also I liked his earlier books. This one will go on my list. I am kind of glad he moved to sci fi.

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    1. This was actually my first book of his, I certainly enjoyed it.

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