To Sleep in a Sea of Stars
By: Christopher Paolini
It would be just my luck to fall into an empty cavern of parasitic dust and these days I don’t think I’d even have to go to another world to do it.
This was a take two for me with Christopher Paolini as I didn’t really like Eragon (let’s not bring up my bitterness over his teenage book deal okay?) but than again I wasn’t the intended audience for that and a sci-fi first contact with aliens seems way more up my alley.
So Paolini: take two.
Kira’s life is actually in a good place she’s a xenobiologist about to leave service after many years and marry the love of her life. This is exactly the moment you don’t want to go off exploring the strange looking space rocks okay? Kira eventually becomes a venom like creature and then around the same time not one but two alien species make themselves known to our space-faring selves in the most violent of manners.
Hm, maybe it has something to do with Kira’s new suit?
I did actually enjoy To Sleep in a Sea of Stars. I liked Kira and the world building. Both alien species were interesting even if the origin of the second one is a wee little bit wonky. The supporting cast is likable and it has a crazy AI so it’s ticking a lot of my boxes.
Plus pretty cover.
But this is still Paolini the influences are strong in this one. To be fair he doesn’t hide it. It’s a celebration of the genre and you can tell he put a lot of heart into it. It’s really going to be a mileage varies on this type of thing. Because together or separately we’ve seen elements of this story before. Venom, Firefly, Alien, Star Wars anything with a mad AI, etc… but can you overly blame Paolini I mean it’s not exactly a writing law that you have to light the genre on fire with newness.
Few people manage it these days.
Yet it does wear out after a bit which leads me to my second criticism the book is too long. It needed some editing. They just go places and the trips don’t always come to anything and always involve cyrosleep for months at a time and I’m just like does the war pause for this stuff? For such a big book and a space opera story it does take away the urgency of the situation.
There’s like an entire chapter at the end of the book about the research he did into faster than light travel (which all went over my head) and I thought that’s cool but more also…unnecessary. Stop going to sleep! Fight space war!
So I suppose I remain more torn on this one than I thought. I admit to I probably liked it more than I would have thought because it was so easy to see it as a film or a series. It’s a big story with a lot of potential…but Paolini still needs better editors.
Grinch-Meter: I give this a 6 out of 10.
Maybe I’m just a less bitter person overall these days?
Probably not though.