Book: To Sleep in a Sea of Stars
Author: Christopher Paolini
Genre(s): Science Fiction
Release: September 2020
I was so incredibly excited for the publication of To Sleep in a Sea of Stars (TSISAOS) – Paolini’s first book in over a decade, and one of my favorite authors as a child. I knew this would be nothing like his previous books, but still, the nostalgia hyped up my interest in reading this book significantly, and I wasn’t disappointed.
An epic space adventure (with almost all the elements of a classic space opera except for the serial part), TSIASOS is set far into the future, where you’ve got Kira Navárez, a space scientist who does standard science-y stuff with her crew, hopping around from planet to planet collecting samples and data. Her days are pretty routine, until one day, they aren’t – and things go sideways fast. Next thing you know, you’ve got aliens and galactic war galore! The story follows Kira through her adventures in space, and her journey toward saving humanity.
Without spoilers, I’ll say I really enjoyed the story. Some parts were long and unnecessary, and at times I felt Kira was a bit under-developed even though she was the main character, but overall it was solid. It made me laugh, it made me tense up with suspense and anticipation of what was coming next, and it had me rooting for the main characters almost the whole time. The thrill of space and first-contact with aliens was done well, if not predictably, and Paolini seems to have intentionally left some questions unanswered (hopefully in anticipation of a sequel!) so I’m trying not to take that personally.
My favorite part about this several-hundred page behemoth was the writing. It was gorgeously written, with so much description and detail that as a reader, I was fully immersed in not just the story, but the world. It felt real, from the physics of the spacecrafts to the interactions with the aliens. It was exceedingly well-planned and thought out, and I commend Paolini for his attention to detail.
So, rambling over, to sum up: I enjoyed this story, a lot. I think a bit more editing could have been done, but it turned out great. I think the audiobook would be even better, because Jennifer Hale narrates it and there were some bits that I would have preferred to been read, instead of reading myself. Overall, great epic science fiction novel!