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

To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini

Published: September 15, 2020 by Macmillan Audio

Buy this book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Rating:

Synopsis: 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: ***Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this audiobook in exchange for an honest review. Thank you NetGalley and Macmillan Audio!***

I wanted to read this book so much. The cover is breathtaking. The author is renowned. The synopsis is striking. I wanted this book more than any book I have wanted in quite a long time. It didn’t disappoint.

Kira was a great narrator to take us through this tale. She studies alien lifeforms for a living. Popping around to different galaxies to discover what she can about different lifeforms that they run across. What she finds on this trip is not at all what she expects and it unwittingly unleashes a war that threatens to consume all of humanity. But what does it even mean to be human after what she discovers anyway? I really loved her narration and watching her evolve through the situation. She reacted much like anyone would in similar circumstances, which is something I always appreciate in a novel character.

The world in this book was just stunning. I don’t think I’ve ever read a world that was more thoroughly and entertainingly rendered. The history, dynamics, politics, all of it was there. I was quickly transported into this universe and I loved it.

The biggest problem with this book was that it was just so long. The print version is 880 pages and the audiobook is over 32 hours long. I loved the story but after awhile it all started to blend together a bit. I was no longer clear what exactly the goal was anymore. And that’s when it started to drag for me. So while I loved this story as a whole, it was just too long.

Review: Providence by Max Barry

Providence by Max Barry

Published: March 31, 2020 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons

Buy this book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Rating:

Synopsis: A dazzling, inventive, and thought-provoking new novel from the ingenious author of Jennifer Government and Lexicon.

Gilly, Talia, Anders, and Jackson are astronauts captaining a new and supposedly indestructible ship in humanity’s war against an alien race. Confined to the ship for years, each of them holding their own secrets, they are about to learn there are threats beyond the reach of human ingenuity–and that the true nature of reality might be the universe’s greatest mystery.

In this near future, our world is at war with another, and humanity is haunted by its one catastrophic loss–a nightmarish engagement that left a handful of survivors drifting home through space, wracked with PTSD. Public support for the war plummeted, and the military-industrial complex set its sights on a new goal: zero-casualty warfare, made possible by gleaming new ships called Providences, powered by AI.

But when the latest-launched Providence suffers a surprising attack and contact with home is severed, Gilly, Talia, Anders, and Jackson must confront the truth of the war they’re fighting, the ship that brought them there, and the cosmos beyond.

Review: ***Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you NetGalley and G.P Putnam’s Sons!!***

This is my second book by Max Barry and I officially just love him! The way he uses words is just extraordinary. His plots seem so simple on the surface but the nuance and depth that they uncover is astounding. I want to talk to him about how his mind works and how he has so many gorgeous ideas. I may have gotten a copy of this for free, but I now own a paid copy of everything of his I can get my hands on.

On the surface, this book is about a war in space with aliens. Four people have been selected to “pilot” an AI controlled warship that is being sent to the far reaches of space to kill the enemy “salamanders”. No one is clear why the salamanders started killing everyone, they just attacked and so humans attacked back. During an engagement the ship makes the crew nervous and they start to wonder if maybe it is fallible after all or perhaps it might turn on them at some point.

The more I read, the more I realized that ultimately that is not what this story is about. This story is about the psychology of warfare. It doesn’t matter who the enemy is. It doesn’t matter why there’s a conflict. It doesn’t matter who is fighting on the front lines except if they can sell it to the public. So put on a smile and make some wartime diaries for the folks back home. And, in the end, it doesn’t even matter that you won it’s all just part of the game of warfare.

I didn’t feel an emotional connection to any of the characters, they seem incidental to the plot and frankly I think that was intentional. They didn’t matter. They were just a vehicle to the story. That was the point. But the ending got me. It made me tear up a bit. Because I finally got the point. It was a beautifully written book. I absolutely loved it.