To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini

Sci-fi, 878 pages, published in 2020

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…[Goodreads]

Spoiler Free Review:

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Content Warnings: imprisonment/torture, body horror

I have a complicated relationship with Paolini (and the way he writes women), so I was hoping that this book would restore my faith in. I don’t think it did, but I would be interested to read more in this world.

Paolini is creating a “fractalverse”, similar to Sanderson’s Cosmere. The books will be set in the same universe, but not necessarily related to each other. TSIASOS is a standalone and is the first book in this universe.

Kira, the main character, honestly felt pretty bland. It felt like her reactions to the crazy events going on around her were short and then she was over it. The entire book centers on her and she just wasn’t interesting to follow. There were some weird scenes centering around sex and menstrual cycles that I don’t think were necessary and just felt awkward.

This is a first encounter story, which I do find interesting in general. The aliens in this story were cool, to an extent.

There was a lot of technical, scientific jargon that just went way over my head. There were also appendices that go further in depth, which I did not read. With sci-fi, if the author says something works, I’ll believe them for the most part. I don’t need scientific proof that yes, it does work.

There was a certain aspect of this book that was SO repetitive. It was interesting the first time, but having to read about the same exact situation five or six more times was not fun.

There is an AI in this story that was probably the most interesting part of this book and the most entertaining.

Overall, I just think this book was too long. It should have been shorter or been split into two books, because there was a clear break in the middle. I only felt relief when this book was over.

The ending itself was not what I was expecting. I wasn’t sure where the story was going, but I didn’t think it would go where it is. It didn’t feel satisfying to me and it felt like I had just wasted all the time beforehand.

This story had interesting elements, and to be honest, I would be interested in reading future books in this universe, but this book just did not do it for me.

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