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Book Review: To Sleep in a Sea of Stars

The first thing I need to say about this book is that the artwork makes my heart so happy. If you purchase the hard cover edition there is a gorgeous image inside the cover of the Milky Way. As I love when nature and art collide, I’m infatuated with the image of the Fibonacci spiral. So the image of the Milky Way reflecting that in this book was incredibly enticing for me on a personal level. It helped build the extremely complicated book that it holds.

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The second thing I need to say about this book is that in its original hardcopy form, it is nearly 900 pages long. One of the main quotes from the story is “Eat the path or the path will eat you”. The same goes for this book. I enjoyed this book and had dreams in the Fractalverse for days after finishing it, however, picking it up and putting it down was exhausting. It takes a bit to cocoon yourself back into this sci fi world- but if it’s your cup of tea it is very worth it to take the time.

Kira, a xenobiologist, comes across an odd reading the day before she leaves the planet she has been studying. She and a team member hop down to check it out, where they discover an odd geological structure they hadn’t encountered in their studies of the planet. There, Kira finds the most dangerous thing she could encounter in possibly the entire universe. A race ensues across space and time as Kira tries to save herself and life as humans know it.

The first novel of Paolini’s new Fractalverse is incredible. Truthfully, I think the author could find himself among names like Tolkein if he stands up to the test of time. His world building creates a nest of characterization and world building that is essentially a chef’s kiss. The science is a little heavy, along with the physical book weight- but the prose is gentle and keeps you moving for more. I find going along for the ride did wonders for me and this book.

His last series, the Inheritance Cycle, had similar elements to it as To Sleep in A Sea of Stars. Approachable characters wrapped in a world. I find myself thinking about the Fractalverse as magical partially because of the association. Science that hasn’t been discovered is like magic to me.This book shows a maturity in writing as well that Paolini didn’t have before, and it excites me to see it happening. Eragon is a well worn book of mine, and seeing Paolini grow through writing is like seeing a mirror of myself in my favorite thing: the pages of a book.

The characters in this book are possibly the most memorable to me. While his detail regarding this new world is phenomenal, the characters are familiar buds of joy to anyone who ingests media. He has it all- Criminals that are moral, ships that are their own character, some aliens, and a ship pig to boot. Once we established our world, the characters really delighted me and helped move everything forward with how humanly and realistically they handled the high stakes situation of saving their world.

I would suggest this book for a long break, where you don’t have much to do and want to fully indulge yourself. This isn’t the book to read while waiting for the doctor or to pick up the kids from school. This is the book to read while stuck in your cabin during a snowstorm. It’ll kill a few days, that is for sure.