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To Sleep in a Sea of Stars Kindle Edition
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|Length: 856 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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“A powerful piece of SF, with intelligent writing and big ideas.”―Adrian Tchaikovsky, author of Children of Time
“Fans of all kinds, one can be sure, will come to question, and stay to explore.”―The Wall Street Journal
“The skills honed in his YA fantasy series, Inheritance (Eragon, 2003), are on full display here in his vibrant world building, especially in the mythology of the alien tech. Paolini populates this universe with a large cast of interesting and relatable characters, and mostly avoids reductive good guy/bad guy dynamics, lending the story a sincere emotional depth. Highly recommended for fans of James A. Corey's The Expanse series and for fantasy fans willing to try space opera.”―Booklist, starred review
“Dazzles with otherworldly delights―and unearthly nightmares.”―Newsweek
“This is Paolini's best book so far, skillfully done, brilliantly imagined and cleverly executed. It's accessible and engaging and left us wanting more.”―Starburst Magazine
“Has that charm that is unique to [Paolini's] writing. The ending was fantastic, big and exciting and with the same outside-the-box thinking I now expect from one of Paolini's endings.”―Novel Knight
“The character cast in To Sleep in a Sea of Stars is perfection. Kira is my queen of thorns, and I would trust her with my life and with the fate of humanity.”―Ink and Plasma
“Sure to be one of the biggest literary moments of the year.”―The Portalist
“Just as he did with his fantasy series, Paolini again captured my complete attention with the sheer breadth of his imagination.”―By Hook or By Book
Praise for Christopher Paolini:
“An authentic work of great talent.”―New York Times Book Review
“Paolini is a spellbinding fantasy writer.”―The Boston Globe
“A breathtaking and unheard of success.”―USA Today
“Christopher Paolini is a true rarity.”―The Washington Post
“Christopher Paolini make[s] literary magic.”―People
“The new ‘It’ book of children’s lit.”―U.S. News & World Report
A #1 New York Times Bestseller
A #1 Publishers Weekly Bestseller
A #1 USA Today Bestseller
A Wall Street Journal Bestseller
About the Author
- File size : 15799 KB
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 856 pages
- Publisher : Tor Books; Illustrated edition (September 15, 2020)
- ASIN : B081D7ZSTL
- Publication date : September 15, 2020
- Language: : English
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Page numbers source ISBN : 1250790506
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #2,208 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Rating this book is hard. I've wavered for days since finishing it.
To Sleep in a Sea of Stars is author Christopher Paolini's first foray into adult fiction, specifically science fiction. His well-known YA series The Inheritance Cycle was a fantasy series and magical worlds demand very different things from an author than science fiction. As he points out, you are really limited by "believable" science if your story is to hold together, especially if you're writing an almost 900-page novel. The amount of research and effort he has spent on this novel is evident to the reader and the worldbuilding that results is impressive.
Xenobiologist Kira Navárez's life was on the brink of a happy change. She was newly engaged to her co-worker Alan, a geologist, and they were planning to settle on Adrasteia, the moon of Sigma Draconis, where they have been working together for several months. She is overjoyed when, with the prospect of their mission ending and another of the several separations they've endured on the horizon, Alan proposes they settle down instead. On her final mission, on her final day, she finds an unusual rock formation, with a chemical composition that is unique. In exploring it, she triggers a terrifying series of events that leaves her bound to an alien... artifact? entity? machine? With her world in shambles she must escape from the military and intelligence branches of the League of Allied Worlds and hide her identity when she finds passage on a civilian ship, the Wallfish. In short order, an alien species, the Wranaui, makes its presence known and it is clear they are looking for Kira and the mysterious symbiotic alien she calls "The Soft Blade" bound to her. Only the aliens appear to be at war with each other, as well, in part due to an evolving threat that faces both humans and the alien species.
As I mentioned above, the worldbuilding is beautiful, robust, and in some respects creative and fascinating. The character development, beyond Kira and a few secondary characters, was not always satisfying. I'm mindful that this is the first book in a new series and we may see some of the characters better explored in future books. The relationship between Kira and Alan in the first couple of chapters felt awkward. Is "babe" still going to be popular among humans in the 23rd Century? And honestly, more character development would have meant a longer novel and the novel is, as mentioned, already just under 900 pages. That said, one of my favorite characters was Gregorovich, the Wallfish shipmind. I hope to see more of him in the future. The pacing of the novel was also jarring at times because things start out slowly, then develop rapidly, then slow considerably, then the action happens very quickly and dramatically, then the pace slows again. Yet still, the nature of the aliens, especially Itari, the one that Kira comes to know well, was fascinating and thought-provoking. Paolini manages to capture the simplicity of the human perception of life, freedom, self, duty, purpose, and how those things may be impediments to understanding or embracing an alien culture that is built upon completely different biology, and philosophy. The book comes with helpful Appendices and a full glossary for readers prone to getting lost in the complexity of this story. All in all, I can definitely say that Paolini has grown as an author. I will look forward to the next book in the Fractalverse series.
I was fortunate to listen to an advance review copy of the audiobook, beautifully narrated by Jennifer Hale, whose voicing of various characters, including Gregorovich and Itari is really terrific. This was a 32.5-hour audiobook that flies by with her narration.
I received a paper review copy and an audiobook review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Paolini took several more years off (though he did publish a short story collection taking place in the Eragon universe) and spent those years researching the science that he would eventually use in his first adult novel. And after reading the novel, I must say that the research was definitely done. Mr. Paolini is doing the sci-fi genre justice in that he is using the best knowledge of scientific principles to develop his own world and technology. There is a lot incorporated throughout the novel and I think many sci-fi fans will enjoy it.
There are also instances of the book that remind me a bit of Eragon. It's not that Paolini hasn't grown as an author over the course of two decades, but more so that he has some of his own style that still manages to come through. What's also nice about this book is that, like how Eragon was a good introduction to high fantasy, this book is a good first book for sci-fi, especially adult sci-fi. I think many of those preteens of the 2000s reminiscing about Eragon may pick this up today as adults and it likely will get them to pick up more in the genre.
This almost 900 page novel isn't without it faults. I also found it similar to Eragon in that it is very description heavy. There are definite times where the plot moves slowly due to all the world and content Mr. Paolini is trying to build. In the end I think it's a little too long, but I slightly came in expecting that since I've already been exposed to it through Eragon (as well as other novels and authors). There are definite times that are exciting, though, and some even caught me off guard. The character development could have also been stronger given the page count, but if I am remembering correctly, I don't think an emphasis on character development was high in Eragon either. Paolini vastly enjoys and focuses on the world building and action scenes. So if you read more so for those things, you'll likely enjoy this.
This novel is currently set as a standalone story and feels complete. But Paolini has stated that the world he created here can and will be used in other books. I likely may give them a try, especially if I know I am in the mood for a Paolini tale.
Top reviews from other countries
I can tell you that there is a very interesting and quite incredible story at the back about how this novel came kicking and screaming into existence.
The book is comfortingly long, I like big books when I am enjoying the story and I didn't want this book to end which is why it achieves the full 5 stars, no questions asked.
It is, as the Author very humbly admits, not perfect. That's true but then what is perfection? It is surely subjective.
So I can see dark elements of a Neal Asher book populated with similar charming characters from the Expanse, cheeky references to Alien, an unfulfilled love story, plausible (enough) physics, a satisfying twist on some of Iain Banks imaginings on AI and ships (so often copied these days), even poetry and rousing speeches, Aliens with names we would actually give them (nice that) and driving it along, almost unnoticed is a fine narrative and intriguing plot. Top marks, it may not be entirely original but it sure is a fine book and worth every penny.
Kira is an amazing protagonist. She's intelligent, kind, she's shown to truly care about those she loves and she's been thrown into a literal nightmare. A Galaxy-wide war for survival. Her progression as a character, as a person, is rapid, yet comfortable to read. It doesn't feel rushed, or forced, it's natural and only when you're reading it and you look back a few hundred pages do you realise just how much she's changed. She goes from a frightened, lost, confused woman, battling with the guilt she feels after the suit manifests itself, to a strong, brave, and completely capable person. By the end of Part V she is completely changed, and definitely for the better. Part 6 is where the biggest changes happen, just not in the sense of "Character Development".
The Jellies don't feel too over the top, or like they've been pulled out of a child fiction, like some people seem to think. They're introduced in a fairly normal way, and as the book progresses you realise that they're not all in fact, evil. The nightmares and the Maw, however, are the pure definition of such. Created in a moment of panic, it sets out to consume as much life as it possibly can. It creates an abomination of life, and of spaceships and travel. The corrupted Seed is an interesting species, and in beginning the book, they're not at all expected. Honestly, until they're first introduced, you just don't see it coming, it's an amazing twist, and shows just how much one mistake made in a high-stress circumstance can really f*** everything up.
To Sleep is a fantastic book. It's an 880 page Epic, and personally, if anything in the book was taken out, it wouldn't feel right. There'd be bits missing, the characters wouldn't be as developed, some bits of the plot wouldn't make sense, and honestly, the same would've happened if things got added, too. In that sense, it's the perfect middle ground between not enough to make sense, and too much to the point it's boring, and doesn't make sense. It's well-written, the Exeunts and start of each Part have beautiful poems, quotes or song lyrics that really add to the book, make it feel that much more special.
The ending caught me off guard, but in a good way. It opened up so many opportunities for Chris to write connected books, prequels, spin-offs, etc. But no sequel, unfortunately, even though there was quite the cliff-hanger.
Chris intentionally wrote the last line the way he did to evoke emotion. To reach into the pits of your soul and hit that sense of awe, amazement and childlike wonder. And, it worked. Spectacularly. My jaw dropped at many points throughout, my eyes filled with tears of happiness, and shock, and sadness, and so much more. I felt like I was feeling so many emotions at once, all the way through, but especially at the very end.
This book was impossible to out down, and I finished it all in 4 days. I spent a lot of time when I was not reading it, thinking about it, imagining what would happen next, how the characters would progress, and evolve. And I wasn't right in any of my theories. At all. But I was, however, blown away by all of it.
I wholeheartedly recommend this book, and it will stay with me for years to come, I know that much.
Also, if this feels like I'm only focusing on the good, and not the bad, you'd be correct. Because, for all of it's flaws, it still managed to be a near-perfect Epic, and I couldn't fault it if I tried.
An absolute 11/10. It's long, but it's so worth it
If you do read this CP, a bit of explanation on the very ending, I'm not sure why she's left sleeping, is she waiting for the Seed to detect something before springing into action perhaps? Intriguing all the same...