WARNING: I’ve managed to complete about 40% of this novel before quitting.
To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini is a new science fiction epic novel. I’ve read that the author is responsible for some really amazing fantasy works written previously for the YA crowd and that this would be his first foray into an adult novel. I haven’t done so in a long while but unfortunately I have to put this novel into my did-not-finish category. Things I think would have helped me finish the novel:
Create a more interesting cast – Up to the point I stopped reading, there were absolutely no character of interest. Not one. Each and every one of them were just boring and have no real identity. I feel like the main lead, Kira, is not strong enough a character to lead a novel of this epic size by herself. She just doesn’t have any charisma or traits that makes me drawn to her, care for her outcome and well being, etc.
Introduce a different character POV – This is due mainly to my first point. It got really tiring after a while to have to read chapter after chapter of Kira’s POV only. Maybe if the author introduced a sidekick of some sort, it may have helped although if that character is also boring like the rest, it may not help that much but at least it breaks up the monotony of each and every chapter. If the author intended for Kira to be the lone heroine, then maybe a POV from the alien’s side? It’s obvious that sooner or later in the story that Kira will need to engage with the aliens so why not create a POV to better present their side of the story?
More original plot – When I read of the alien organism and what it did to Kira, alarms and sirens went off in my head. I feared it would turn into some type of superhero/superpower type ordeal which I personally didn’t prefer reading. The story still felt a bit YA-ish and adding some gore and swearing doesn’t mask that. There’s a sense that the universe is huge and expansive but yet it never felt that way with how the story was being told. You have stories such as the Silo trilogy by Huge Howey where the people are basically living in underground bunkers yet the world around them felt larger than what I got here. It felt once again like the author was trying to cover this up by using big boy science terminologies to describe things whenever possible.
I think this novel would be a hit for the young adult crowd that dabbled with the author’s previous fantasy novels and now want to experience something similar in the science fiction genre.