Björn Friedrichs

That's me

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Published February 24th, 2022

Read: To Sleep in a Sea of Stars

Before we get into it, I must admit I'm not (or at least have not been recently) a big reader. But in an effort to reduce the impact of using internet connected devices all day long I recently acquired a Kindle. So my bed time now consists of an hour of reading instead of browsing Twitter or other social media mindlessly. After a few weeks I can really just recommend it.

But back to what is at hand. The reason why I chose To Sleep in a Sea of Stars was that when I was in my teens (and still reading) I loved the fantasy series Eragon by Christopher Paolini. Fantasy books have been and probably forever will be one of my favourite genres. It's the equivalent of watching a classic sitcom on TV, allowing you to calm down, engross yourself in the world of the author and forgetting whatever might be on your mind from the real world. Therefore I was happy to see that he finished a new work in the time I was away and was eager to read it. The page count of 800+ pages didn't deter me as much as it probably should have, not quite a light read to start the habit.

In the book we accompany the main character Kira Navarez on a mad dash throughout the galaxies(!). On what feels like an endless chase (caused by an alien species) from system to system she is trying understand what is happening around her and everything cumulates in a big face-off bemidst the starships, planets and other oddities. It's a blur of the classic sci-fi overexposure where terms like "Markov drive", "sublight travel" and "Casaba howitzers" are expected to be your normal. This took me a bit to get used to as I usually prefer past-time fantasy but as I got on it very quickly was a non-issue (and might have even sparked more interest in similar stories).

In general the book very much follows Paolinis style and while more adult than Eragon I would still firmly class it as a young adult novel. Especially so since even though Kira is an adult, some of the passages make her sense of wonder and ongoing discoveries seem like the equivalent of a coming of age story. I think part of the reason why it's so easy to engulf yourself in the world is exactly the "simple" and even cheesy way environments but also characters and emotions are described.

Even as someone who likes the style and usually was looking forward to reading more and finishing the book I think there are some negatives. The entire mid-section of the book feels like a chase from A to B to C without an overarching pay off. There are intermediate highs and lows but the overall plot really stretches without pulling all the strings it probably could have. Similarly, there is a lot of questions that were unsatisfyingly left unanswered. I understand Paolini set himself up for more books in a series but I didn't like how some strands were just left completely hanging, not in a "I can't wait to see what happens" but in a "this could have been mentioned in half a paragraph to give the little closure it needed" kind of way.

That being said, overall if you enjoy fantasy novels (or especially Eragon) I would recommend To Sleep in a Sea of Stars. It certainly is not perfect nor a quick read, but it is easy and enjoyable. A comfort read if you will. And a great fit for filling the gap before sleep, offering an escape from real life commitments.

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