To Sleep in a Sea of Stars begins on a happy day in Kira Navárez’s life. She and her fellow pre-colonization expedition are wrapping things up after studying a planet to verify it is safe for colonization. They’re ready to leave, her lover Alan has asked her to marry him and they are even hoping to come back and help settle this planet. However, a drone saw something puzzling and she jets off to check it out. She discovers an alien artifact or, it could be said an alien artifact discovers her. From there, the story spirals into a an existential battle for the survival of humanity.

This is a massive sci-fi adventure that happens well after we have learned FTL (faster than light) technology and the use of cryogenic stasis for long-term travel. We have been colonizing planets for three hundred years with only one sign of extraterrestrial intelligence, a huge construct that was certainly created by alien life, but those who built it are long gone. But once Kira finds the artifact, suddenly colonies are under attack by not one but two kinds of aliens, the Jellies and the Corrupted. What role did her discovery play in this new threat to humanity.

Sleep in a Sea of Stars is an exciting and gorgeous book. I love the world-creation and the imagination that gives us aliens who are not the usual bipeds. They are truly alien. I love how different their language is and how completely different their understanding of free will and existence is. Paolini imagines such a vibrant and different species with the Jellies that I am blown away.

It was hard to put the book down and I stayed up into the wee hours more than once. I hate to tell you anything because I don’t want to spoil any of the surprises and excitement of discovery. I love that this story is very much about Kira vs. Kira as much as about Kira and humanity vs. the aliens. I loved so many characters, most of whom were far more complex than most secondary characters. Exciting plot, well-developed characters, and a strong sense of place in places we have never been come together in a phenomenal book.

I received an e-galley of To Sleep in a Sea of Stars from the publisher through NetGalley.

To Sleep in a Sea of Stars at Tor/Forge  Macmillan

Christopher Paolini author site