Bestselling YA author Paolini (
Eragon) ventures into the realm of space opera with a satisfying, far-future epic that questions what it means to be human. Upon discovering evidence of alien life during a survey mission, xenobiologist Kira Navarez expects her career to skyrocket—but a single mistake has disastrous repercussions as an alien organism bonds to her body, forming a second skin. Political frustrations between Earth and its colonies across the galaxy brew in the background as Kira and the alien organism, which calls itself the Soft Blade, enter biocontainment aboard a United Military Command ship. As unfeeling doctors conduct invasive tests, a new species of aliens, dubbed Jellies, attack the ship, drawn by the Soft Blade. The quick-moving plot becomes somewhat formulaic as Kira is rescued by the Earth spaceship Wallfish and slowly finds her place among its misfit crew. Together, they follow clues from the dreams Kira shares with the Soft Blade to find a way to broker peace between humans and Jellies. Kira’s tedious inclination to wallow in guilt gives way to some satisfying character development as Paolini builds to a thrilling finale that more than makes up for the predictable midsection. The high-stakes quest and developing bonds of found family make for a fun epic grounded in an earnest exploration of human consciousness. (Sept.)
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
The author of the YA phenomenon
Eragon crafts a first adult novel featuring Kira Navarez, who's thrilled to be given the opportunity to explore a new world—a far-off planet that looks ready to be colonized. But there she finds a relic that transforms her life even as it poses a monstrous threat to humanity. With a whopping two-million-copy first printing.
Gr 9 Up—;Kira is a xenobiologist who explores the flora and fauna of new moons and planets for the Lapsang Corporation within the League of Worlds. On a barren moon, pale-skinned Kira encounters an alien artifact, a black dust that horrifyingly bonds to her skin. Kira frantically tries to adapt to the alien entity fused to her like a skinsuit, which can control her body and mind, yet also gives her powers she never could have imagined. The League of Worlds and newly discovered hostile aliens pursue her to fight for control of the entity suit, precipitating a brutal war that humans cannot win without the entity's power and Kira's compliance. Kira, along with the crew of the Wallfish and their captain, tan-skinned Salvo Falconi, unlikely allies who rescue her from deep space, must develop a détente with the entity, or it will subsume her and perhaps all of humanity as well. This is epic adventure is fascinating and complex. The book is written in six sections, and though over 800 pages, this is a tense, fast-paced read with nonstop action and a poignant ending. VERDICT With a classic and well-calibrated mix of science and fiction, Paolini has moved from fantasy to sci-fi with a book that will appeal to sci-fi lovers everywhere.— Gretchen Crowley, formerly at Alexandria City P.L., VA
A curious scientist stumbles on mysterious ruins in the opening chapters of this science fiction epic.
Things are really turning around for Kira Navárez. A xenobiologist, she’s finishing up a stint doing research on the large moon Adrasteia with a small team of other scientists, and her boyfriend, Alan, has just proposed to her. Instead of continuing to spend months apart, working on different planets and waiting until they can be together, they'll be able to ask their employers to make them part of a colony as a couple. As Kira performs a few routine last-minute checks before their team leaves the system, something strange catches her eye. She decides to check it out, just to be thorough, and finds herself in the middle of an ancient structure. When her curiosity gets the better of her and she touches a pedestal covered in dust, a bizarre black material flows out and covers her entire body. She passes out as she's being rescued by her team, and when she comes to, she seems to be fine, and the team reports her findings to the government. But soon a kind of strange, alien suit takes over her body, covering her with black material that lashes out violently against Alan and the other scientists, forming spikes that jump out from her skin. A military ship comes to collect what's left of the team and investigate the reports of an alien discovery. When an alien species attacks the ship, presumably because of Kira’s discovery, Kira will have to learn to harness the suit’s strange powers to defend herself and the rest of the human race. Paolini, best known for the YA epic fantasy series The Inheritance Cycle, makes his adult debut in another genre that welcomes long page counts. This one clocks in at close to 900 pages, but the rollicking pace, rapidly developing stakes, and Paolini’s confident worldbuilding make them fly by. Perhaps not the most impressive prose, but a worthwhile adventure story.
A fun, fast-paced epic that science fiction fans will gobble up.
Narrator Jennifer Hale’s outstanding performance brings this story of alien invasion to life. Kira Navárez is a quiet, unassuming xenobiologist working on the fringes of human-settled space. When she comes in contact with unknown organic matter, a biosuit called “Soft Blade,” it changes her world forever. She discovers she must rally her courage to save the universe from destruction. Hale’s portrayal of Kira is mellow and contemplative, reflecting a person who spends most of her time alone in the quiet reaches of space. Hale’s range of differentiation is masterly as she animates all the quirky characters Kira meets. From the rough, snarky slang of an ex-military woman to the half-mad musings of a human “ship mind,” every unique voice enhances the listening experience. N.H. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2020, Portland, Maine
SEPTEMBER 2020 - AudioFile