Book Review: To Sleep in a Sea of Stars
To Sleep in a Sea of Stars is Christopher Paolini's first adult book and his first sci-fi novel. It is book 1 in the Fractalverse.

To Sleep in a Sea of Stars is Christopher Paolini’s first adult book and his first sci-fi novel. It is book 1 in the Fractalverse.

Thank you to Pan Macmillan / Tor for sending me a free ARC of this book in return for an honest review via NetGalley (and huge apologies for how long it’s taken me to read this!).

You can find To Sleep in a Sea of Stars on Amazon, Waterstones, bookshop.org, as well as your local library and indie bookstore. You can also read more reviews on Goodreads.

About this book

Kira Navárez dreamed of life on new worlds. Now she’s awakened a nightmare. During a routine survey mission on an uncolonized planet, Kira finds an alien relic. At first she’s delighted, but elation turns to terror when the ancient dust around her begins to move.

As war erupts among the stars, Kira is launched into a galaxy-spanning odyssey of discovery and transformation. First contact isn’t at all what she imagined, and events push her to the very limits of what it means to be human.

While Kira faces her own horrors, Earth and its colonies stand upon the brink of annihilation. Now, Kira might be humanity’s greatest and final hope…

My review

I was a big fan of Eragon growing up, and I’ve been recently re-reading the series to see how it holds up. While there is a huge gap between the first Eragon book and To Sleep in a Sea of Stars (20 years!) and there are some improvements to the writing, I felt that this did suffer from a lot of the same issues.

First of all, this is very long (over 800 pages) and felt long. There were many sections that felt unnecessary and convoluted, and could have been shorter.

There are many occasions when Kira and the crew are saved just in the nick of time, often unrealistically so — much like in Eragon. Kira is mostly there to move the story along – as the story progresses, I felt like she has less and less personality and becomes more of a story tool. Everyone accepts her theories and ideas on what they should do next without question. It’s mentioned suddenly that Kira enjoys classical music and plays an instrument, but this isn’t talked about much and felt a bit unnatural.

But, the crew of the Wall Fish are the opposite. I loved their banter and jokes, their individual personalities, and even their crazy ship mind, Gregorovich. (And a space pig?! Cute!) The sections when the crew are just hanging out together in the mess hall were my favourite parts of the book.

This doesn’t mean I did not enjoy To Sleep in a Sea of Stars, however. The world-building elements are excellent. I loved the jellies, for example — they feel so believable and I loved that their world is so different to ours. They communicate by smell, which was an interesting idea. The ship minds were great too! I loved that we got to explore Gregorovich’s background — why he became a ship mind in the first place, his background and his frustrations with being a shipmind.

Overall, this was a fun read — I also listened to this on audiobook and the narrator Jennifer Hale does a great job. It’s just a shame that the main character Kira and the convoluted plot lets it down.

About the author, Christopher Paolini

Christopher Paolini was born in Southern California and has lived most of his life in Paradise Valley, Montana. He published his first novel, Eragon, in 2003 at the age of nineteen, and quickly became a publishing phenomenon. His Inheritance Cycle—Eragon and its three sequels—have sold nearly 40 million copies worldwide. To Sleep in a Sea of Stars was his first adult novel.

Visit Paolini.net and Fractalverse.net for the latest news about this project and follow Christopher on FacebookInstagramTwitter, and TikTok.

You can find To Sleep in a Sea of Stars on Amazon, Waterstones, bookshop.org, as well as your local library and indie bookstore. You can also read more reviews on Goodreads.