Title: The Cruel Stars
Author: John Birmingham
Publication Date: Aug. 20th, 2019
eARC provided by publisher through NetGalley. All opinions are my own.
Synopsis: “The galaxy was once terrorized by the Sturm, a group of “species purists” intent on destroying any human with genetic or cybernetic enhancements. Fashioning themselves as the one true “Human Republic,” the Sturm cut a bloody swath across the stars, killing billions before finally being defeated and driven into the far reaches of Dark Space. Centuries of peace bred complacency. Everyone believed the Sturm had died out in the Dark. They were wrong.
The enemy has returned and, with a brutal and decisive attack, knocks out almost all of humanity’s defenses. Now on the brink of annihilation, humankind’s only hope is a few brave souls who survived the initial attack: Commander Lucinda Hardy, thrust into uncertain command of the Royal Armadalen Navy’s only surviving warship. Booker3, a soldier of Earth, sentenced to die for treason, whose time on death row is cut short when the Sturm attack his prison compound. Princess Alessia, a young royal of the Montanblanc Corporation, forced to flee when her home planet is overrun and her entire family executed. Sephina L’trel, the leader of an outlaw band who must call on all of her criminal skills to resist the invasion. And, finally, Admiral Frazer McLennan, the infamous hero of the first war with the Sturm hundreds of years ago, who hopes to rout his old foes once and for all–or die trying.
These five flawed, reluctant heroes must band together to prevail against a relentless enemy and near-impossible odds. For if they fail, the future itself is doomed.”
Here’s the thing, I don’t know if it was just me but I just couldn’t get into this book like I wanted. The synopsis sounded fantastic and the cover is amazing but it just didn’t live up to the ideals in my head.
I am usually one that loves multiple point of views but it was hard to follow along in this particular book. I didn’t find myself connecting with the characters or feeling interested in their lives or their quest to save earth. It didn’t feel like they had much character development. The characters were just thrown at us from the beginning with not a lot to go off of.
The plot was interesting for the most part and had a few surprises I wasn’t expecting. That is always a plus. We get to glimpse at the invaders ideology and what drives them. To them, they are just doing what they think is right. Although there is quite a bit of action packed scenes, at times the pacing slowed down. This also happens more often in the later part of the book as well.
One thing I did enjoy was the comic relief. Even though things are going wrong and there is a lot of gore to be seen, the characters find time to joke or mention Lord of the Rings. It adds a nice touch and makes the story a bit lighter at times.
Overall, I wish I had liked it more but I know that others will enjoy this book even if I didn’t.