Navigating the Stars by Maria V. Snyder Book Review
I loved this book wayyyy more than I expected to and wow, it was such a fun and action-packed journey! Sci-fi books are hard to write and boy did this hit most the right notes for me.
New York Times bestselling author Maria Snyder returns with a compelling new sci-fi series. Perfect for fans of Star Wars and Poison Study.
Year 2471. A new discovery.
Those three words thrill my parents – the galaxy’s leading archaeologists – but for me, it means another time jump to a different planet. One so big, my friends will be older than my dad when we arrive. And I’ll still be seventeen. Thanks, Einstein. I really can’t blame Einstein, though. No one expected to find life-sized terracotta warriors buried on other planets. So off we go to investigate, traveling through space and time.
With my social life in ruins, I fill my days illegally worming into the quantum net – the invention that allows us to travel in space. Of course the only person close to my age is a hot-but-pain-in-the-neck security officer who threatens to throw me into the brig. But when one of the warrior planets goes silent, we have bigger problems on our hands.
The planet’s entire population might be dead. And now my worming skills, along with a translation of an ancient alien artefact, might be the key to finding out why. But my attempts to uncover the truth lead to the discovery of a deadly new alien phenomenon, and also alert those who wish to keep it quiet. The galaxy is in real danger and time is not on our side…A page-turning story of courage and determination in the face of the unknown.
Rating: ★★★★★ (4.75/5)
Let’s get some categories up:
World Building & Plot
There’s a lot in this category; sorry not sorry.
I love a good sci-fi read and as a bit of science nerd who knows like 2% about science and space, it was fun learning some stuff while reading this book. One of the things that have always confused me a little is the concept of time in space and in this novel, it’s a huge aspect. While it can be a little confusing to fully understand it at the start, the concept in this novel is ingenious.
Basically, when you’re going to a planet, it takes let’s say, 60 days to get there, so once you get there it’s been 60 days and you’re 60 days older. However, because they haven’t invented the tech yet, even though it might’ve taken you 60 days to get there, 40 years has actually lapsed in the planet you just left. So once you arrive at this new planet, everyone you knew at your old planet is 40 years older. HOW CRAZY IS THAT? I WAS SHOOK.
The way Maria wrote this concept might’ve been confusing at first, but once you get the hang of it, it’s pretty amazing. Her world building and the plot is also very solid as we are introduced to Lyra, the protagonist whom we already read the point of view from throughout the whole book. She’s been travelling from planet to planet numerous times because her parents are archaeologists researching these terracotta warriors that have somehow appeared across a lot of planets, even though they’re from an ancient Chinese dynasty (like the warriors that protect that famous Emperor irl). The big mystery of their work; wtf brought these warriors there and how did they do it?
Since Lyra has travelled so many times, she understands and grasps the concept of living on a ship and at a research base for a long time (especially the whole leaving friends behind kind of thing), and Maria’s descriptions of life on there are so interesting. Especially soc-time; the mandatory 2-hour socialisation session all kids up to the age of 18 must have. I won’t say anymore but I personally really enjoyed how she set the world-building and the story and it was just so succinct.
The plot was so good. Many times I was so bewildered by the action and it felt so real and had me on edge. It reminded me a lot of Illuminae in how the action was depicted and it gave me goosebumps at times. Another thing I loved from the huge Asian rep, the main character, Lyra is mixed Asian and because of those cool Chinese terracotta warriors, all the planets with them have Chinese names. Yes, I may have skimmed them all because I can’t read Chinese or Pinying but I kind of tried. This hit so close to home because as an Asian girl, it’s cool to read more about Asian things sometimes in YA books.
Lyra was a likeable character, she had a funny kind of snark and was pretty sarcastic. I liked the way her relationships with the other characters including her parents were described and developed. Her worming ability is another cool similarity to Kady’s hacking in Illuminae, but I liked worming and the Q-net was introduced. The love interest, whatshisname, was also an interesting character that was originally the stereotypical brooding bitch but turned into quite a realistic character. I loved how they started to like each other cause I’m trash for the hate to love trope.
I personally liked that this book also featured some great parents. Although they spend so much of their time working, they were sweet and so caring. Other characters I won’t mention were also pretty great and amusing.
While most of the book was very well written, I feel like the writing is the only minor downfall. The copy I read was an advanced one so I can’t say if there are gonna be any major changes in certain written parts but there were some parts of the book that had me cringe a little. Not because of what was happening but because sometimes, the anecdotal writing style just didn’t fit. Reading Lyra’s pov was fine for most of the books but when she sometimes seems to be talking to you specifically or to her “diary” as you might call this writing style, it didn’t always fit so well for me. I could see what Maria was going for in creating a connection with the reader and getting some more humour in there, but personally, I didn’t particularly enjoy those tiny bits. Other than that, the writing was awesome. The dialogue and the flow of the writing was lovely and I just kept wanting to read more and more.
This was a great read, I really enjoyed it. It had action, romance, sciency stuff and Asian rep to its core. I’m SO hyped for the next book because, my god, that ending had me wanting so much more. The plot twists, the action, the suspense, I highly recommend this book to any sci-fi lovers. I was truly super surprised by how much I enjoyed this book, so pick it up and let me know what you think!
I’m low key stressed because I’m not sure when this book comes out, so it has either come out on November 16th or will come out tomorrow on November 19th, 2018. Don’t hold me accountable lol
Thanks for reading!
A big thank you to HarperCollins Australia and Harlequin Teen Australia for kindly sending me the review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.