In case you didn’t notice, I was so lucky to interview Maria V Snyder (!!!), the author of Chasing the Shadows (the second novel in the Sentinels of the Galaxy trilogy). I had previously read the first book last year, called Navigating the Stars (review here!) and really enjoyed it! So it was great to be able to read the sequel ahead of its release last month and interview Maria, so huge thanks to Harlequin Australia for that.
New York Times bestselling author Maria V. Snyder returns with the next page-turning instalment of the new sci-fi series: Sentinels of the Galaxy Year 2522. Lyra Daniels is dead.
Okay, so I only died for sixty-six seconds. But when I came back to life, I got a brand new name and a snazzy new uniform. Go me! Seriously, though, it’s very important that Lyra Daniels stays dead, at least as far as my ex-friend Jarren, the murdering looter, knows.
While dying is the scariest thing that’s happened to me, it morphed my worming skills. I can manipulate the Q-net like never before. But Jarren has blocked us from communicating with the rest of the galaxy and now they believe we’ve gone silent, like Planet Xinji (where silent really means dead).
A Protector Class spaceship is coming to our rescue, but we still have to survive almost two years before they arrive – if they arrive at all. Until then, we have to figure out how to stop an unstoppable alien threat. And it’s only a matter of time before Jarren learns I’m not dead and returns to finish what he started.
There’s no way I’m going to let Jarren win. Instead I’ll do whatever it takes to save the people I love. But even I’m running out of ideas…
‘Smart, witty and full of heart, Navigating the Stars had me hooked from the very first page!’ – Lynette Noni, bestselling author of The Medoran Chronicles
The only way I can correctly express my thoughts on this book is that I have mixed feelings. There were so many things I loved but also so many things I wished could’ve been tweaked just a little more to my liking. I think I’ll start like I usually do with things I really enjoyed because those were very memorable for me.
From the get-go, what I loved in Navigating the Stars carried across to Chasing the Shadows – and that’s the plot. The premise is amazing and the plot is planned out so well that throughout most of it, you can feel the tension falling off the pages (digital pages of my kindle) because the atmosphere and setting were written so well. I never knew what was going to happen and I just kept reading because I really needed to know. What is happening with Jarren? Why isn’t this working? Are they really going to have to wait 3 years until help comes or until they all potentially die? The mythology and mystery behind the HoLFs/shadow blobs were equally intriguing and I’m genuinely keen for the last book of this trilogy because I need answers to this.
Another aspect that I really enjoyed was the development of relationships in the book. In particular, the relationships that Lyra/Ara struggling with in the first book and how she began to navigate them differently as she matured. The development was gradual and well-paced and made Officer (Tace) Radcliffe probably my favourite character. He showed so much personality and growth in this book and despite everyone else being dipshits at some point in the novel, he was one of the only people who actually trusted Lyra/Ara. Not to mention that I loved that Lyra/Ara and Niall’s relationship wasn’t at the forefront of the plot. They were quite cute when together (except when they were incredibly hormonal) and I just really liked their relationship was portrayed in the story.
This book was definitely a lot slower than the first. I remember thinking in the first book that it was going too fast and this sequel made up for that in its well-management slow pace. I actually liked this more because it felt realistic. A lot of the book is Lyra/Ara going through training and literally working her butt off until she’s physically and mentally exhausted. I much prefer reading about a character working hard and getting results rather than her magically learning skills in the matter of a 5 second timelapse (*cough* Divergent movie *cough*). In saying, this novel pushed further into the ‘chosen one’ trope which I personally hate so I wasn’t a fan of that but I do appreciate the message in this book, that even if you’re the chosen one, you still need to work hard and push to get your ideas and thoughts heard. Lyra/Ara is constantly being overlooked or people getting pissed because she’s managed to do something to help them and that made me so mad.
Of course, all books are subjective to the reader and this obviously showed here with some of the things I didn’t really enjoy. The first is that I wasn’t a huge fan of was how the action scenes were written. They were written really well for the most part but then you’d realise two paragraphs later that you either missed a bit of information or it wasn’t communicated properly. I think it was personally just a little hard to visualise and could have been edited a little better.
Second and probably the thing I detested the most was that Lyra/Ara’s voice just continued to not suit my reading preferences. Is this because I’m getting older? Is it because her voice is too young for me to empathise? *slight early quarter-life crisis ensues* because frankly, I did not enjoy her narration at all. It felt too juvenile for a majority of the time, I really didn’t like how she kept breaking the 4th wall and talking to the reader (way more than in the first book) and it sometimes felt like she was trying too hard to be funny and comical. The dialogue with her parents sometimes followed this too with continuous ‘teenager’ jokes that came off quite cringy.
BUT. The ending likely saved it all for me. That ending killed me a little bit because of how shocking it was. I am again awaiting the next book because although I hated the narration, I want more.
What did you think of this novel if you’ve read it? Have you checked out the author interview? Tell me all your thoughts!
Until next time,