“Book Review: Through a Forest of Stars”
Reviewed by Joelene Pynnonen
Political intrigue and a fascinating alien world combine to make for a rousing speculative adventure
In the year 2217, the Earth has been decimated nearly to the point of no return. The remnants of humanity live either on the dying planet or on Mars, while military-style corporations mine distant planets to keep the colonies alive. Hope for survival seems futile when a discovery is made that may change everything.
Then, in the Chara system, a planet is found. The first one that is teeming with life and just as verdant as Earth had once been.
Aidan Macallan aboard the survey vessel Argo is one of the first to see the new planet. While war looms over the new discovery, threatening to eradicate the remnants of the human race, Aidan must find a way to unlock the secrets of the new-found planet if humanity is to have a chance of survival.
Through a Forest of Stars is an intergalactic space opera that would almost count as hard sci-fi if it weren’t for the sprinkling of fantasy throughout. It manages to build and maintain an intricate and complex world without being confusing or boring. As book 1 of the Space Unbound series, this proves to be a promising start.
The scope of Through a Forest of Stars is vast. It’s an epic story that encompasses multiple worlds, a wide range of characters, a desperate and dying Earth, and plenty of space exploration. And it stretches across more than one genre. The political powerplay between humanity’s leaders and the huge corporations they deal with permeates through the pages, but there’s also a sense of wonder at the discovery of a familiar but alien planet. The way that spaceships, the new planet, and space itself functions is fascinating, and I hope will be built upon in later books.
One thing that stands out in this novel is the science. The author, David C. Jeffrey, clearly knows what he’s talking about when it comes to astronomy, biology, physics, and future technologies. The world built in this novel feels authentic. More than that, I’m able to understand much of the science behind the story and never feel bored by it.
There’s a lot to love in Through a Forest of Stars. The rich, sensory details make you want to crawl into the pages and experience the fantastic world for yourself. Everything about the newly discovered planet sounds amazing. The lush description of it echoes my feelings when watching James Cameron’s Avatar, where the world has vague similarities to Earth, but on closer inspection is so much more. The space exploration side of the journey is no less compelling. Snippets of technological worldbuilding are scattered throughout, drawing readers into the world, and fleshing it out into something that feels real.
Stakes are conspicuously lacking throughout this novel though. Yes, the worldbuilding is fantastic and the characters are compelling, but I never felt as though any of them were in immediate danger. The antagonist holds so little page time that he can’t conjure up a sense of foreboding. The protagonist’s side is also so overpowered that it overshadows the sense of dread the antagonist should be raising.
Through A Forest of Stars is a little bit of an adventure, a little bit post-apocalyptic, a little bit of political intrigue, and a whole lot of fun. The careful balance of these elements creates a monumental journey that sweeps readers along for a great ride.
Genre: Science Fiction
Print Length: 441 pages
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