Book reviews / Science Fiction

Book review: The Stars are Legion

I had a bunch of people recommend this book to me, so I finally picked it up as I was going on holiday.

My first impression as I was reading it on the bullet train from Shanghai to Beijing was that it was fucking weird. My final conclusion after finishing it after arriving in Beijing is that is it really fucking weird.

I didn’t really like it, soz.

I don’t even know how to begin to describe it. Space Opera isn’t the right phrase, more like space phantasmagoria. There are planets or ships, that are organic but are slowly decaying for some reason. This reason is never really explained. There are hints that it was about mixing people or maybe not mixing people, but it there wasn’t a firm conclusion on what the problem was, which is always super annoying. If you’re going to have some weird maguffin, explain what it is to the poor reader. There are some weird mutant witches?

There’s also some sort of war between some of the ships, but who knows why. That’s never really well explained either. Also why only them? Why is everyone fighting when clearly they are all a bit fucked and can tell? Why is everyone so horrible? I think that always annoys me when everyone is horrible for no reason, which seemed to be a central motivating force for everything.

How do you even describe the plot in a way that doesn’t sound like I’ve had some sort of weird fever dream after watching some horror films. The two central characters Zan and Jayd have to birth a new world (which is exactly what happens…omfg) but there’s a really long drawn out plot that is really fucking ridiculous that was super weird. Zan ends up travelling through the entire world, with different types of women at different levels (yes, everyone is a woman) and they all get pregnant and give birth to stuff the ship needs. IT’S SUPER FUCKING CREEPY AND WEIRD. There’s like weird monsters sometimes? Or the floor tries to eat them? Or whatever.

I liked some of it, the conceit of having Zan not having her memory and piecing together the mystery was compelling. Zan was a pretty decent character, though I felt that Jayd and the other people Zan meets are somewhat one dimensional.

But the main problem I have is that it’s just weird and farcical. I just can’t get over how it doesn’t really make any sense and nothing that happens seems even remotely plausible. It’s just bizarre. I think the concept is kind of interesting but ultimately it just seems implausible. Very weird. Very unlikable.

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