book reviews by Althea

The Stars Askew – Rjurik Davidson ***

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The Stars Askew
The Stars Askew by Rjurik Davidson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I eagerly got this from the library as soon as it came out: I’d read Rjurik Davidson’s two previous stories set in this world (Unwrapped Sky…, and Nighttime in Caeli-Amur,…) and absolutely loved both of them. Unfortunately, I had a really hard time getting into this direct sequel to Unwrapped Sky.

‘The Stars Askew’ is a very astute exploration of what happens after a revolution – when glorious ideals start falling victim to the ambitions and power struggles of those who planned a coup, and the new leaders turn out to be just as corrupt – if not worse – than those they recently supplanted. It’s true-to-life – an important elucidation of real truths.

However, as far as story goes- I just couldn’t manage to get into the flow of the plot or to care deeply about the characters. Perhaps it’d just been a bit too long since I read the last book. This one follows the characters we’ve already met, including the main one, Kata. But for those who don’t have the previous part of the story fresh in their minds, it can seem choppy, as we jump between events happening in different places, with a few different people and situations, and little reminder of who they are and how they got there. The setting also feels a bit less ‘weird,’ and more reminiscent of the historical French Revolution.

The three main plots follow the characters:

Kata, who is still in the city of Caeli-Amur. She has found herself in a leadership position after the revolution, but the revolution is quickly splitting into factions, and her allies are turning up murdered…

Armand, formerly a leader, has been sent to the ‘salt mines.’ (Actually, what they’re mining is worse than salt, and far more poisonous.) He has hopes of escape, but as fellow prisoners die around him, a miracle seems less and less likely.

Max, who’s mind has been hijacked by the ancient ‘god’ Aya. The two personalities war for dominance, as they travel with conflicting agendas…

Overall, it wasn’t bad, it just didn’t live up to my extremely high expectations. I’d still read more from this author.

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