If you know Kameron Hurley’s work, you know you’re going to get an intensely visceral experience, with plenty of slime. ‘The Stars are Legion’ delivers as expected. The whole book is filled with yucky-but-imaginative and fascinating details, and it’s worth reading just for that.
However, I did have issues with both the plot and the pacing of the novel. It’s an amnesia story: Zan comes to consciousness in the middle of a war; smack in the middle of a vicious ruling family, dependent on what they tell her about who she is, and what her goals are. She’s suspicious- but she seems to be in love with Jayd, who woke her – and that makes her vulnerable.
She’s on (aboard?) one world of the Legion, a swarm of organic planet-ships, which are in various states of decline and decay. Her(?) world is headed by a ruler who’s desperate to take over another, called the Mokshi. And for some reason, everyone seems to be depending on Zan to lead the armada to do the job. Can she? If so, why? Moreover – should she? One thing is for sure: no one here is trustworthy, and everyone has their own agenda.
The plot starts out with space battles galore, but then Zan plummets into the depths of the world, which apparently has many onion-like layers. Those who live within know even less about the outside than the top-dwellers know about the underground. Once down there, the book shifts into a ‘wandering-quest’-type format, strongly reminiscent of a lot of Golden-Age “weird planet” type sci-fi. Zan meets strange people and sees odd things, and tries to get back to the surface. And this went on for quite a long time. I have to admit that I wasn’t that thrilled with all the wandering, or with the amnesia device.
It’s still good – but I didn’t like it as much as several of Hurley’s other writings – for example, ‘The Plague Givers,’ which was on my Hugo Nominations list this year.
Many thanks to Angry Robot and NetGalley for the opportunity to read. As always, my opinions are unaffected by the source of the book.