These Burning Stars

464 pages

English language

Published 2023 by Orbit.

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4 stars (2 reviews)

On a dusty backwater planet, occasional thief Jun Ironway has gotten her hands on the score of a lifetime: a secret that could raze the Kindom, the ruling power of the galaxy.

A star system away, preternaturally stoic Chono and brilliant hothead Esek— the two most brutal clerics of the Kindom—are tasked with hunting Jun down.

And tracking all three across the stars is a ghost from their shared past known only as Six. But what Six wants is anyone’s guess. It’s a game of manipulation and betrayal that could destroy them all. And they have no choice but to see it through.

4 editions

impressive craft

4 stars

Starts off in a stock fantasy of clerics and assassins, and clearly riffing on some familiar themes of space classics, but as this thriller's clever use of flashback and recall keeps weaving a strong set of character relationships and loyalties in unflinching intrigue, the wide-ranging story pulls off a lot of sharp turns without losing the individual threads. I'll likely read the next one, and thankful it's not just left as a part two.

Intriguing space opera

4 stars

Not a perfect debut novel, but a solid and intriguing space opera, full of cruel, coward and calculating characters, even though one important part felt deja vu (a powerful family controls the production of the substance that enables space travel...). All in all, it was an enjoyable read.