Review: To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini

To Sleep in a Sea of Stars

Author: Christopher Paolini
Publisher: Tor Books
Released: September 15th, 2020
Received: BookishFirst
Warnings: Torture, non-consensual medical procedures, body horror
Rating: 4 1/2 kitties

I received a copy of To Sleep in a Sea of Stars in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Can you believe it? Christopher Paolini is back, only this time he isn’t diving back into the world of fantasy! Instead, he’s taking a swing at science fiction. From the moment this book was announced, I knew that it was going to be one epic adventure.

To Sleep in a Sea of Stars is an epic and massive space opera. One that dives in headfirst into a universe full of aliens, advanced technology and so much more.

Once upon a time, Kira Navarez had a job she enjoyed, a man she loved, and a desire to settle down and make a life for herself. Then one day, everything changed. The sudden appearance of alien tech, followed immediately by aliens themselves, changed her world forever. As did it change the life of every other human out there.

This is the tale of first contact like you’ve never seen before.

“I am the spark in the center of the void. I am the widdershin scream that cleaves the night. I am your eschatological nightmare. I am the one and the word and the fullness of the light. Would you like to play a game? Y/N”

Spoiler Warning

Warnings: To Sleep in a Sea of Stars brings with it a beautiful science fiction world, but it also has some heavier points and scenes as well. There are scenes depicting non-consensual medical procedures/torture, as well as a fair share of body horror. Consider yourself warned.


Holy cow. I can’t believe that after all these years, Christopher Paolini is coming out with another book. More than that, it’s a science fiction novel! I was so excited when I heard the news, and even more excited when I managed to get my hands on an early copy.

So, is it worth all the hype? Yes, a million times yes! This is arguably one of the most in-depth space operas I’ve read in a good long time. That probably shouldn’t be such a shock, considering that To Sleep in a Sea of Stars is a whopping eight hundred and eighty pages long. Yes, you read that right. This is a beast of a book.

Oddly enough, I think that’s my one less than positive comment on the book. There are several points in this story that could have been the perfect stopping point. I can see it easily being two books, and having it be just as amazing.

Not that I’m really going to complain about getting two books for the price of one. I’m not that crazy. I’m especially not going to complain, because I really did enjoy Kira Naavarez’s story, and every little detail (which there is a lot of) of it.

“She’d been through this before – Adra wasn’t the first prospective colony the company had posted her to – and after seven years spent jetting around from one blasted rock to another and spending nearly half her time in cryo, Kira had begun to feel a serious need for…friends.”

It has been a long time since I picked up a novel I couldn’t read over the course of one or two nights. Even if this book had been shorter, I don’t think I could have done it. Christopher Paolini clearly did a ton of research when writing this book, and the end result is a seriously sense piece of work. Not just in page count, but in content as well. It’s a book that makes you stop and think, on more than one occasion. So be sure to set aside a good amount of time for this beauty.

Having read Paolini’s previous works, I can honestly tell you that I think I like his science fiction better. Mind you, that’s coming from someone who liked his original works, so that statement is meant as a sincere compliment.

“Eat the path, or the path will eat you.”

I’ve been sitting here for the last five minutes, trying to think of what I want to say about this novel. Part of me wants to say I love it, and leave it at that. The other part of me wants to gush about it for the next five hours.

There’s got to be a happy medium there, right? Let’s say this: there is so much to love about To Sleep in a Sea of Stars. As a huge fan of space opera (something I had been craving recently as well), I can honestly tell you that this tale is pure perfection.

It dives deep into the world of speculative science fiction, and that isn’t a bad thing. This is a tale that took an original idea, and pushed it to the farthest limits. It was not something I expected to see, but then again, given the author, maybe I should have seen that part coming?

The characters inside are wonderful. Kira is the leading lady, and she is as complex a character as they come. The supporting characters are every bit as complex and unique as she is, at times carrying the story for her.

There are subplots upon subplots, as first contact carries all of the characters onward in an adventure that they never could have expected or prepared for. It was a surprising journey at times. Sometimes it was hopeful, and other times heartbreaking. In that way it felt very grounded.

In short, I truly loved every minute I spent reading To Sleep in a Sea of Stars. In fact, I won’t be at all surprised to find myself reading it once again in the near future. No matter the time investment, it is worth it.

About Liz (AKA Cat)

I am an avid animal lover, photographer, reader, and much more. While my photography blog is feeling a bit neglected at the moment, the other sites I'm involved in are going strong. ✧I review books, comics, and basically anything else in the literary world over at Quirky Cat's Fat Stacks (of Books). ✧I review comics and books, as well as write content for Word of the Nerd. ✧I review comics for Monkeys Fighting Robots. ✧I write content for Screen Rant and CBR. ✧I write book reviews for The Review Crew.
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