Book Review: The Star of the Sea by Una McCormack

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The Star of the Sea 1Netgalley Synopsis: The incredible series about a corrupt, galactic human empire and the alien threat to our existence continues. 

Its name is Stella Maris, the star of the sea, a small world beyond the edge of the human Expansion, where a few men and women Vetch and human alike have made their homes. Fleeing persecution or oppression on their own worlds, here they have found peace and plenty, in communion with the otherworldly Weird. 

A few weeks ago, that harmony was threatened, when Delia Walker came seeking hope for the future, hunted by her enemies in the Expansion, and went into the portal. Now, impossibly, her daughter has walked out, a grown woman, and demanded passage to the Expansion s capital. 

As more ships land on Stella Maris, bringing an end to the quiet obscurity the settlers have long cherished, a desperate race to carry Cassandra Walker to her destiny, and a resistance against those who would exploit Stella Maris for their own ends.

Author: Una McCormack

Title: The Star of the Sea

Publisher: Abaddon

Date: 2016

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After the ominous ending of The Baba Yaga, I was eager to see how the story would unfold in The Star of the Sea. New characters are introduced, old ones return and all along, no one is sure who they can trust. A steady and engaging story from beginning to end, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel.

Delia has disappeared – some believe she is dead, some believe she fell through the portal. But when her fifteen-year-old daughter emerges only weeks after Walker vanishes, nothing can be taken for certain.

Maria is struggling to find her place in a community that haven’t completely accepted her. When she is forced to flee with her daughter, Jenny, and take refuge in the mountains, Maria steps into a role she never imagined herself in. She becomes a leader, organising a rebellion and resistance against the soldiers who have invaded her home.

Maria thought, I am going to miss you. For all that you’re only telling me half of the truth about yourself, I know I can rely on you. “For what it’s worth,” she said, “I think you would have been first into the fray if the soldiers had come for the Vetch. For Ashot.”

I liked Yale in the previous book despite her scepticism. Her character develops in this book as she learns to trust people and act on her emotions rather than cold facts. Despite not trusting Cassandra initially, she is prepared to face her own fears in order to help the girl.

O’Connor is the main new character. A scientist on an expedition to Stella Maris, her naivety means she doesn’t realise what the soldiers, the separation and the guns are leading to. But when given the chance, O’Connor proves that she is on the right side!

As a new character, we don’t find out a lot about Cass – she remains an enigma to the reader as well as the characters! But we are introduced to Maxie Lee, an analyst who discovers the truth and is put in severe danger for it. She is another character that comes through and I liked her.

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This plot started moving earlier in this novel compared to the previous, mainly because both characters and readers know what they are up against. But despite the threat being made apparent from early on – the scientists are here for the Weird Portal, only no one knows what they plan with it – the plot moves at a steady pace.

It is only in the final third of the book where events escalate that I worried about the characters properly. There is suddenly more than one world in danger from the Weird, and only one mysterious teenage girl has any chance of defeating them. The impossible odds made the characters into unlikely heroes.

The reader is never given a true glimpse at the enemy. The characters are fighting against the Weird, with no idea if they themselves could be infected. But the enemy takes the form of friends and loved ones. The Weird are supposed to be so dreadful that not revealing their true form actually makes the threat greater than if a strange alien was described. I love how this increases the tension throughout.

Another great read that has made me excited for the science-fiction genre and what might come next! Definitely a recommendation!

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