The Necessity of Stars Review

The Necessity of Stars Review | E. Catherine Tobler

I looked back at the synopsis of The Necessity of Stars when I sat down to write this review, and I’m not certain what drew my attention to it. It’s a short book which explodes with a lot of important messages, but I can’t say for sure I understood everything.

Publisher: Neon Hemlock Press| Date: 2021 | Genre: General Fiction/Science-Fiction

Plot: Plagued by the creeping loss of her memory, diplomat Bréone Hemmerli continues to negotiate peace in an increasingly climate-devastated world, ensconced in the UN-owned estate Irislands alongside her longtime friend and companion Delphine.

The appearance of the alien Tura in the shadows of Bréone’s garden raises new questions about the world’s decline. Perhaps, together, Tura and Bréone will find a way forward… if only Bréone can remember it.

I received The Necessity of Stars from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

The Necessity of Stars Review

The Necessity of Stars Review

The Necessity of Stars is hard to define. On the surface, I’d class it as science-fiction. There were aliens involved, which, in my mind, makes it science-fiction. But there’s politics, climate-change, undercurrents of an LGBT+ relationship (only undercurrent because the romance is a side-note more than anything) and dementia. There’s a lot packed in here.

I can’t write this review in my normal structure. Why? Because – and I hate to admit this – I don’t really know what happened?

It’s a short book, following a woman struggling with dementia, fighting to remember who she is. She’s an important diplomat but lives out retirement in a quiet island, next door to her friend/lover (the women are close, and romance is involved, but their relationship isn’t defined). I thought the dementia was handled well, although at times it felt like a plot device. I also wasn’t certain about the playful references to being tapped on the temple to ‘restart’ – I feel that would only invoke more frustration.

We both knew how something could be taken without consent. How even beautiful things could be lost.

Themes

The political elements were forceful. The messages about climate-change were pushed on the reader in a not-so-subtle way, which left me with the impression the author was determined to get their point across. It was important, and it worked to set up this world, but it came on too strong for me, personally.

Then there were aliens. Disguised as trees. Fleeing from other aliens, who may or may not also be on the planet, and may or may not be a politician in disguise. I didn’t understand this aspect of the book. The prose was poetic while describing the alien, but I got no sense of origin or purpose, other than they were fleeing. I couldn’t get to grips with what was actually happening.

Writing

The writing had a certain grace to it, with poetic tendencies in the descriptions. This may be due to the focus being on nature, the planet or something other-world-y. I enjoyed the images it created and the world that was built, even if I was lost in the actual plot.

As a result of the writing, I was left with the impression I misunderstood something. That there was a deeper layer, a message whose true meaning escaped me. I feel like the dementia and the aliens are linked, but I can’t tell you how. There is also every chance that me reaching for something more is me missing the point of the book.

Final Thoughts

So, I don’t know with this one. It was by no means a bad read. The writing was delightful and the length and pacing of the book worked to make it an enjoyable read. I can’t say if I recommend it or not, because I didn’t fully understand it.

Have you read this book? Does this sound like your kind of genre?

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6 thoughts on “The Necessity of Stars Review | E. Catherine Tobler

  1. I’ve definitely had this happen to me as well especially with Literary Fiction for some reason. I often come out thinking “did I miss something”? Your review is well written and completely honest which I always appreciate. Thanks for sharing.

    Like

    • I honestly feel like it must be on me because the writing was really good, I just had no clue what was going on aha. I’m glad it’s not just me it happens to though.

      Like

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