The Forbidden Stars by Tim Pratt

Read August 2020
Recommended 
 ★     ★    ★    1/2

Entertaining, in a Star Trek deus ex machina kind of way.

You know that episode where they use their skills to avoid the baddie, then bump into the baddie in a different place, and then they pull out their sophisticated computer thing, and cleverly get out of hard place? But then there is another obstacle that courageous maneuvers overcome with good planning, although maybe it doesn’t seem so at the time, because the Captain had A Plan All Along? Then, even though they are on the edge of the nowhere in the universe, they decide to take on the Big Baddie For Real because it could mean The End Of All Living Things, so why not, even though it’s only Enterprise/Voyager/Discovery against a fleet, but never worry, because they’ve got technology and Human Ingenuity on their side?

It’s pretty much like that, only instead of Klingons/Romulans/Borg/Dominion, we’ve got squid.

“‘If there’s Axiom shit behind this, and I bet there is, we need to comprehensively ruin that, too.’
‘Hurray, a goal,’ Ashok said. ‘How should we start?’”

I liked it, even though it wasn’t nearly as good as the first in the series, All the Wrong Stars, which delighted and surprised me by turns. Something about this felt expected, more like the third episode of a movie–Die Hard 3, if you will–where we’re doing the familiar thing and making the familiar jokes and we know it’s all going to turn out cool. More predictable and yet less sensible, if you can catch my drift. Which, if it doesn’t, then you are totally not the candidate for reading this book.

Wilfred gaped. ‘I… we… I’m going to have to check on that, and get confirmation…’ 
‘Of course. Trust, but verify, just like it says in the Bible,’ Ashok said.”

Note: I skipped the second book because reviews from friends who loved both the first book and this one were kind of lukewarm. For what it’s worth, I did add both this book and the first to my library, and I’m definitely not sorry to have spent actual dollars on it. Similar to Finder, The Expanse, Retribution Falls, and, you know, that sort of rogues in space thing (see, I didn’t say Firefly).

About thebookgator

avid reader and Goodreads reviewer looking for a home.
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