This is my first novel by Kameron Hurley and it’s a bit of a ripper. ‘The Stars are Legion’ is a mash-up of sci-fi, fantasy and even horror that worked on every level for The Grim Reader. Told through two main characters in Zan and Jayd, the story follows both as they travel different paths, both searching for answers to save their dying world.
If you have paid any attention to the hype surrounding this release then you will be aware that the novel is a man-free zone. Women rule the worlds and the stars and it proves to be an original and enthralling journey. ‘The Stars are Legion’ starts off with its feet firmly planted in science fiction, but as the story progresses and further worlds are explored, we move into epic fantasy territory with exceptional and spectacular world-building. The worlds Hurley has created are organic in matter-living, breathing, feeling things which host a wide variety of horrors and wonders that live on and in them. The world-building is superb in that it doesn’t info-dump, instead choosing to unravel and reveal as the story progresses giving it an epic and often unusual feel. There are some truly wonderful and original ideas at play; from spray-on space suits to living transport vehicles and characters that are capable of birthing whatever their planet needs, including new worlds and parts! It all might sound a bit bonkers but it really does work and each chapter opens your mind and imagination to something new and unusual.
‘The Stars are Legion’ definitely isn’t hard sci-fi. It has the drama of a space opera and the epic world-building of the fantasy genre. The politics between the warring worlds doesn’t side-track from the adventure, instead it plays as more of a background role, much to my delight. I often find a bit too much political manoeuvring in many fantasy reads so it is good to read something that is this entertaining whilst also being thoughtful and still has just enough political intrigue. The characters are excellent, unique, strong, fierce, caring, all well fleshed out and individual. The pacing is also good. There are a lot of questions early on in the book, but things quickly fall into place and the adventure hits full speed very quickly. There seems to be an overarching theme of looking after our own planet that is strong throughout making it an environmentally conscious space opera if you like!
A book featuring an all female cast has the possibility of alienating some readers, sadly. Not this reader. ‘The Stars are Legion’ is a refreshing, engaging and original reading experience. One I really, really enjoyed and fans of any of the above genres mentioned would be wise in checking out. Be warned, this book has some real gross out moments (which I love!) but entirely necessary in keeping with the harshness of some of the planets environments. Great cover art, great book. Go get some.
Pick up a copy from here.