Book Review- The Space Between the Stars

Friday, 2 June 2017
Title: The Space Between the Stars
Author: Anne Corlett
Published: June 1st 2017
Genre: Sci-Fi, Fiction, Space, Fantasy 

 Rating: 3.5/5

In a breathtakingly vivid and emotionally gripping debut novel, one woman must confront the emptiness in the universe—and in her own heart—when a devastating virus reduces most of humanity to dust and memories.
All Jamie Allenby ever wanted was space. Even though she wasn’t forced to emigrate from Earth, she willingly left the overpopulated, claustrophobic planet. And when a long relationship devolved into silence and suffocating sadness, she found work on a frontier world on the edges of civilization. Then the virus hit...
Now Jamie finds herself dreadfully alone, with all that’s left of the dead. Until a garbled message from Earth gives her hope that someone from her past might still be alive. 
Soon Jamie finds other survivors, and their ragtag group will travel through the vast reaches of space, drawn to the promise of a new beginning on Earth. But their dream will pit them against those desperately clinging to the old ways. And Jamie’s own journey home will help her close the distance between who she has become and who she is meant to be... -Goodreads
I received a copy of this novel from Net Galley and the publisher in return for an honest review.
This novel follows Jamie, who awakens to find that she has survived a deadly plague that has ripped through Earth, and the other planets that humans have colonised. She discovers other survivors, and together they try to make their way to Earth, which they have chosen as some sort of 'safe haven' to begin again.
 This novel really wasn't what I was expecting, the blurb suggested a dystopian style novel with end of the world style action, with rebuilding and re-inhabiting of the decimated Earth, and other planets. Instead, there is very little action in this novel, the characters travel through space a lot, but other than this interstellar travel the action is minimal. The majority of the narrative is filled with Jamie's philosophical wonderings on the purpose and meaning of life and the existence of God among other 'big topics'. I'm not sure how I feel about this, some elements of the narrative were quite interesting, and did encourage me to think about how it would be to be one of the last human survivors on a planet. But at the same time it sometimes felt too much. It felt too preachy and it got exhausting to read her constant meandering thoughts.
The above mentioned lack of action made the novel a little slow going, but it did mean that when periods of action took place, I appreciated the change of pace more. In actual fact, the action scenes that Corlett wrote were well done, especially when considered that the novel is written from a first persons P.O.V.
The novel is written completely from Jamie's point of view, and I must admit that I tend to find the 1st person narrative difficult to read if the character isn't intriguing enough. This was the problem I had in this novel, Jamie is not an interesting enough character to warrant my enthusiasm to continue the novel, and I really had to drag myself through it at times. She's a particularly negative person, and she whines for approximately 80% of her narration, which is exhausting to read constantly!! She is also constantly suspicious and thinks the worst of everyone she meets, making the novel quite a dark and moody read, with very little happiness or positivity to lighten it. I can understand that experiencing most of humanity being wiped out by a plague would be a pretty negative experience, but the narrator didn't seem able to think positively about anything, and for me personally this made the novel slow and difficult to get through, and certainly reduced my enjoyment of it.
This novel is set in a fascinating world, with humans inhabiting other planets, and space travel is a totally normal thing. I would've liked more background information about the world; things like how the Government ruled and number of planets inhabited would have been interesting to read about, but obviously I realise that that was not the purpose of the novel. 
One element of this novel that I really enjoyed was the romantic element that ran through it. This was well created by Corlett, it had enough back story to make it believable, and the foundations for their relationship were built gradually but felt stable and realistic throughout. I was really glad these two characters got together, and the whole atmosphere of the book was definitely lightened by the romance.
Overall I gave this novel 3.5/5 stars. I thought it was an interesting take on science fiction and the end of the world narratives, and placing the focus on the human side of it, and how a human would psychologically cope was an interesting take. However, I felt that the whiny narrator paired with a fairly slow meandering narration did not hook me the way I was hoping it would.

Happy reading!!


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