Navigating the Stars Review: Coming of age space story

March 15, 2019 by Jeann @ Happy Indulgence | 3 stars, Books, Reviews

Navigating the Stars Review: Coming of age space storyNavigating the Stars by Maria V. Snyder
Published by Harlequin on November 19, 2018
Source: Publisher
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Amazon | Book Depository | Publisher | Angus & Robertson | Booktopia
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New York Times bestselling author Maria Snyder returns with a compelling new sci-fi series. Perfect for fans of Star Wars and Poison Study.

Year 2471. A new discovery. Those three words thrill my parents - the galaxy's leading archaeologists - but for me, it means another time jump to a different planet. One so big, my friends will be older than my dad when we arrive. And I'll still be seventeen. Thanks, Einstein.

I really can't blame Einstein, though. No one expected to find life-sized terracotta warriors buried on other planets. So off we go to investigate, traveling through space and time. With my social life in ruins, I fill my days illegally worming into the quantum net - the invention that allows us to travel in space. Of course the only person close to my age is a hot-but-pain-in-the-neck security officer who threatens to throw me into the brig.

But when one of the warrior planets goes silent, we have bigger problems on our hands. The planet's entire population might be dead. And now my worming skills, along with a translation of an ancient alien artefact, might be the key to finding out why. But my attempts to uncover the truth lead to the discovery of a deadly new alien phenomenon, and also alert those who wish to keep it quiet. The galaxy is in real danger and time is not on our side…

A page-turning story of courage and determination in the face of the unknown.

I was really keen on picking up Navigating the Stars because of a blurb – a sci-fi book about locating Terracotta warriors in space from a different planet (which reminded me of Unearthed)!

However, I was quite disappointed at my first Maria V. Snyder book, because I felt the book didn’t really deliver on what it promised. I was interested in the excavation of the Terracotta warriors on different planets and thought there would be a lot of travel involved, but it has very limited exploration. Lyra basically hacks (or “worms”) her way into different systems from one location, and she doesn’t really move around to different planets at all, which limits the world that it’s set on.

The story is more a coming of age story about Lyra embracing her love for hacking and being encouraged to participate in it, despite it being frowned upon. Most of the plot focuses on the new romance with Niall, trying not to get caught worming but also rebelling against her parents who seem to praise her for everything she does. The book starts off really slowly and I don’t think the pacing ever really improves – I wasn’t particularly interested in the plot, or what was happening between Lyra and Niall.

The sci-fi elements also flew over my head, there was a lot of discussion about the space time differing from Earth time because she is located on a ship. Because time reacts differently to those in space already, by the time you travel back to Earth, people would have aged a lot quicker. It sounds straight forward in practice, but there was so much time given to demonstrating it in the book that I didn’t completely grasp it.

Navigating the Stars would better suit those in the younger YA range, due to the way the book is written and the themes that it covers. Lyra’s internal monologue sounds more like a diary, which kind of took me out of the story a bit because of the casual mannerisms used (even though the story wasn’t set out like one). I’m hoping the language and editing improved from the Advance Reader Copy that I read, because it was slightly awkward and jarring to read.

A lot of why I didn’t really enjoy Navigating the Stars is mainly because I felt like it wasn’t suited to me and it also wasn’t the space excavation adventure I was expecting. The book did skew younger, focusing on themes like coming of age, pursuing a hobby and discovering a new romance. I would recommend this to readers who are a fan of lite sci-fi primarily focused on a romance, who prefer younger or even middle-grade YA.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Thank you to Harlequin Teen Australia for sending me a review copy!

Navigating the Stars is available from Australian bookstores for RRP$19.99.

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Jeann is an Aussie YA blogger and mum who loves to read and recommend books! You can usually find me fangirling about books on my various social media channels including Twitter @happyindulgence, Instagram and Youtube.

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4 responses to “Navigating the Stars Review: Coming of age space story

  1. I won this one and I’m still trying to decide whether to read it or not oops. I didn’t fall in love with a fantasy story by her I read? And tbh sci-fi isn’t usually my thing, especially if it’s a bit light/youngish. Not that there’s anything wrong with Younger-YA!!! Definite need for them. It’s more the sci-fi part that I fall apart on. Unless it’s Illuminae lmao, which is perfect in every way. :’)