This one was a trial. I read the first book in this series back in August of 2017. It overwhelmed me, and I waited over six months before I read the second one, which added trauma on top of the whelming. At this point, book three was out, and I knew I’d had a hard time remembering details because of the wait I’d created for myself in between books one and two, so the smart thing was to go straight into three. I had it already out from the library when I finished book two, but then as discussed previously, book two traumatized me. I’m not even joking. Just thinking about picking up the third book clanged my anxiety bells all to hell. So I renewed the library book as many times as I could before finally giving up and returning it.
I tried again last February, riiiight before the pandemic started. I read books one and two back to back and had a grand old time, re-traumatizing myself, but also getting a lot more out of the experience than I had the first time through. And again, I already had book three out from the library. I was going to do it.
Reader, I did not do it.
And because of the pandemic, my library closed and all the books patrons had out were theirs indefinitely, at least until libraries reopened, which didn’t happen until early June. At which point they also got rid of late fees, so I just kept the book for a while, thinking, I’m going to do it! I had this book for over six months and I could not bring myself to read it. Finally, I returned it in August.
At which point I decided I was going to do it for real! I was going to use this for my White Whale square on CBR BINGO, and it was really going to happen. So I ended up just buying a copy and reading it, and it was good, and stressful, and I had to put it down for weeks at a time and come back to it, because it is a fucking stressful book about a society on the brink of war, and the characters are always discussing these urgent philosophical ideas about governance, and identity, and morality and it’s going to give me a fucking existential crisis.
I have once again written a review for this series where I say almost nothing at all about the book itself.
I’m giving this four stars, because like my experiences with books one and two, it doesn’t feel complete yet. When I read one and two back to back, I bumped up my rating to five stars, because they just worked better together than they did apart. I feel like that might be the case with three and four as well. This book is just non-stop ratcheting up the tension. It’s brilliant in places; like, Palmer made a fifty page senate session, a large portion of which is just one character reading out a constitution, into one of the most gripping things I have ever read. But I also continue to be perplexed by characters like Dominic and Madame and Julia Doria-Pamphili, all of whom I hate. But that’s a tangent. What I’m meaning to say is this book is the build up, and we don’t get the release, or any kind of resolution at all.
Perhaps the Stars finally has a release date: next June. I’m hoping I can dive right into it on release day, but who even knows at this point. Fuck, this series is honestly genius and it stresses me out, and I feel like I’m losing it, but I also love it. And how is it going to end???? I don’t want to know.
CBR Bingo: White Whale