Cover Image: Redsight

Redsight

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Member Reviews

*Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review*

<b>Witches, priestesses and sacred orders in space. Think Gideon the Ninth meets Of Sorrows and Such.</b>

Redsight is the story of Korinna, a blind red priestess who can manipulate space time, which is the power designated to pilot the warships of the galactic Imperium. Until very recently she thought she was the weakest in her order, but just when her powers return unexpectedly, she finds herself in a very difficult position: made to choose between being loyal to the Order that sees her as nothing more than an object and being free but paying a cost.

The story is <u>set in a world ruled by a galactic Imperium that was originally created by three goddesses</u> and where nowadays two of the Orders that worship their respective goddesses are charged with the task of finding and eliminating all remains of the third.

<b>The worldbuilding and magic system in this book are some of the most original and imaginative I’ve encountered for a while.</b> I also really enjoyed how the use of the priestesses’ power always comes with a price.

The characters are compelling and while they are brave and decisive, they are also deeply flawed, which made me engage with them from the beginning. <u>My favourite character was, without a doubt, the villain</u>: a black witch who can adopt the shape of a giant reptile in order to feed.

The thing I enjoyed the most about this book was <b>having to wonder who the actual villains in the story were</b>. The black priestesses and the Order of Furia? Or the Imperium and the supposedly good Orders who treat their initiates as if they’re nothing but a means to an end?

This is a <b>self conclusive story with a well-paced plot </b>and a lot of twists along the way. The book touches on the themes of revolution, betrayal and female rage. It also has a <b>sapphic romance</b> but it is not the main focus of the story.

<u>I really enjoyed this book because of its intricate worldbuilding, charismatic characters and the pace of the plot. A very satisfying read and a new author to watch out for.</u>

<b>Rep: sapphic main characters and romance subplot
4/5 stars</b>

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This story was very different than what I am used to but it made me love it even more.

This is a very character driven sci-fi book, but unlike others this still takes place on a big scale with many wars and warships. It feels like a big expansive story like Leviathan Wakes, but with as deep character bonds as what I'm used to the Wayfarer series from Becky Chambers. This mix was very interesting and gave the book vibes in a way I haven't read much from. The book balances this really well and the big wars that are waged always fit in perfectly with the personal motivations each leading character of the fraction has. These three opposing sides to the war with each a POV character made a lot of sense and made this work so well.

These three women were awesome to follow as well. Big ambitions and big wants made for amazing interactions and frictions between them. People grow together in this book, but it wasn't smooth at all. This process was extremely fun to be a part of and read how they start to understand each other better. The love that then starts to grow between them is so strong and fierce it makes for an amazing love story.

I also really loved the battles in this book. They felt huge in scale and always significant. They were written with a lot of dynamic movement but I always could keep track of what was going on. The characters had a lot of influence on these battles even if they weren't in a place of power and that was a fun way to keep all three POV characters relevant at all time.

I was sometimes confused with character motivations though. I got the majority of it, but there were times I was puzzled after interactions between characters, especially if those interactions made someone change their viewpoint. I then couldn't always follow why they changed the way they thought. Continuing on to read would usually made that clear, but it did make the read confusing at times.

Concluding this book is a lot of fun with characters that have strong motivations and big consequences.

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Happy release day! As always big thanks to Netgalley for providing me with a copy of this book.
Redsight is a debut novel, it’s a fast paced sci-fi / fantasy queer book (leaning more to the fantasy rather than to sci-fi, with me not being a big sci-fi reader I would say it has to involve more than just being set up in space but idk) with lots of representation and world building and also a really cool magic system. I guess you could say this is a bigger book, not huge but you know what I mean, and for being 400 pages long it felt a bit rushed somehow, especially the ending, but that’s not to say that this wasn’t a good book. All in all, it was a cool concept, it mixes so much stuff, so it’s definitely for those readers that like a lot going on!

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2.5

Thanks to the author/publisher for providing me with an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

A lot of the things about this book sound exactly like things i would enjoy, but unfortunately as a whole, I thought it was quite average because of the way things are done.

First i wanna touch on the plot a bit it's... Certainly good enough for the most part. Things make sense. There's a bit of a deus ex machina in the climax, but it kinda fits? For me the problem is in the pacing, it's quite fast paced and it doesn't have room for the characters to really develop. It feels like the book focuses too much on the minute details of the plot and not enough of the characters.

Speaking of the characters, there are a lot of female characters and basically no substantial male characters (so like the reverse version of old sci-fi stories), which isn't really a problem for me, but interesting to note nonetheless. What's a problem for me is how they're all written. The romance has a potential to be interesting, with how different the two characters are, but there's really no tension so it just became a bit boring. And the third main character feels a bit underdeveloped because the book spent a lot more time on the two involved in the romance. And most of the characters, no matter their age, just feel a bit... Juvenile? Like they're naive in ways it feels like they shouldn't be, to the point where it felt repetitive.

I wanna end this with two things that i kinda liked, first there's the worldbuilding. It combines sci-fi and fantasy in a unique way that is rarely done well (Tamsyn Muir's Locked Tomb series being a comparison makes sense), and while I'd have loved more depth to some of the aspects of the world, i suppose that will come in the later books.

The other thing i kinda liked is the ending. It's bold and definitely sets up something interesting for the sequel in a way that i didn't expect considering how the rest of the book played it so safe. It does feel a bit rushed, but that's just how it if for most of the book, at least this particular plot development is an interesting one...

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This should've been right up my alley, but sadly wasn't. I was hoping for something similar to The First Sister, and this did have subtle similar vibes, but overall I wanted more development.

I'm not sure if this is a standalone or if there are more books to follow, but as is I think it should've been split into two books at least. There was barely any time to get to know the characters, to care about them, especially Sahar who had so few PoVs.

Out of the other two PoVs, Korinne, who is the main character, is the most developed, but I still found it so hard to relate to her and care about her.

Aster was probably the coolest character (who eats stars!), though the names of her chapter titles kept changing. Which, while it made sense with the plot, felt a bit out of place. Because Korinna's chapters were all just her name, Sahar's too from what I recall. Either give all of them different titles, or none. Or at least give Aster just one, it was hard to keep track of all of hers when there were so many changes.

The romance started off very obsessive, Aster lived in Korinna's head rent free and vice versa. Despite that, I can't say I saw any chemistry there. But I do like the sapphic rep.

The pacing was both fast and slow, it would depend on the chapter. There were times where I felt like I had to push myself to continue reading, and times where I thought "ohh this is going well, let's read a few more chapters".

Generally though, I don't think this is a hard read that will take people longer to finish, but it can be info dumpy.

The magic system wasn't completely clear to me, but that's ok, I'm very much a "vibes" person so I don't need exact explanations for magic systems in books. I think I kind of get the gist?

I liked the world building and the plot, there were some interesting ideas there, and I'd be happy to read another book by this author which will undoubtedly be better.

*Thank you to the publishers and Netgalley for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*

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BOOK REVIEW - REDSIGHT by Meredith Mooring

⭐⭐⭐✨ - rounded up

Thank you, NetGalley, Rebellion and Meredith Mooring, for providing an eARC for review.

This is an interesting galactic story of rebalancing the universe. Throughout the book, you get the POV from each of the key 'teams' that make up the entire universe. It is an interesting 'magic' system, which I am not sure that I entirely understand, but interesting nonetheless.

I personally struggled to emotionally engage with at least two of the three MC's but yeah. It is a solid read, a bit different but I just wasn't being sucked back into the pages as much as I would have wanted to be for a 4 or 5 star book.

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Korinna is a Redseer, a priestess of limited vision but with redsight, the power to manipulate spacetime. She is an outsider for she's been told she is weak. When Korinna is to become a navigator on an Imperium ship it is revealed that her blood is brimming with magic, her destiny to become a weapon. The warship is attacked by the infamous space pirate Aster Haran who has a vendetta against the Imperium and a dark, destructive power of her own. Aster takes her alive and she must make her choice. Fulfill her destiny or risk destroying the galaxy.

The book makes us feel as if we've always been in this world. Korinna's perception of it is almost ethereal, yet grounded in an utterly readable way. Intrigue whispers in a companionable tone. You can whiff the nefarious even in the so-called calmness of the Order.

The mythology is rich and creative, with all the Orders, what their members can do, and the Force-like — if more dangerous — tactus. There is much info to absorb in this epic-feeling worldbuilding. The author shares its intricacies intelligibly though I do admit I read some parts a second time to get the full picture and not be lost.

There are multiple POVs of different characters, each charismatic in their own way. The author succeeds in giving every POV its own voice that evokes characteristics of its character. We travel through their lives, thoughts and emotions with a straightforward but still wonderfully descriptive sometimes contemplative tone, presenting intensity that is waiting to erupt. Korinna is a quiet introvert due to her sheltered upbringing, disbelieving due to what she's been through humble and kind. Litia is calculating, deliciously dark, always hungry for more. She will do anything, no matter what, for her mission. Sahar, the Lightbender judge, is curious and quite intelligent. She is also a loner, believes in fairness and just wants to help people. All three of them are fighters.

If you are wondering about that early surprising reveal, it just makes a certain character even more interesting and amps up the suspense. I enjoy stories where your enemy might actually be your ally and vice versa. I also love it when it's hard to decide who to root for and not feasible to root for everyone. I do wish some things were shown and not mentioned as happened in a different POV.

This book deals with faith, ambition, the thirst for power. It is about saving others even from themselves. Everyone wants to be understood. The lesson in this story is that everyone and everything is connected and we all need each other to exist. This is a tale of an underdog finding their strength, turning into who they were supposed to be. A thrilling, imaginative space fantasy with a story of revenge, a confrontation years in the making. A wildly captivating adventure that leads to devouring the pages as it gets close to the end and gifts us with a satisfying finale.

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I confess: I’ve been waiting for months to write about this book! I’m so glad it’s finally appearing in the world, because it absolutely deserves to be seen by as many readers as possible.

I’ve now typed a synopsis several times… and deleted it. Because oh my gods, spoilers are hard to avoid. Let’s try this:

A blind priestess of the Red Goddess, whose power comes from blood.

An explorer and scientist affiliated to the White Goddess, who may have found the equivalent of nuclear weaponry.

And a mysterious third, who is looking for… something.

These three, in a universe ruled by an omnipresent Government that controls them. Their roles in life are set, dictated and/or fated. Until they start to ask why, digging beneath the surface to see through their dogma, their rules and into just what their power can do. What happens when you realize your deity is real and not terribly happy?

I’ve seen this book compared to ‘Gideon the Ninth’, ‘Dune’ and other science fiction classics, but it is absolutely its own universe. I’ve already hinted on social media that I preferred it to Gideon, which may be heresy to some, but it’s true. This world and its characters stand alone, and comparison doesn’t help - I went in unsure of what to expect; the story grabbed me and blossomed even more brightly as a result.

One interesting point worth noting is that the (lovely, smart, articulate) author herself is almost blind. I was fascinated to see her take on a heroine with a similar disability… and it’s truly beautiful. I kept forgetting, in fact, because the Redseer’s perspective is both consistently innocent and pin-sharp accurate. She is who she is, she cannot see as others do, and and how she perceives the world is as unique as her other priestess counterparts. The title is apt, as she is often seeing literally and metaphorically through a red lense.

Also yes, this book features gender issues. This suits its narrative perfectly, and is not a problem for the universe, so shouldn’t be for the reader either. That’s the least of the challenging plot points. The romance is lovely but just one of many complex relationships.

From a comparatively gentle beginning, ‘Redsight’ quietly increases its intensity until pages fly by as fast as the action. Some aspects of the story are predictable; others very much not so, and the balance is expertly maintained. I gasped audibly several times, as well as wincing more than once. Be aware: there is a lot of blood in this book.

I’ve never read a book like this, and finished in the knowledge that not only did I have to wait to properly talk about it, I then have to wait even longer for the sequel.

Sheer brilliance. Smart, powerful women reclaiming themselves.

Oh, and giant morally-grey dragon-monsters that eat entire stars. Did I mention that?

Read This Book.

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General Thoughts

This was a little messy for me. There was a lot of potential but it couldn’t fully live up to it. The pacing was a little odd, at times scenes would take their time to develop and other times we’d jump right into the next scene. This is also a point why I couldn’t really get into the story, I kept wondering what was happening right now.

The world was very fascinating, tho. I really enjoyed the story of how the world was created and the three orders that came to be. We get to see most of the Redseers, our MC Korinna is one, and it was interesting to see how her order worked. At the same time there was a little too much info-dumping and too much world building for a stand-alone. Introducing one of the other orders in a second book and make this a duology might have given it more room to breath. There was definitely enough plot to give it two books.

The writing style worked for me at times and at times it didn’t. It fell into telling a lot and then into beautiful descriptions. I guess that’s something everybody has to see for themselves because I can totally see it working for others quite well.

Characters

Korinna as MC was tough because she was very passive. A lot of things happened to her without her having any or many choices about it. Around the half way point she becomes a little more independent, saying herself that she’s always been used as a tool and that needs to change. But throughout the book she was missing motivation for me, I didn’t really know what her agenda was. Yes, there’s something but it’s not really driving her in a way that made sense to me.

Sometimes I forgot she was blind because she could navigate the world just fine using magic. A few times it was mentioned that she couldn’t read some books because they missed the proper accommodation but other than that… I wished we got a little more about the disability the whole order shares.

Aster, the LI, was more interesting. Her cruelness was a little watered down, I wish the author would have leaned into her dark side more and thus give her arc more depth. Since we also get POV chapters from her some of the revelations around her fell a little short.

The romance between Korinna and Aster seemed rather sudden to me but I might have missed something when I wasn’t sure what was going on.

As per usual for me, the most interesting POV to me was the one with least page time: Sahar. She felt the most real to me, she had interests and character, I really enjoyed her.

And finally

Redsight has a really interesting concept but it was rough around the edges. It’s not a bad book and maybe some things didn’t work for me because the writing wasn’t my favorite and didn’t suck me in. It’s worth giving a try, tho, to see for yourself if it works for you.

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Here's a book for the blood and gore lovers ...

I picked up this book because the concept of blind priestesses really intrigued me. I love nuns, and I love solid disability rep, so naturally I was into it.

But, a warning: there is a lot of blood in this. A LOT. They take blood out of one person and inject it into another person all the time, which is both skeevy and unscientific from my perspective, but on the other hand, I know some people love that kind of thing.

The tactus magic--and it definitely is magic, not science--is super cool. The idea that there's a force these blind priestesses can see and no one else can is pretty neat, and it was pretty easy to grasp the basic rules of how it worked.

The other two types of magic/religious orders were intriguing as well.

I'm interested to see whatever the author does next!

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*Thank you Solaris and Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review!*

NOTE: Due to half stars not being a thing, keep in mind the actual rating of this is 3.5/5 stars.

I will say, this is a good start for a debut novel! The premise was very promising, and the concept was pretty well thought through. A sapphic space opera with fantasy mixed into it? I love that idea, and the setting was really engaging.

Korinna made for an interesting protagonist,as did Aster. My only complaint would be that I wish there was more there- that is, more of a connection emphasized, I understood that there was something between them, but there were times I didn't find myself as invested in them as I would have liked. Sahar too had a lot of potential, but she felt lacking as well. It felt kind of like she was just there. However, they are characters with a lot of potential.

Despite my critiques, I would still recommend people give this a shot, as overall it was a decent read and a good debut.

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⭐️: 3.5/5
🌶️: 2/5
Format: 📱

Redsight is a super creative new space opera with roots in ancient religions. Perfect for lovers of Ender's Game and Starglass, but with a sapphic twist and femme-forward cast of characters. What I loved most about Redsight was the original plot. Although there were a couple of overall points I could see coming a bit, I really enjoyed the narrative as a whole. Mooring created a new, original world and the storyline was fresh as well.

The main thing that I didn't love was that the style of writing was a little too direct and matter-of-fact for me. I wanted more descriptive language, more emotional language. I believe that with the strength of the plot and complex characters, this book could have been a duology or trilogy, easily. I could identify points where it would make sense for a whole new book to start, and I'd have been satisfied with the sub-plots within. Because everything was in one book, the pace felt rushed, and some things felt very sudden because we didn't get enough of a lead-in, foreshadowing, or development of news. There were several times where the author described something relatively horrific happening, but the tone was so matter-of-fact that it just sped by. Later, we'd learn about the relevant character being so affected by witnessing the horrific thing, but because it wasn't described with enough emotion, I failed to grasp the gravity of those items--I didn't engage with why they impacted the character so much. Ultimately, if this book were expanded into more, it would have gripped me and engaged me more with the writing.

What I am going to say is that despite this writing snag, I find myself unable to stop thinking about the book and the plot, which is impressive.

I did really like reading the characters. I won't say that I liked the characters, because Mooring didn't write them to be likeable--she wrote them to be real. While some of the side and tertiary characters were a bit one-dimensional, the main characters had a *lot* of depth and complexity to them. There was a lot of moral greyness that I loved a lot. The characters felt so much more realistic because no one is black and white (no pun intended!). There were actions they took that I liked, actions I disagreed with, actions that confused me, and I just really enjoyed reading them.

Spice is very minimal, and very mild!

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Wow! I went in without reading the blurb and was in for a wild ride. This sci-fi world is unlike anything else I’ve ever read. The mythology, the magic/power systems, the politics—so unique and fascinating.

The world is dark and mysterious, which I love. There’s lots of gore and action, which I love even more. Especially the powers of the Redseers are visceral and amazing. And I love how the author has incorporated blind representation into the story. I’m still in awe of the complicated power systems, and how the Redseers steer the ships throughout space.

I really enjoyed the multiple POVs and the different main characters. I was most attached to Korinna, as she’s the first character introduced and she gets the most “airtime”. I admire how kind and strong she is despite her hard upbringing and the way she was treated. Aster is a badass, hardened by her past. I love to see her soften up because of Korinna and start to make decisions based on something else than pure revenge. Sahar is a harder character to like, but she grows on you.

I feel like this story had enough substance for an entire trilogy. The beginning of the book was slower paced and the end was super fast. This could have been developed into a magnificent series, but it worked well on its own too.

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I love a good space opera. You add on LGBTQ+ to space opera and you can guarantee I’m going to be interested in reading it. But there’s something that needs to be said about novels that claim to be space operas: They need to be operatic. Redsight obviously wants to be operatic, but it just isn’t.

Redsight is a good book, but it’s not a space opera. It’s just a really solid sci-fi/fantasy novel about a space war between…well, that’s another thing. It starts out as a war against a pirate in a dangerous and uninhabited part of space. Then the message gets muddied and never quite gets completely back on track.

The thing is: This book is fun. We’ve got three orders of space witches with really cool powers, all following their own cultures and customs. There’s an enemies-to-lovers sapphic romance subplot that’s angsty-cute. There’s a ton of blood, gore, pain, and torture–and some of it is inflicted with consent or self-inflicted for the sake of magic. (Oh, btw, you might want to find a list of CW/TWs for this book).

A chunk of the plot of this book deals with faith and choices you make because of it. What you give up. What you endure. What you bear witness to. What secrets you hold. Who you lose. Who you choose to survive when the time comes to choose. When do you close your eyes and leap?

Had this book followed through on a few of the loose threads left dangling at the end of the book I would’ve liked it a lot more. As it is, it’s a pretty good read and a great standalone.

I was provided a copy of this title by NetGalley and the author. All thoughts, opinions, views, and ideas expressed herein are mine and mine alone. Thank you.

File Under: Dark Fantasy/Romantasy/LGBTQ Fantasy/Sapphic Romance/Science Fiction/Standalone

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A really enjoyable spare opera debut from Meredith Mooring.
I really liked the world building and the style in which this book is written.
The characters were fleshed out and felt believable.
Would read more from this author :)

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My thanks to netgalley and the publisher for granting me early access to this book in exchange for an honest review.
This book had been heavily anticipated by me for over 2 years now and you cannot imagine my disappointment when I realised I was going to dnf' it.
This book is very action driven in its execution and I felt like in the first hundred pages or do at least we didn't really do much character work. This resulted in me not really caring about any of the characters and I need that character bond to be able to care about the plot. Some 140 pages in I realised that nothing was really grabbing my attention here, so I decided to allow myself to put it down.

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3.5 stars rounded down to 3!

If you love lesbians and sci-fi, you should probably definitely read this book.

The nitty gritty: this book was a hard one to get into - it’s not particularly long, but because it’s a true combination of sci-fi and fantasy, there’s a LOT of information thrust at you right away. It’s extremely dense and plot heavy, and while the characters are deeply interesting, significant character development is lost at the expense of furthering the plot as quickly as possible. There’s a lot of missing inferiority, and some important decisions seem to come out of nowhere because of this.

The story is very ambitious, but ultimately I think the barrier to entry is a bit too high for a standalone novel. I think Redsight would’ve worked much better as a duology (or even just a much longer standalone!) with more room for the characters and their relationships to grow.

That being said, lesbians in space!!! Truly fascinating magic system, and so much fun. The story being told largely through a blind protagonist’s POV is something that I don’t think I’ve ever read before, and it’s done extremely well.

Really enjoyable read overall, and I look forward to more coming from Meredith Mooring!

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"Redsight" was a fun and fast paced space opera, but it didn't quite hook me like other books in the genre.

There were lots of things I loved about this book: The diversity was great. The protagonist of the book is blind, and I loved that she lived in a world where accessibility options seemed to exist wherever she went. I also loved learning about the differences and similarities between Korinna, Aster, and Sahar and how they dealt differently with similar constraints placed on them by the world they inhabited. I also loved the romance (though don't go into this book expecting it to be romance-focused).

I do wish we got to know some of the side characters a bit more. There were many interesting and compelling side characters, but their presence was pretty fleeting and they seemed to be there only as tools to the plot. The plot was good, and I liked the worldbuilding, but at times I was a little confused about what was happening or why something worked. The ending of the book, while satisfying, felt a little rushed.

Overall, I'd recommend "Redsight" to fans of space operas and science fiction, but I'm not sure it was my absolute favorite book of this type.

3.5 stars.

Thank you NetGalley and Solaris for the eARC. All opinions are my own.

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TW : blood, violence, sex

I appreciate having a main character with a disability and not being somekind of know-it-all Mary-Sue. The worldbuilding is a bit heavy but this whole universe is fascinating. Still, it was way too violent for me at a point where I felt oppressed while reading. I believe it can be considered as a compliment for the author, but it's not what I was looking for as a reader. It was way too brutal for me. I must say though that I enjoyed the world and the queeriness.

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This book has a lot of individual pieces going for it that should make a really cool total but ultimately it just fails to come together coherently.

There are three main POVs, each priestesses worshiping a different one of three main deities. I would say the Redseer (Korinna) is the main POV, with Sahar and Aster taking up the other two spots.

I found Korinna deeply, deeply unlikable. CW for some of her actions around 20% which I just could not get over, but also the character feels very inconsistent in motivation, pacing, description. Everything in her chapters is constantly gory and blood soaked for reasons that aren’t really explained. She is blind but describes the face of Aster not only in detail, but about 1000x. I also felt like the fact that she was blind felt a bit like an oversight. Her chapters were no less physically descriptive, which would have been a cool feature, and her perception of tactus essentially removes any need for accommodation. She spends the first half of the book just sort of going along with whatever and then suddenly changes in the second half for no clear reason.

Sahar was interesting but super repetitive. She had very little characterization except “wants to be an engineer” which she talks about over and over and over. There is no showing of her motivations; her chapters are all hitting you over the head with them. No subtlety.

Lastly, my favorite POV: Aster. Is Aster manipulative and honestly an awful love interest? Yeah, definitely. Very age/experience related dubcon, lots of toxic concerns (can the sapphics get a single healthy relationship in a book?!). BUT, her motivations were interesting, her relationship with her crew was endearing, she was moving the plot forward and eating people. Love that for her. I really did want her to just eat Korinna whole, I’ll be honest.

I think if this book centered on Litia/Aster and cut out some of the other elements I might have loved it. But as it was, it felt hard to connect with the characters, hard to figure out why things were happening, and hard to care about the plot. A lot of the worldbuilding didn’t make sense if you stopped to think about it for too long but the plot moves quickly enough to gloss over most of that.

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