The Stars Undying’ by Emery Robin – Book Review

Space Opera Complex and Politically Charged

The Stars Undying is an intriguing and complex novel that combines science fiction with Ancient mythology to create a richly detailed world. This story has many parallels to Julius Caesar and Cleopatra.

The plot alternates between two perspectives. The first is from Princes Altagracia who has lost everything. After a civil war with Alectelo her twin sister, Gracia flees to seek the assistance of Matheus Ceirran, a powerful and wise man.

Anita, the right-hand woman to Gracia is accompanying him on the Interstellar Empire in Ciao. Anita doesn’t like Gracia’s unusual approach to seeking assistance. Gracia and Ceirran eventually entwine their fates and they play a deadly game of mental chess trying to figure each other out. Anita watches from the wings, always watching and vigilant.

The story quickly turns into an interesting tale that presents two perspectives – one from Ceirran’s perspective and one from Gracia’s. Both of them are quite unreliable narrators, with Gracia even blatantly telling us a few lies to convince us to believe a certain truth only to have it contradicted by a surprise chapter. Although I won’t spoil any details, the last part of the book captures this very well and reframes what we’ve seen throughout the book.

This is not a space opera. It’s more of a political drama and less of a space battle and dogfight in space. This story’s second half is particularly slow, enjoying its slow, often laborious pace and lots of politics.

The story continues to Ceirran’s planet, which is basically Rome. It brings with it political backstabbing and power plays, council meetings, long-winded discussions, parties, and power plays. We are told more about what is happening in the galaxy than we are shown.

The characters are where this book excels. Emery Robin has created a fascinating story here. Gracia, Curran, and other players are complex, flawed, and unpredictable. Aleksa, Anita, and Cecilia are also part of the story but Anita is the star. It is amazing how Anita is written. We see her through both Ceirran and Gracia’s eyes, and she continually evolves and surprises throughout the 500+ pages.

One of the books in this series is The Stars Undying. It’s not likely that everyone will like it. Although it’s a well-written book, the style relies on lengthy paragraphs to build worlds and a lot of name-dropping. The sheer number of ministers, officials, and other government officials that appear when the story moves to Ceirran’s home can be overwhelming.

Although the ensemble is quite diverse, there are some very steamy scenes of sex. However, they all contribute to the idea of power. Curran’s central theme is power, and both Gracia and Gracia can make that clear in their chapters. Their actions echo the gravitas of Caesar and Cleopatra in our history. Understanding what drives them will make you want to get a history book.

The Stars Undying can be a difficult and complex book to read. Given the amount of detail that went into creating these characters and their worlds, this is not a book to be consumed in one sitting. You should enjoy this book over time. However, some people may not be comfortable with the taste. Although the middle section of the book is a little sagging, it has a strong opening act and closes that make it well worth your time. Although The Stars Undying may not be perfect, it is worth the effort as a debut novel.


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