Hi! Happy publication day to Sword in the Stars? I’m not sure how to begin because I can’t think of any reasons to celebrate that. Harsh, I know.
- Publication date: April 7th 2020
- Publisher: Rock the Boat
- Genre: Sci-fi
In this epic sequel to Once & Future, to save the future, Ari and her Rainbow knights pull off a heist… thousands of years in the past.
Ari Helix may have won her battle against the tyrannical Mercer corporation, but the larger war has just begun. Ari and her cursed wizard Merlin must travel back in time to the unenlightened Middle Ages and steal the King Arthur’s Grail—the very definition of impossible.
It’s imperative that the time travelers not skew the timeline and alter the course of history. Coming face-to-face with the original Arthurian legend could produce a ripple effect that changes everything. Somehow Merlin forgot that the past can be even more dangerous than the future…
Thank you to NetGalley for providing and eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I’m going to try to keep this as spoiler free as possible, but this is the second (and final book) in this series, so if you haven’t read the first – why are you even here?
In Sword in the Stars we’re transported to Medieval Camelot. Ari and the knights, and Merlin, obviously, need to retrieve Arthur’s chalice and bring it back into the future. I love me some heist stories, so I was hopeful. I got got once again.
While I’ve noticed some improvement in the overall story telling from the first book, it wasn’t enough to warrant a higher rating. The action got more structured, sure, but the time travel aspect was too convoluted and didn’t make sense.
Time travel stories are my absolute favourite, so this was a big let down. It’s a really difficult thing to get right – there are certain laws that need to be followed. My biggest issue was a certain character appearing in one timeline 3 times and all 3 of them interacting. Now, since there are different ways of viewing time travel, that could be possible and not destroy the universe, but if you want to do that, you set down your laws. Sword in the Stars had none, it just did what it pleased and when it pleased, and well… it did not please me. But it’s time to move on.
I thought, since we’re in Medieval Camelot, we’d get to see some of it and get a feel for how life was back then. Nope. The world building is minimal, and all we’re really told is how terrible those times were because people didn’t understand sexuality and assumed your gender. I get it, you’re really trying to drive the point across on every page and in every sentence, and identity is SUPER important, but it’s too much. One of the characters even tries to teach those medieval folk about the importance of pronouns etc. All while probably messing up with the future BIG TIME.
Speaking of characters. I honestly liked the story of Nin and how she became the big evil enchantress. Merlin was alright for most of the book, too. Everyone else stayed as much of a caricature of themselves as possible. What bothered me the most was how Kay was addressed. While reminiscing (though very rarely) about him, everyone treated him like a clown (Kay was annoying, awkward, got drunk and did embarrassing things etc. and not in an endearing way) and Kay from the past was a wannabe villain. What was that about? He deserved a better story arc.
I’m going to end this review on two things. Sometimes authors try to convey info by telling the readers, instead of showing, because it’s the only way to do it. The main message of this book (as far as I can tell) was identity. The amount of times we were told about it all really made me think the authors think their readers are idiots. It gets to a point where when a new character is introduced, the dialogue goes something like this:
“This is Yazmeen, everyone.”
“Mostly Yaz. She/Her. I’m a good ole lesbian.”
And only a paragraph or two later we find out she’s Ari’s cousin.
People are so much more than that…
And secondly… the slight shade thrown at Merlin the TV show at the end of the book? Excuse me, but… no. Just no.
Rant over. I tried to be eloquent but the dumb comes out when I’m frustrated.
After my March wrap up this review should come as no surprise. Let’s all learn from this experience, though, and swear not to request sequels to books we haven’t yet read, okay?
Thanks so much for reading. I’ll chat to you very soon!