The Stars Undying by Emery Robin is a debut science-fiction novel modeled off the lives of Cleopatra and Julius Caesar. I listened to the audiobook, which clocks in at sixteen and a half hours and is narrated by Esther Wayne and Tim Campbell. We follow our two main characters with alternating first-person points-of-view.
“She was beautiful, of course; there was no use denying that. But what struck me about her then, and what had struck me since the first moment she had rolled out of the carpet and insulted me to my face, was not her beauty but her gaze. The way she looked at me–the way she looked at anything she took notice of–was like standing under a bright light, like jumping into a deep well.”
I really like all of our main characters here. Obviously, Ceirran is the Julius Caesar and Gracia is the Cleopatra in this reimagining. I really like the author’s choice to gender flip the Marc Anthony character here with Anita, Ceirran’s second in command.
The casual queerness here is great. There are tons of same-sex relationships and side characters who appear to be non-binary as they/them pronouns are used to refer to them.
It was hard for me to get into the very beginning of the book, which tends to be common for me when it comes to science-fiction. But once I was about 12% in I was hooked! As is the case with most science fiction for me, I had to read this in “tiny” bites of about 20% each.
Overall, I really liked the author’s writing style. This was a solid debut, and I’ll definitely be reading more from them in the future.
Tropes in this book include: space opera, retelling
CW: violence, war, murder
The publisher provided a copy of this book for me to review. All opinions contained herein are my own.
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