Top critical review
on 2 August 2016
I had really high hopes for this book. I absolutely loved Varjak Paw and its sequel and have been eagerly awaiting further books from this author. Having read all the 5* reviews, I thought it was going to be great. But right from the start it felt disappointing. The first section was quite slow moving, it took a long time for them to get into space. It was hard to remember that it was fantasy and not science fiction, being space-based, which is more usually SF, and that when it was talking about star systems in the galaxy based on the zodiac signs, they were not the stars we would see in a constellation, because that wouldn't make astronomical sense. There were lots of derivative plot devices, which I won't list here as spoilers, but you may be able to spot ideas also found in popular book series, film and TV. My children saw all the plot twists coming, but I kept reading to the end just to see how it worked out. I thought the main characters were well-drawn and there was some originality there, but the social structures and political system seemed out of place in the futuristic space setting. I've given it three stars because despite what I've written it was an OK book, but I was hoping for so much more.