The Stars Are Legion

The Stars Are Legion

Book - 2017
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"Set within a system of decaying world-ships travelling through deep space, this breakout novel of epic science fiction follows a pair of sisters who must wrest control of their war-torn legion of worlds--and may have to destroy everything they know in order to survive. On the outer rim of the universe, a galactic war has been waged for centuries upon hundreds of world-ships. But these worlds will continue to die through decay and constant war unless a desperate plan succeeds. Anat, leader of the Katazyrna world-ship and the most fearsome raiding force on the Outer Rim, wants peace. To do so she offers the hand of her daughter, Jayd, to her rival. Jayd has dreamed about leading her mother's armies to victory her whole life--but she has a unique ability, and that makes her leverage, not a leader. As Anat convinces her to spend the rest of her life wed to her family's greatest enemy, it is up to Jayd's sister Zan--with no stomach for war--to lead the cast off warriors she has banded together to victory and rescue Jayd. But the war does not go at all as planned... In the tradition of The Fall of Hyperion and Dune, The Stars are Legion is an epic and thrilling tale about familial love, revenge, and war as imagined by one of the genre's most imaginative new writers"--
Publisher: New York : Saga Press, ©2017.
ISBN: 9781481447935
1481447939
Characteristics: 380 pages ;,24 cm.

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SCL_Justin Aug 10, 2017

Kameron Hurley's The Stars Are Legion was just as gooey and intricate a space opera as I’d hoped.

Legion is a group of biological worldships surrounding an artifical sun. There are many layers to these worldships and ruling dynasties for each one. Zan is a soldier who begins the novel being put back together after an attack on a neighbouring world. She has no memory, but a strong attraction to Jayd who tells her that everything is tense but fine. Even the half-memory Zan has of murdering a baby is part of the plan, apparently.

And hoo boy are there plans in this story. Because Zan has no memory she’s piecing together what it’s all about along with the reader (in among the spray-on space-suits and fighter attack runs mounted on spacefaring slugbeasts). After a few chapters we also start following Jayd, who’s working on some crazy manipulative scheme against the ruler of their own worldship. She tells Zan she’s in on the plan but Zan doesn’t remember it and might fuck it all up. Other people have guesses about the plans but they’re keeping Zan in the dark to use her as a weapon (’cause Zan is a brutally effective soldier).

Then as the schemes are unfolding, boom boom boom Zan is killed (in a sudden but inevitable betrayal) and her body is recycled. Spoiler alert: Zan isn’t actually dead and then begins the quest up from the centre of the world back to the surface where all the political machinations we’re just getting used to are happening. This is where I really loved the book because it takes the simple set-up and then shows how big a world is and how surface-based civil wars are kind of just the equivalent of White House cabinet shuffles to get ignored by the people who don’t live that life. It takes it a bit more towards a fantasy-novel quest narrative as Zan comes closer to reclaiming her memories, but by the end we do get back to the worldships hurtling through space, don’t worry.

I tried to explain this book while I was in the middle of it and it was difficult; I got immersed in the details of womb-swapping and blood-drinking bonding rituals and cephalopod guns and not knowing exactly where it was going made it hard to see the big picture. Once you’re done though, it works really well, and what appeared to be chaotic was merely complex.

If you like big scifi stories and can handle technology being mostly biological (which does make for a lot of mucous throughout) I heartily recommend The Stars are Legion.

i
Ichijo
May 20, 2017

Amazing... strange... bizarre... horrifying... wonderful. The use of a character with amnesia can go horribly real easily. But in a truly bat shit crazy world having one character that doesn't view the world she lives in as normal works out really well.

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