Published: June 13, 2017
Genre: Science Fiction
Pages: 368 (Hardcover)
My Rating: 4.5/5.0
I received a review copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
In a breathtakingly vivid and emotionally gripping debut novel, one woman must confront the emptiness in the universe—and in her own heart—when a devastating virus reduces most of humanity to dust and memories.
All Jamie Allenby ever wanted was space. Even though she wasn’t forced to emigrate from Earth, she willingly left the overpopulated, claustrophobic planet. And when a long relationship devolved into silence and suffocating sadness, she found work on a frontier world on the edges of civilization. Then the virus hit…
Now Jamie finds herself dreadfully alone, with all that’s left of the dead. Until a garbled message from Earth gives her hope that someone from her past might still be alive.
Soon Jamie finds other survivors, and their ragtag group will travel through the vast reaches of space, drawn to the promise of a new beginning on Earth. But their dream will pit them against those desperately clinging to the old ways. And Jamie’s own journey home will help her close the distance between who she has become and who she is meant to be…
If you haven’t heard of The Space Between the Stars or you’re on the fence about whether or not to read it, allow me to give you my humble opinion. You should seriously check this one out- it’s got that “end is nigh” vibe, but without the typical imminent demise aspect and you get a brief tour of the inhabited worlds. There’s even a bit of internal strife, long distance love, and all the characters seem to struggle with their pasts to some degree or another, plus it lacks any sort of zombie which takes away the scary/creepy vibes!
This isn’t a story about the whole of humanity, but rather a story about a group of survivors and how they deal with the loss of most of their fellow humans. Every human inhabited planet was struck by a virus with a survival rate purported to be one in a million leaving human conversation to become something of a rarity. Jamie Allenby is on a remote planet working as a livestock veterinarian when the virus hits and doesn’t know if there’s another living person on the planet. Having livestock as your only company for the rest of your life isn’t very promising. Eventually, she gets off planet with the goal of going to Earth, her home planet and where her ex-significant other (unsure of actual relationship) Daniel had been traveling to when disaster struck.
What I’ve just written is the most basic summary of the plot and doesn’t even begin to cover the richness of the characters in The Space Between the Stars. Jamie in particular is quite interesting. She struggles with her past and her continuous effort to run from every problem and hardship has failed, because now she’s running back to the man she left. This story really brings her full circle and is almost a story of personal reconciliation with the viral apocalypse as a background theme rather than the reverse. The other characters were almost equally interesting, though obviously much less defined than Jamie. Rena and Lowry are members of a non-denominational religious order and have a long history with each other. Mila struggles to see a place for herself in a world were skills other than her limited set are required. Finn is probably incapable of surviving by himself and struggles with the ever-changing situations. The inter-group strife was quite believable given the circumstances and really helped keep the story moving, though some bits of the plot were wrapped up very conveniently.
The Space Between the Stars was just a really good book and so difficult to put down! Anne Corlett has successfully written a book about the destruction of society that wasn’t bleak and awful, but rather focused on personal reconciliation and new beginnings. This is a book that will definitely be placed on my shelf of keepers for more than just that lovely cover. I hope her future books will only continue to get better!