Book Review: Star Bound by Rex Burke
When he was young, he read every one of those yellow-jacketed Victor Gollancz hardbacks in his local library. That feeling of out-of-this-world amazement never left him – and keeps him company as he writes his own SciFi adventures.
When he’s not writing, he travels – one way or another, he’ll get to the stars, even if it’s just as stardust when his own story is done.
As rescue looms, the teenage castaways face new decisions and changing alliances. It’s not plain-sailing on New Earth either, where Captain Juno Washington faces a blatant challenge to her authority.
As the dangers increase and stories collide, everyone has a choice to make. Be part of something or strike out on your own? Make plans or break promises?
All the Odyssey Earth characters combine for one final, unforgettable adventure, as they look for a place to call home.
And one thing’s for sure. If you want a happy ending, you need to put your trust in the people you love.
FORMAT/INFO: Star Bound was released on October 12th, 2023 by the author. It is 354 pages long and is the last book in the Odyssey Earth Trilogy.
OVERVIEW/ANALYSIS: Star Bound by Rex Burke was one of my most anticipated books of the year. It is the third and last entry in the Odyssey Earth trilogy and absolutely lived up to the obscenely high expectations I had.
Orphan Planet, the first book in the series left one open thread, and explored themes of parent child relationships in a very touching manner, and the second book, Twin Landing (I just realised why it’s called that, oh my…) had a variety of these relationships, as well as good and bad sides to them. At the same time, the second book ended with multiple cliffhangers, and left a lot to be resolved in just the last book. The author has wrapped it all up in a fitting manner, something I believe very writers can.
Before you get the wrong idea about what this series and book are like, let’s calibrate your expectations. Don’t expect a sweeping space opera or an overarching story with warring factions and battles. Instead, expect a tightly told story that centres around the unexpected children who are accidentally born on the ship as they travel to colonise a far-away planet, as well as some unexpected shenanigans with a history teacher woken early as their mentor dies unexpectedly. It’s not heavy on the science fiction elements, it has a spunky AI that likes to give some characters a bad time and is difficult on purpose, a spaceship and landers necessary for the mission, as well as talk to inhabiting the planet, as well as the bare minimum needed to make the story work.
I read through this book very quickly, because I put away everything else and skipped a bunch of loose commitments to see how the story ends, and it took just two evenings. It’s easy to get back into the rhythm, feel connected to the characters, understand their frustration and situation, as well as wish to nudge things fast enough to have them be comfortable and at home. Some things almost come full circle as Jordan reflects on his parents and how he felt losing them, as well as show how all members of a community can be involved in child-rearing.
To me, this series is all about the characters and their interactions, and the big strong couple in this has to be the most endearing. I have a hard time choosing between moments with them or those with the villain as the highlight of my read. But I admit, the ones with him got a large range of reactions from me, from cackling with laughter at his response to events, to frustration at his megalomania. There is also plenty of dad humour, but I’m a bit sure that a lot of them went over my head. As for the children, it was such a delight to watch them grow up, develop new confusing feelings, face disappointment, and yet add new members to their family in a way. And yes, there’s a speech in the end that had be tear up. I don’t want to be specific when I talk about any of these things because they are short books, and they’re filled with so much goodness and heart that I’d love for them to reach more readers.
Again, the first book happens to be the magical read that gave me something novel to enjoy, but this book, along with the middle one, happen to have the same quality of prose. Words aren’t wasted, and the author spends the least amount of pages needed to tell the target story, a quality I appreciate more as the years go by. The only thing I complain about is the same aspect I had an issue with in the second entry, and it’s because of the repetitiveness that the recall of previous elements entails, but it’s not as glaring in this book as in that one.
CONCLUSION: If you ask me what this series is about, I’d say that it is all about family and belonging, and in a way, enough arguments to stress on how people can come together in all kinds of situations, even the unlikeliest ones, when given enough bandwidth. Most underrated series I’ve read? Yes. The end of it teases us with the possibility of more stories with these characters, which, if it ever becomes a thing, I’d definitely read. If you are worried about these little darlings, fear not, this is a good end to the series, cementing it as one of my favourites. If you haven’t already gotten to these books, give it a try. Highly, highly recommended.