Book Reviews – “The Stars Now Unclaimed” eBook was published in 2018 and was written by Drew Williams (http://drewwilliamsirl.com). This is Mr. Williams first novel and the first of his “The Universe After” series.
I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence and Mature Language. The story is set in the far future. the primary character is Jane Kamali is an agent for the Justified who is sent out to find and recruit gifted children.
It had been about a hundred years since ‘The Pulse’ swept across the Universe. Some planets were barely affected. Others, most others were pushed back down the industrial timeline. Many planets were forced back to pre-combustion engine tech. Some planets even further back. How planets were affected seems totally random. Residual radiation from the pulse quickly destroys any new tech once it is put into use on those worlds. Gifted children began to appear just after the pulse.
There were still some with space travel tech. One of these groups is the Pax. Even before the pulse, the Pax was a Sect that was prone to violence. After the pulse, since they were unaffected, they see themselves as zealots who believe they are the rightful rulers of the Galaxy.
The affected worlds can be visited if carefully done. Kamali arrives on a planet that has suffered heavily from the pulse. She finds the young girl she was sent to recruit, but the Pax choose that time to attack the planet. They are able to escape with the help of an android ‘priest’. They begin a journey back to the Justified, but they run into one problem after another, often from the Pax. The Pax is not just a minor threat. They are coming for the Justified. With the Pax, the outcome will be either the destruction of the Pax or the absorption or death of the Justified.
Not only must Kamali use her knowledge and fighting skills to survive and get back to the Justified. She must dodge questions about her past. She must avoid her link to the pulse itself.
I thoroughly enjoyed the 11+ hours I spent reading this 448-page science fiction tale. I liked the characters, particularly that of Kamali. The plot is unusual and offers plenty of opportunities for future books in the series. I am not a fan of the cover art. I give this novel a 5 out of 5.
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