Friday, August 14, 2020

Review: The Calculating Stars

The Calculating Stars (Lady Astronaut, #1)The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was such a fun read!

First of all, it starts off with a startling and intriguing first line, and the beginning of it does a good job at drawing you in with the action keeping you turning the pages.

This is a good way to do it, because after the breathlessness of the first bit, it does slow down just a tad, but not enough that my interest lagged. Alternative history can be tricky because it can be difficult to make it compelling and not just leave the reader going 'no, this doesn't make sense', but I didn't really find myself struggling to believe the historical events and how things were taking place.

I struggled a little bit with the acceptance presented in the books, both in terms of Elma's relationship with her husband on a feminist slant, and also the look at racial relations at the time. I *so* appreciate the feminist take and the attempt to make Elma a character who was more aware of the wrongs at the time - I'm just not sure how believable it is, and I can see how it might bother some people. To me it doesn't really tarnish the overall thrust or accomplishment of the book, but I'm just one person.

I would have liked to see more development of some of the background characters other than the antagonist, but by and large Elena is interesting enough and the plot fascinating enough that I was willing to overlook this. The book did remind me a little of a couple of disaster movies, but given the unique take presented here, it makes for some intriguing evaluations of the 'happy ending' presented in some and how accurate they were.

The thing that I liked most about this book, though, is that it's *smart*. It's about smart women and smart men working really hard to save our planet, and I really enjoyed that! I'm eager to pick up the next one.

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