Series: Sentinels of the Galaxy #1
Published by HarperCollins
Published on 16 November 2018
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
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Navigating the Stars is the first book in a new science fiction series.
Terra Cotta Warriors have been discovered on other planets in the Milky Way Galaxy. And Lyra Daniels' parents are the archaeological Experts (yes with a capital E) on the Warriors and have dragged her to the various planets to study them despite the time dilation causing havoc with her social life.
When one of the many Warrior planets goes silent, and looters attack her research base, Lyra becomes involved in discovering why the Warriors were placed on these planets. And, more importantly, by who.
I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Although I prefer to read fantasy these days, sci-fi was actually my first love (please don’t tell my fantasy books). I’ve read and loved almost all of Snyder’s books, including her original sci-fi Inside Out, so I was pretty keen to dive into this one, especially since it was starting with a younger, mouthier heroine than I’m used to with Snyder. And Lyra’s voice is incredible! So different to anything Snyder’s written before – Lyra actually talks to the reader, but it really works in this context.
If, like me, you have read and loved other Snyder books, you’ll find it comforting that there are numerous tropes Snyder utilises in this book that you’ll find familiar:
- Lyra is the only one who can perform a particular valuable yet illegal skill.
- Lyra and her love interest start off hating each other.
- Lyra makes a very good impression on the captain/commander/leader-type figure.
- Lyra spends some time in self-defense/combat training.
- Lyra becomes part of a team but always remains an outsider.
There are of course differences from Snyder’s other books: Lyra’s a minor, and her parents, though they love and trust her, don’t, won’t, or can’t treat her like an adult. Lyra’s parents are archaeologists whose job on distant planets means they basically time travel into the future while their friends stay behind and age, and Lyra’s brother, whom we don’t meet, abandoned his time-travelling, space-faring family once he came of age, and her parents are afraid she’ll do the same thing. They love and respect her, but they force her to travel with them, even though they allow her to make other dangerous decisions. Lyra is one of the oldest minors on the ship, and she’s at that very interesting and perfect YA age that I love reading about. She has school requirements, social requirements, and a responsibility to assist her parents, even though she’s not sure if archaeology is the career she wants to pursue.
I really enjoyed this book, getting to know Lyra’s friends and family, her life as a time-travelling archaeologist/computer hacker balanced with her responsibilities as a teen. If you’ve read other Snyder books I think you’ll love the familiarity of this book coupled with the new direction Lyra’s voice takes us in. I loved the descriptions of her home, the new characters added, and her dynamic relationships with everyone.
While the Terracotta Warriors seems like an odd choice of topic for a sci-fi, I think Snyder really makes it work with respect to the originals and the ones discovered in space. I’m really looking forward to the next book in the series and unravelling more of this mystery.