2017 Book 188: THE SPACE BETWEEN THE STARS by Anne Corlett

The Space Between the Stars by Anne Corlett 
ISBN: 9780399585111 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9780399585128 (ebook)
ASIN: B01M5FJK9W (Kindle Edition)
Publisher: Berkley 
Release Date: June 13, 2017

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… 

Jamie Allenby left Earth in protest of the forced emigration of so-called undesirables. She spent over thirteen years with her lover on one of the planetary outposts before leaving him and that planet for the relative solitude of the planet Soltaire. It is there that she survives a deadly viral outbreak and hopes to make it back to Earth to begin again in Anne Corlett’s The Space Between the Stars.

When we first meet Jamie, she is waking up from a brutal and deadly viral outbreak. The only information everyone appears to have received is that this virus is lethal and that only 0.0001% will survive. Although Jamie craved solitude and wide open spaces, this was not exactly how she wanted to receive it. Longing for human companionship, she leaves the rural farm on Soltaire for the space dock. It is there that she eventually meets up with two additional survivors: a former priest and scientist on a spiritual retreat. These three are very fortunate in that they are picked up by a cargo ship heading back to the larger planetary outpost of Alegria. The ship makes several pit stops along the way for fuel and brings aboard several more survivors before arriving at Alegria. At first, everyone is overjoyed to see that so many have survived the brutal outbreak. This joy quickly turns to fear when they are told that the administration on Alegria is refusing to allow anyone to leave and that they will be enforcing a “breeding” program since so many children were killed in the outbreak. Jamie and a few of her shipmates make a break for it and successfully land on Earth, but have no idea what awaits them there. Will they find any survivors? Will they be faced with a new administration trying to enforce rules for humanity’s survival? 

When I first began to read The Space Between the Stars I feared this was just going to be another dystopian space opera with shades of The Handmaid’s Tale meets Firefly/Serenity. I was pleasantly surprised (and no I won’t tell you why I was surprised, read the book to find out for yourself!). Yes, there is a dystopian governmental presence but it isn’t all-pervasive (nothing like the Alliance as seen in the television series Firefly or the movie Serenity). Yes, there is an occasional reference to religion and passing reference to a breeding program, but it is nothing like Gilead as seen in The Handmaid’s Tale. At its core, The Space Between the Stars is about a handful of survivors struggling to make sense of things and carry on. There’s the ship’s captain, Callan; the possibly autistic young man, Finn; the loner veterinarian, Jamie; the ship’s engineer, Grace; the former priest, Lowry; and the former research scientist, Rena. The bulk of the story centers on Jamie and her interaction with these five characters. I found The Space Between the Stars to be a relatively fast-paced, easy, and enjoyable read. I liked all of the characters (even the bad guys) and kept turning the pages because I had to know what would happen next. If you enjoying reading dystopian fiction, then I urge you to grab a copy of The Space Between the Stars to read. If you’re not sure about dystopian fiction but you enjoyed watching Firefly or Serenity, then I urge you to grab a copy of The Space Between the Stars to read. For those of you simply looking for something a little bit different to read, look no further and get yourself a copy of The Space Between the Stars

Disclaimer: I received a free digital copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley for review purposes. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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The Space Between the Stars

The Space Between the Stars