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Tracing The Stars

I read mostly science fiction and romance, and often a combination of the two.

Overall enjoyable, even if slightly stiff

Outside - Lucy Kemnitzer

Disclaimer: I received a copy from the publisher with request for honest feedback.

Overall, I liked this book. The story and themes were enjoyable. The worldbuilding was well done and unique. It felt familiar enough to be graspable, yet alien in a way that makes for good futuristic science fiction. The issues came down to style and author voice, both of which kept me from loving it.

I loved the science fiction side of the story - the space station, 'outside' missions and the way the station was described. I enjoyed the unique culture of the space station, the way relationships were handled (chain marriages, polyamorous relationships, pair bonding, etc). Although the species was never discussed, though I assumed highly futuristic human, they had cultures that were unique from today's human societies.

The relationship / romance side of the story was also enjoyable. I liked how they began, the tension between social and work relationships, what happened to Flint and how it was eventually resolved. There were several interesting side characters as well. Gamble left some things to be desired and came across as a robot emotionally at times, but I can respect that as part of his character.

The story style and author voice is where the story stumbled. As a reader, I felt like I was being 'told' everything. I was 'told' who the characters were, I was 'told' how they acted, I was 'told' what they were doing and why. I was 'told how they felt. It made the book stiff, formal and almost clinical.

The point is that I wasn't 'shown' anything. The characters were not allowed to speak for themselves or show me who they were through their thoughts, actions and words. The 'tell' vs 'show' author style can be hard to balance and nail down sometimes. I think with some revision, this story and its characters could be given more life and make for a more enjoyable read.