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It Takes Death to Reach a Star

IT TAKES DEATH TO REACH A STAR by Stu Jones & Gareth Worthington Vesuvian Books Literary Fiction , Sci Fi & Fantasy Pub Date 22 May 2018


It Takes Death to Reach a Star depicts a dystopian future where the last of society is divided between the Graciles, genetically engineered individuals who live in luxury above, and the Robusts, the plague survivors who struggle in the frozen habitats below. The Robust population of Eytom is divided into walled segments according to belief. Travel between is dangerous, as violent, cannibalistic outcasts live between sectors. The two central characters are Mila, a courier and Demetri, a gracile struggling to keep a secret that could lead to his death. As you might expect, they end up working together to stop a plot that would result in the destruction of life as they know it.

I have mixed feelings about It Takes Death to Reach a Star. I did like how the authors went counter stereotype, portraying the very real fear a person like Demetri would face being thrown into the Robust part of the city and experiencing violence for the first time. I wasn’t comfortable with the representation of all Muslims except for one man and his sister as being radical, violent maniacs. The warlord leader and his minions played a major role, but they were pretty generic maniacal bad guys. All but a handful of characters in It Takes Death to Reach A Star were two dimensional cardboard cutouts. I also think the science portion could have been made more believable. I had a very hard time reconciling the disposable/function oriented nature of the graciles with their leader’s supposed desire to make them immortal. It Takes Death To Reach a Star had some interesting ideas, but there were definitely areas where additional work was needed.

3 / 5

I received a copy of It Takes Death to Reach a Star from the publisher and in exchange for an honest review.

— Crittermom


The world you know is dead. We did this to ourselves. The epidemic struck at the end of the Third World War. Fighting over oil, power, and religion, governments ignored the rise of an antibacterial-resistant plague. In just five years, the Earth was annihilated. Only one city survived—Etyom—a frozen hellhole in northern Siberia, engulfed in endless conflict. The year is 2251. Two groups emerged from the ashes of the old world. Within the walled city of Lower Etyom dwell the Robusts—descendants of the poor who were immune to the New Black Death. Above them, in a metropolis of pristine platforms called lillipads, live the Graciles—the progeny of the superrich, bio-engineered to resist the plague. Mila Solokoff is a Robust who trades information in a world where knowing too much can get you killed. Caught in a deal gone bad, she’s forced to take a high-risk job for a clandestine organization hell-bent on revolution. Demitri Stasevich is a Gracile with a dark secret—a sickness that, if discovered, will get him Ax’d. His only relief is an illegal narcotic produced by the Robusts, and his only means of obtaining it is a journey to the arctic hell far below New Etyom. Thrust together in the midst of a sinister plot that threatens all life above and below the cloud line, Mila and Demitri must master their demons and make a choice—one that will either salvage what’s left of the human race or doom it to extinction…

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