The Starlight Fortress
Taking place far in the future, long after the earth has been destroyed, The Starlight Fortress focuses on an ongoing war between planets. Our protagonists are the queen of Sunphere, Geneva, and her newly appointed military assistant, Sterling Presley. Both are considered too young for their jobs, and both are about to prove that age has nothing to do with talent.
As the war with the greedy, rapacious Pompey intensifies, so does the relationship between Geneva and Sterling. Dramatic, edge-of-your-seat space battles are intermixed with quiet scenes involving flirtation, jealousy, and growing attachment. These scenes play nicely off each other. There is never too much fighting or too much time without it; there is a beautiful balance here. Also, we get to see the queen in her official role as statesman and then contrast that with her private self, raising interesting questions about power and the responsibilities that come with it.
Mostly, though, this book is just fun. The first chapter has a massive space battle. The discussions of military tactics introduce brilliant plans of attack. The queen is so darn likable, with her insecurities and her love of food. My only complaint is that things happen a little too quickly. There isn’t any downtime between plot events, and the rapid pace with which things happen feels a little overwhelming. The book could benefit from additional descriptive passages, more narration, or something else that would simply slow down the story just a bit. This would make the characters, and thus their struggles, seem more real and more meaningful.
While this isn’t a book that’s likely to inspire deep emotional connection with the characters or extended musings on life, that’s ok. In fact, that’s wonderful! The Starlight Fortress is a fast, entertaining read that feels a bit like a roller coaster, pulling you along at breakneck speed through twists and turns that you never saw coming. In the end, you are a bit disoriented and fully exhilarated. This is Space Mountain in book form, and it’s fantastic.
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