Friday, May 17, 2013
Review:A Handful of Stars(Star Svensdotter #2)by Dana Stabenow
Entering the world of Star Svendotter is like entering the Worlds of Heinlein. There are so many elements of Dana Stabenow's world building that remind me of what I've seen in Heinlein's worlds. There is definitely an emphasis on Scientific Detail.
I love both elements here and then the fact that the gutsy hero is a woman who would do Hazel Stone proud. Hazel stone of The Rolling Stones by Robert A. Heinlein is also known as Hazel Meade and later as Gwen Novak (in Multiverse novels). Both are cantankerous and have a fierce passion for protecting their family. In Star's case her family seem to include everyone who works around her in her various habitats.
Star seems to have a slight detachment along with this that serves to help her dispense justice-most of the time. I'm not so sure how I felt about that after she had children, but there is at least one time where we get to see her pushed to the point that she truly loses it and for good reasons. I like that she stays consistent but felt she lacked some normal emotions sometimes.
There are a couple of issues that come up that are interesting that would have been nice things to address further in this novel. We can hope there might be more about them in the next. The first is that at the moment she goes into labor she is confronted with the realization that she has a child she didn't know about. What? You heard it. This is a favorite joke around here- about how a woman can't have a child she's unaware of. In this context there are reasonable explanations. Star seems to have a reaction about this that we see her teetering on the edge of the thought that there might be some prejudice in her towards test tube babies. This is later brought to the fore again when they discover a ship full of fools who have apparently been cloning themselves into a thin and weak genetic community. She and her new son Leif keep skirting this issue and never have a really good discussion. I understand that in a way it is part of Star's nature to avoid this particular conflict. The bottom line was that we have the impression Star has some prejudice but no actual admission of such from her.
All of this happens as Star and her husband Caleb O'Hara arrive at the asteroid belt. Their mission to mine the belt, set forth in Second Star, has come to fruition and Star immediately is forced to take the bull by the horns when she discovers there is a crisis and a plague in the mining community that she's expected to solve.
The next event of note is major and yet somehow after Star's main blowup- just seems to sort of slide behind her mask judicial fortitude. She really doesn't get a chance to deal with it and it didn't seem fair for her to me. Somehow I'm not sure why she wouldn't and didn't seem to complain that much.
Science wise Star embarks on world creating of her own when they decide they can hollow out asteroids and create livable space. This leads to a discovery that could change the whole landscape of things and then leads to the tragedy. From there things almost become mundane until the climatic end.
The universe that Dana builds here is quite believable and almost sometimes painfully so. It would have been nice to hear something from and of her niece who ran off with the Galactic Librarians, but perhaps that's slated for some future story.
At this point I'd be hard pressed to say if this is shaping up to be a long series of books or a trilogy. I only know that as long as the pace keeps up I'll be interested in following Star , Leif, Paddy and Sean wherever they go.
If you are a fan of Heinlein and love Science Fiction and other such science these stories should be just what the doctor ordered.