Science Fiction

The Stars Now Unclaimed – Drew Williams

4 Stars

The Stars Now Unclaimed is a fun, action-packed trip around space full of explosions and the constant threat of failure. Drew Williams’ debut novel will definitely appeal to fans of John Scalzi, Becky Chambers and Star Wars. 

Cover from Goodreads. Isn’t this gorgeous? 

Jane Kamali is an agent for the Justified. Her mission: to recruit children with miraculous gifts in the hope that they might prevent the Pulse from once again sending countless worlds back to the dark ages.

Hot on her trail is the Pax–a collection of fascist zealots who believe they are the rightful rulers of the galaxy and who remain untouched by the Pulse.

Now Jane, a handful of comrades from her past, and a telekinetic girl called Esa must fight their way through a galaxy full of dangerous conflicts, remnants of ancient technology, and other hidden dangers.

And that’s just the beginning . . .

Drew Williams’ The Stars Now Unclaimed is fun and I thoroughly enjoyed my reading experience. But some of the elements of the book just didn’t quite work for me. 

The main villains in the story are The Pax – a fascist collective that values strength above all else, including individuality. Their brutality and basic description of uniform made them feel like knockoff Storm Troopers, tweaked just enough to skirt copyright issues. Williams added some interesting details about how the Pax pacify their enslaved troops, but ultimately I couldn’t stop envisioning Storm Troopers when the Pax were mentioned. 

As a result of the strong Storm Trooper resemblance, the Justified and the Repentant, Jane’s sect reminded me strongly of the Jedi and the rebels. There are some pretty strong parallels between the groups and their goals. 

The book is marketed as having a Firefly vibe, which I did not pick up on at all, despite being a big fan of that franchise. 

I did however love the whole concept of the Pulse and the whole interplay between the Justified, their goals, the Pulse and the consequences. The Preacher’s character offers an interesting foil to Jane and the Justified, without being an outright antagonist. 

If you’re looking for a fun read with Star Wars vibes and tons of space battles and satisfying explosions, The Stars Now Unclaimed is the book for you. Find it on shelves now! 

Thank you to Macmillan-Tor/Forge for providing me with an eARC of this book.