The Space Between the Stars by Anne Corlett

The Space Between the Stars is a story concerning one woman’s journey, not just across the stars from A to B but also a search to find herself.  As debut novels go I think this is very good.  I wouldn’t say it contains much sci fi to be honest and it’s not particularly a story packed with action, it’s more a character study set against a rather grand back drop.

As the story starts we make the acquaintance of Jamie Allenby as she awakens from illness to find herself quite alone.  Jamie lived on a pretty remote planet in the colonised universe but even though there weren’t many people there were some, on this particular day though it seems that the virus sweeping from planet to planet has turned everyone to dust.  Jamie heads to the nearest port looking for survivors and just as she begins to despair she meets with a couple of characters and before long they find themselves on a ship desperately trying to return to Earth.

I liked The Space Between the Stars, it’s well written and quite thought provoking.  However, before I say anything further I will point out that this is very low in terms of sci fi – in fact strictly speaking Jamie could have been travelling from one end of any country on earth to another with much the same outcome as travelling from one planet to another by spaceship.  There are no aliens, no light travel, no warp speed and actually not too much by way of explanation.  The universe aspect is simply the backdrop.  This also isn’t a story that races away in terms of plot. Yes, of course, being an apocalypse style book there are a number of encounters but to be honest these felt a little formulaic, perhaps not if you don’t read too many books in this style but otherwise this isn’t really reinventing the wheel.

Now, I don’t really mean to sound negative with any of the above I’m simply making the point because I think it helps in terms of expectations going into a book.  I got on quite well with this book, I enjoyed it, it has a mystery aspect and a little romance, although this does not dominate the plot, but, there are other elements that are skimpy.  Basically, I have slightly torn feelings.  In one respect, I liked this and didn’t struggle to finish it but on the other hand I had these niggles, some storylines felt very easily resolved, there was some incredibly good luck happening on a fairly frequent basis and travelling between the planets seemed incredibly quick, but, I quickly came to realise this was a certain type of read and with that in mind, once I stopped expecting an alien attack or a hoard of zombies it wasn’t a struggle any more.  So, if you want something more from this than one woman, feeling very alone, embarking on a journey and having some revelations along the way then this might not be the story for you.

In terms of characters.  Well, we have Jamie, and this is very much the Jamie show.  Jamie has experienced certain things in her life that have led her to run to the furthest corner of the known universe where she would have the freedom to live and work without having to interact too often with other humans.  She’s tetchy and I suppose she comes across as a little self centred.  She certainly spends a lot of her time thinking through why her prior relationship didn’t work and mulling things over rather than maybe considering how she would survive.  However, I guess she’s simply built a wall around herself to protect others from getting through and emotionally hurting her.  In times of crisis though she finds she wants to return home – at first for an ideal that she holds in her mind but as the story progresses I think simply to go home – may it ever be so humble, etc.  Along the way she finds her hard exterior cracking and eventually she begins to let others get beneath her skin.

On the whole, I think this is an enjoyable read.  I had certain issues that prevented it being a great read but nonetheless a positive debut and I would definitely be interested in reading more work by this author.

I received a copy through Netgalley, courtesy of the publishers, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.



16 Responses to “The Space Between the Stars by Anne Corlett”

  1. A Book. A Thought.

    Incredible review !, The covers are so beautiful 😍😍

  2. Nina Carboni

    I read the arc of this and I didn’t care for it. I thought that the author gave the main character way too much baggage. I don’t want to spoil it for people who want to read it, but I felt that in place of character development the author just bogged the character down with emotional baggage and relationship issues. It wasn’t one of the best books I’ve read this year ☹️

    • @lynnsbooks

      I can see where you’re coming from. I don’t think it’s a badly written debut but it’s very low on sci go and in terms of Jamie I thought she might have spent a little more time thinking about how to survive rather than mulling over her past relationship. But. That being said I didn’t think it was too bad although it won’t be on my end of year list!

  3. Lisa (@TenaciousReader)

    Interesting how light it is on SF. It’s always kinda funny when you come across a book that could very, very easily be changed to just fiction by changing a couple of words here and there

    • @lynnsbooks

      Yeah, I don’t think this would stand up to much sci-fi scrutiny at all tbh.
      Lynn 😀

  4. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    Reading your review, I’m getting a “Good Morning, Midnight” vibe from this, though maybe not as sad and depressing – definitely making me even more excited to read it.

    • @lynnsbooks

      I think it’s a good debut, I did have issues that prevented it from maybe being a great read but it was still light and easy to get on with.
      I will have to check out Good Morning, Midnight’.
      Lynn 😀

  5. Jennifer | Book Den

    I’ve been curious about this one. The cover has been catching my eye. It sounds like there might not be enough action for me, but I’m glad you enjoyed it. 🙂

    • @lynnsbooks

      It was a good debut – I had issues with it but it was still an easy read. Fairly light.

  6. maddalena@spaceandsorcery

    As a character study this might turn out to be an interesting book, although I wonder about the necessity to set it on another planet: if the author wanted to show how tragedy can force us to take down the walls we build around ourselves, good old Earth would have been more than enough… 😀
    Still, it might prove to be worth a try. Thanks for an intriguing review!

    • @lynnsbooks

      Yeah, tbh there was no real reason for this to be set in space – I imagine hard sci fi fans would be disappointed because there is no sci fi really at all, and no explanations, it really is just a story about Jamie and her own travels – there isn’t really even any struggle to stay alive.
      Lynn 😀

  7. Rebecca

    Some parts of this were resolved REALLY easily and it was definitely more of a character driven story with the apocalypse as an interesting setting.

    • @lynnsbooks

      Yeah, Jamie definitely had a good luck angel helping her out.
      Lynn 😀

  8. sjhigbee

    A thoughtful and fair-minded review Lynn – I think I enjoyed this one more than you did. It didn’t bother me that the sci fi was distinctly on the soft side. Or that there was a whole lot more coincidence about who survived and who didn’t – there is at least a partial explanation for that. But you’re right – it is very much centred around Jamie and if readers didn’t like her, then they aren’t going to enjoy the book all that much. I liked her and her character journey – both real and emotional and enjoyed the originality of the story within the genre.

  9. Walk the Plank – the space between the stars (Anne Corlett) | Captain's Quarters

    […] Lynn @ lynnsbooks gave it a 3.5 stars – click here. […]

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