If you’re here and haven’t read The Loneliness of Distant Beings, get out of here! Check out that review and pick up the first book in the Ventura saga before you come back here, because MAJOR SPOILERS abound, my friends.
Let’s wind back a little bit to Distant Beings — this was a science fiction YA firmly rooted in the idea of making sacrifices for humanity, sacrifices you’d never reap the benefits of and the implications that can have for individual mental health. It’s a topic that has popped up across science fiction and always makes me ponder; how would people on long space explorations really cope with knowing they’d never see a home, and that the ship would be all they knew.
Where Distant Beings dealt with the implications of that life, The Glow of Fallen Stars explores the implications of abandoning it.
In Fallen Stars, we find Seren, Dom, Ezra and Mari crash landed on Huxley-3 having fled the Ventura on the promise of true love and a new life. What they find on their new home is not paradise, but a series of hope-crushing events that highlight just how vulnerable the teenagers are. And without the forbidden nature of their love, things between Seren and Dom become complicated as the shine of first love and raging lust begins to dull.
Honestly, every few pages I was like okay, that must have been the worst of it right? I was always wrong.
This novel has a lot of interesting questions and takes a plot direction that I completely was not expecting but absolutely loved involving coral reefs and hallucinations — yes really. Fallen Stars also seeks to answer a number of the questions posited in Distant Beings, specifically around Seren’s mother who we know also suffered from a variety of mental health problems before passing away.
I’m now even more keen to read the final book in the Saga, The Truth of Different Skies, which is not a trilogy-finale in the traditional sense, but actually a prequel to Distant Beings. Once you’ve read Fallen Stars, you will also be clamouring for this final book, which lands in May this year.
The Ventura Saga is a great series of young adult fiction that explores philosophical questions around sacrifice, love, mental health and exploration. I’ve been impressed in both books how Ling will take time to build concepts and situations, only to dismantle them either subtly without you noticing or by taking a whopping great sledgehammer to it. Either way, it’s thrilling stuff.
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