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Publisher's Summary

Goodreads Choice Award for Best Science Fiction Novel.

To Sleep in a Sea of Stars is a masterful epic science-fiction novel from the New York Times and Sunday Times best-selling author of the Inheritance Cycle, Christopher Paolini.

Kira Navárez dreamed of life on new worlds. Now she's awakened a nightmare.

During a routine survey mission on an uncolonized planet, Kira finds an alien relic. At first she’s delighted, but elation turns to terror when the ancient dust around her begins to move. As war erupts among the stars, Kira is launched into a galaxy-spanning odyssey of discovery and transformation. First contact isn’t at all what she imagined, and events push her to the very limits of what it means to be human. While Kira faces her own horrors, Earth and its colonies stand upon the brink of annihilation. Now, Kira might be humanity’s greatest and final hope....

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2020 Christopher Paolini (P)2020 Macmillan Audio

Critic Reviews

"Christopher Paolini is a true rarity." (Washington Post)

"'An authentic work of great talent." (New York Times Book Review)

"A breathtaking and unheard of success." (USA Today

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What listeners say about To Sleep in a Sea of Stars

Average Customer Ratings
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Great listen

I loved this book. The world building was great and characters felt real. And the narrator was absolutely amazing. A must listen

1 person found this helpful

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Meh

The Narrator is amazing. But then of course, it is Jennifer Hale. A LEGEND among voice actors who has commanded my loyalty amd respect for decades. There is nobody who could have done this better, given, in my opinion, what there was to work with.
The story. Boy. It could have been shorter. Much shorter. I don't know what else to say. I was reminded of a lot of other sci fi works throughout reading this. Anne McCaffery's The Ship who Sang. Alien. Mass Effect. The Expanse. Concepts taken from all the greats and woven into something that didn't quite get there. I am too harsh perhaps, I never really liked the author and shouldn't have gotten the book in the first place. But. Jennifer Hale. And I finished it. Perhaps like a person suffering from Stockholm Syndrome, when I got half way I didn't know how to leave.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Enjoyed it a lot

Exactly what I was wanting in a Scifi. Fantastic narration looking forward to the sequel

1 person found this helpful

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BRILLIANT!!!

Beautifully written. Narration an Oscar-worthy performance. Paolini is without a doubt a truly gifted author.

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good but a little derivative

jennifer hale is a star as always so there is great narration at least, the story is nothing new, it's all stuff we've seen before: powerful but mysteriously vanished ncient aliens, grey goo, mild cosmic horror etc. it's all familiar territory but it's done in a fairly entertaining way. it lacks anything truely unique, but at the end of the day this is true of all modern fiction. everything can be boiled down till it resembles basically everything else if you try.

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great voice, average, bloated story

really good narration. Story not so much. paolini's previous work was considered derivative. He's changed genre, but it's still derivative. This time of the Alien franchise, and he seems to acknowledge this with some awkward homages. The book is compelling at times but at other times seems like it was written with a screenplay or video game in mind. And the main character manages to be the only significant person in the universe in terms of the events, everyone else is under developed. This is soft sci fi but for some reason there is an appendix explaining the future tech at the end. Like some piece of lore you would find in an RPG game. A good writer would weave that stuff into the story, lord knows he had enough opportunity in this bloated book. Without spoilers I can't get into the finer points.

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I am not enticed

Slow with boring plot points. Found myself not caring about the characters .
Most of the things they do are pointless too. Couldn’t bring myself to finish it

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Outstanding and mesmerising!

I could not stop listening! Both story and performance was so addictive I absolutely couldn't wait to put my headphones on and disappear into Kira's word. I loved every minute of this book and can definitely recommend to all fantasy and scifi fans.

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  • NumptyDoo
  • 02-04-21

Very good, surprisingly

As soon as I'd bought this I regretted it. What was I thinking? I disliked the dragon books and had only read them to be able to talk to my son about them.
So, with regret, I started to listen to it. This book is in a whole different league. It has a great plot, is well told and very well performed. The book may be long but is disappointingly short; I want more! I loved it.

34 people found this helpful

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  • Adam Buckler
  • 03-25-21

Firefly meets mass effect.

It’s a good book. I liked listening to it and I’m glad that I have listened to it. It’s long but having gotten to the end I think I would go back and do it again unlike some other long books I’ve listened to (Shantaram I’m looking at you, although I do keep thinking of Shantaram so maybe I’m being unfair to it).

It definitely has feelings of it being written by an author use to writing for young adults/teens and the characterisation felt a bit blunt on occasion. I’d also say that the main character is just a bit too nice and it never felt like she was struggling against her own nature to the right thing. It was a little bit like if Disney did a space opera.

That said, it *is* a grand space opera of a story and it did it well. Rarely did I feel like the characters jarred enough to break me away from the world it created, and also felt that I wanted to know how the story progressed. Also the crew of the Wallpig in particular very much had the feel of the Firefly crew to my mind which I rather liked.

There are a couple of things that felt odd. Firstly a couple of the characters/plot points appear and then disappear without a trace, including one who is briefly the big bad only to barely raise a mention later on. I suspect it will be dealt with in a follow up book but that but just felt unnecessary and overly complicated the story arc in an unsatisfactory way.

The narration was too breathy at the start. Hale definitely grew into it as the book progressed but it sounded like it might stumble into erotic fiction for the first hour or so. As she mentions in the discussion at the end it was her first audio book and she really did grow into it.

The sound editing was very badly done. They kept missing the cut point so that words would be repeated as the various takes were sewn badly together. I’ve never had that before in a book I’ve listened to and I suspect it was due to time pressures in meeting the release date, but it was off putting and oddly amateur for a release this hyped. The 3 stars for narration very much reflects this aspect rather than Hale’s performance.

Anyway, those are my thoughts. Worth a listen in my opinion.

25 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-02-20

Mostly enjoyable...

It is clear the the author spent a lot of time world building, and thus the world is actually good.
I didn't find the phasing to be bad, It's clear that the author wanted to emphasize, how slow time seems to pass alone in FTL while everyone else is in hibernation. I had no issues following the timeline, excellent narration makes it easy.
As for the characters... I really like the ship mind... :D The captain doesn't really make any important decision, just kinda does what the main character suggests after some pondering or voting procedure, so he is kind of a puppet. The main character... Well she is way overpowered, but almost gets herself killed couple of times, yet she succeeds due to the sheer power and omniscience of the symbiote, she only has to let it loose, and problem solved... WHAT THE HELL IS THAT?!?! Whining is what she does best till the end... :-/
That was the objective part, however I'm not a robot, so - 1 star for some subjective things I just didn't like about it...

19 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • W. Jacks
  • 12-22-20

Incredible story, mesmerising performance, final copy needed tweeking

A lengthy book that in all honesty could’ve been edited down to about 650 instead of a behemoth 870+ pages. The story wears its influences on its sleeves, a difficult aspect of sci fi that most writers can’t help but include or pay homage to. However, the amount of attention to detail, scientific awareness and overall preparedness of the author is astounding. The afterword really painted a picture as to how this book slowly came into existence and the perseverance of the author; who believed in his heart and soul that the idea he had 14 years ago was worth all the agony. I would say that this is a more accessible Children of Time, where the science-y jargon can be completely bypassed by the reader or listener if it suits them. It’s fascinating, don’t get me wrong, but the dialogue between characters is so down to Earth and plucky that it sometimes feels like a Marvel movie rather than a deadly serious sci-fi. Not wanting to spoil anything, the story is great and the ending is sublime. Only other complaint is that the repetition of certain words and phrases became slightly distracting. However, a book this long is bound to have some editing issues, which can also be said of the audio recording which on a couple of occasions included outtakes and false starts. A great book, highly recommend for Audible.

16 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Andrew
  • 09-28-20

Disappointing final 20% of the book

A five star book for the first three quarters of the way, thereafter a 2 star book. Seems the author didn't have a clue how to end his story.

10 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 10-13-20

mostly bad

there are some interesting and original elements but otherwise the book is bland and uninteresting, human interaction not very intelligently written, story arc very predictable, battles boring, alien civilization not properly explored, characters mostly annoying and boring, philosophy and psychology lacking, narration not bad though

8 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Leena
  • 09-27-20

Waaaaaay tooooo loooong

I wish this had been cut to about 20hrs. It was a good story but just had too much fluff to make it a 5 star one. The soft blade alien was so cool and unique but the others really lacked imagination.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Ms Moomin
  • 02-21-21

Excellent narration, but wow, so long!

Even though the book is 30+ hours, I was never bored, and even more importantly, never got annoyed with the narrator. Fantastic space scifi, great for beginners to the genre too. Highly recommended listening!

7 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • James
  • 01-05-21

A super suit that will fix everything.

I listened to this because it was the most popular sci fi book on good reads.

The plot is girl finds super suit. Super suit creates lots of problems then fixes them.

All of them...

Dumped into space? No problem. Use the super suit
Friends dying? No problem. Use the super suit.
Galaxy over run by aliens? No problem use the super suit.

I listened to it whilst painting the bathroom....

Anything more interesting and I would not have bothered.

7 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Clatters
  • 10-28-20

Great read.

Look foreard to the sequel? Hope we dont have to wait another 13 years to get it.

4 people found this helpful

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  • johnnie
  • 10-17-20

Cliche ridden

This is a fantasy novel shoved into a sci-fi genre. Bloated and cliche ridden.

5 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • michael
  • 09-16-20

Yawn

From the great job Christopher did at age of 16 I though this book was going to have in-depth alien races with there own language with a great story this just fell short it’s a sify story the end.

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • karen murden
  • 11-07-20

An epic homage to the sci-fi greats

I loved the world Paolini created and I'm going to miss it, and Kira, now I've finished.

There are scenes that pay homage to Alien, characters that clearly drew inspiration from Star Wars and weapons that feel familiar from other space movies. However, these are balanced with plenty of original ideas.

Each character is beautifully drawn and voiced.
The detailed descriptions of scenes and settings made the whole story feel visually vivid, colourful and immersive.

Lovely!

3 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Marguerite Merritt
  • 10-17-20

problem with sound

the sound has disappeared for this book. world great for other books, so the problem is not my phone. can you please fix this problem for me?

3 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Chris
  • 11-16-20

Not for everyone

Not going to lie, it was a real struggle at the start and I almost lost interest towards the end. It's a very long book but it seemed like the characters spent most of their time not really doing anything. Overall, a decent science fiction novel with some great narration by Jennifer Hale.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Keira
  • 10-16-20

30 hours at FTL with Commander Shepard!

Jennifer Hale is a remarkable voice talent, as many gamers know. In this, every character she plays is distinct, interesting and endearing. The narration is thoughtful, emotional and nuanced. As for Paolini's story, the world he's built feels lived in, and the pace and plotting and stakes don't let up. With all this combined, this space epic just flies by. I was absolutely hooked.

2 people found this helpful

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  • savage
  • 07-01-21

Suspension of disbelief is lacking

The premise is terrific. Space, far flung outposts, Xenoarcheology!!! a strong female protagonist tragedy and mystery. It had such promise.

Unfortunately, Mr Paolini makes it excessively clear in his novel that he is the number one Alien franchise fan in existence. Over and over and over.

Characters, ships and AIs are all named from the Alien franchise characters and its actors and each time they are read out, I am jarringly dragged out of my suspension of disbelief and back into just listening to a book. It just wasn't working and won't work. Jennifer Hale is an excellent actor and I will be looking for more from her but I just couldn't retain the suspension of disbelief required to enjoy this book.

Other authors I know do slip the odd reference in (even an author mate put my name into a book), some do it for charitable contributions, some as an homage. But those references are not a complete abrogation by the author to even think of using original names for characters. It may seem a small thing but I was hours into the book and it hadn't slowed down.

Many may not notice this or think it only minor, and I hope sufficient do to complete the book and do a review on the entirety of it, I just couldn't.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-09-21

Should have been a trilogy or series...

Story:
I loved Paolini's "The Inheritance Cycle", so naturally was looking forward to a new story from him. I'm so glad I stuck it out.

There were times when I zoned out, finding it lengthy and boring (and this comes from a lover of long fantasy books and series). I may have missed important story lines as a result, but couldn't bring myself to re-read these dull areas unless I felt something didn't make sense or I'd missed something vital.

I feel this book would have been better if it was broken up into a trilogy or series of books. Way too much time was invested in explaining the back story and various nuances contained in this particular Universe. As a reader we needed to know this information, however, it became "information overload" and took away from the actual story. Rather, this information could have been "drip fed" over a series of books, making it easier to bare and not so boring. It was a monster of a book with such great, thought out cultures, technologies, species and Worlds. It would have been great if Paolini could have taken his time with the story, expanding it to the size a story like this needs, rather than condensing the monster into a single book.

In saying this, I absolutely loved the story! Paolini has a wonderful imagination and creates believable Worlds that are well thought out and scientifically explained.

Performance:
This is the first time I've heard Jennifer Hale narrate a story. It took a little time to get used to her style, but by the end I adored her! At the beginning I thought she was quite monotone and rushed, however, as the story developed I realised she was very well suited to the story and it's characters. I particularly enjoyed her rendition of the mad ship mind Gregorovich. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to Jennifer Hale and will definitely look out for her future narratives.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • tsrc
  • 04-11-21

Literrally the story of Halo

Literally the story of Halo with names and small details changed. I'm sure I'm not the only person to notice?

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-08-21

It's fine I guess

A bit disappointing honestly. I didn't go in with great expectations. The flow of the story feels clunky and too many things are in the appendix and not the story. Feels longer than it needs to me but there are still huge time leaps. It's a fine story but it's not genre defining. The performance was weird - there were times when lines repeated themselves or cut out but I'm not sure if that was audible or the audiobook. If you like easy listening and sci fi it will kill time but not a must read by any means. I won't listen to it read a sequel.

1 person found this helpful