Rating: 7.3 (out of 10)
The real star of Hurley’s latest novel is, as we’ve come to expect from her, the incredible world-building. I can only think of a small handful of SFF writers who can match the breadth of her imagination.
In The Stars are Legion, a system of “world ships” populated entirely by women (the “Legion” of the title) battle for supremacy. One warrior, called Zan, has been recycled over and over to lead a battle against the Mokshi, the prize of the Legion, having her memory wiped each time a new version of her is reborn. Her memory slowly returns to her as her journey progresses and she is forced to confront the truth about herself and her mission.
This novel is exceptional in many ways, particularly in the vividness of Hurley’s language as the reader discovers and explores the world of the Legion along with Zan. There are drawbacks, however. As with Hurley’s other novels, The Stars are Legion both benefits and suffers from Hurley’s two most defining characteristics as a storyteller: the breakneck pace of her plotting, and her propensity for extreme violence and gore. The up-tempo rhythm of her stories often makes for an exciting page turner, but just as often allows her to hand-wave past some contrived moments and plot ambiguities. The violent action that seeps out of almost every page can be nausea-inducing as often as it is thrilling and sometimes feels like overkill, as if the author is trying too hard to out-gross herself.
I keep expecting an author with Hurley’s incredible talent and ability to produce a masterpiece, but keep coming away mildly disappointed that she hasn’t. The Stars are Legion is no exception. It is still a very good book, and I won’t give up hope that we’ll get an all-time classic out of her yet.