The Calculating Stars (2018) by Mary Robinette Kowal

A lady, with her back to us, calculates the trajectory of a shutter while the moon serves as her chalkboard and background.

Completely different from the kind of books I normally read. This sci-fi takes an interesting premise and fills it with nuanced, rich characters with refreshing layers of complexity. The outcome is a page turner filled with a range of emotions and a variety of conflicts. Perhaps what came as the biggest surprise to me was the book’s ability to make me whoop and cheer for scenes devoid of actions. I am so used to reading epic fantasies that a satisfying finale originating from a single effective sentence was a welcome surprise.

I also really enjoyed reading the sex scenes as they didn’t feel invasive or gross but rather had a very real charm to them. I think Kowal writes incredibly real characters which is a welcome change of pace as the SF I’ve been reading has been devoid of them for the most part.

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