For Kerelle Evandra, her psionic powers have always meant three things: mandatory service to a multigalactic corporation, a luxurious lifestyle as a prized asset, and an electronic collar that will kill her if she steps out of line. As a powerful telekinetic, she’s spent the last ten years of her life in the corporate military, fighting anyone and anywhere the company demands. While she might resent her gilded cage – and obedience to her corporate masters’ cold directives – everyone knows that escape is impossible. And defiance risks, not just her own life, but also the life of the person closest to her: Galhen Ambrel, her lover and fellow bound psionic.
But when Galhen’s service contract is suddenly sold to a distant oligarch, Kerelle learns that obedience was not the guarantee of safety she once thought – and that escape may not be as inconceivable as she was taught to believe. When a mission brings her into contact with an unexpected ally, she must decide how far she can go, and how much she’s willing to risk for freedom.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of The Stars Within as part of the book tour with Escapist Book Company, but it hasn’t influenced the review or the score.
The Stars Within is the first installment of The Gifts of the Stars trilogy, written by Lena Alison Knight. It’s a really fast pace Sci-Fi story, a short one, with a romantic plot as one of the parts, and which is actually darker than I expected when starting. It’s about telekinetic users that are employed as soldiers for Systech, and how that affects their lives and it’s quite cool.
Despite I usually talk about worldbuilding towards the middle of the review, I felt like I really wanted to get it out of me: a universe controlled by corporations due to economical interests, with governments that are weak; and where the telekinetic are a really important part of it, as they are used as weapons under the control of PsiCorp.
Kerelle is our main character and one who is pretty relatable in some aspects. Her relationship with Gaven and how she decides to rebel against all she has accepted (keyword: accepted). Despite being a really powerful person due to her birth condition (TK-3, TC-3), she has always accepted being practically a property of PsiCorp. After the traumatic separation from Ghalen, she’s enrolled in a mission on a scientific planet, which gives her the opportunity to escape: every TK has a collar to control them.
Her evolution during this mission is kinda interesting, and she starts to risk much more things in order to have an opportunity to get free after she saw how in reality any TK is just another tool in the PsiCorp hands. We experience her evolution, the decisions, and how she goes from having accepted her fate as part of PsiCorp to wanting freedom.
Despite being a really short book, it felt full of moments that are really memorable. I felt that I kinda missed some worldbuilding due to the length, but still, I think it’s a great debut from Lena Alison Knight, so I recommend this book to people who enjoy military sci-fi and escape stories.
Lena Alison Knight
Lena Alison Knight grew up reading space opera and high fantasy and started writing her own as soon as she could hold a crayon steady. She lives with her husband in the San Francisco Bay Area, and when not writing she can be found taking brisk walks, haunting local coffee shops, or sprawled on the couch playing video games.