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Book Review: Light From Other Stars

September 2, 2019

Another week, another book review! I was very excited about this week's book! It was one that was tucked away in my Pinterest board, and then when I found it for half off, I knew I needed to pick it up for myself to read!

 

If you need a refresher about why I do a weekly book review, check it out here!

 

With no more ado, here is my review of Light From Other Stars by Erika Swyler!

 Light From Other Stars begins in Easter, Florida in 1986, where Nedda Papas father, a well-known scientist, is attempting to make a machine that will slow down the decay of time. After the Challenger rocket explodes, killing its crew, Nedda learns about death, and how people become light, traveling forever, according to her father. In the aftermath of the explosion, a spark turns his machine on, sending it spiraling across the whole town of Easter. 

 

In the future, grown Nedda is aboard the spaceship Chawla, traveling to the planet Fortitude to set up a colony.

 

But Chawla is in trouble; the engines are failing, and so is the eyesight of the crew from lack of gravity.

 

Back in 1986, Nedda and her best friend Denny go to his father's grove where Denny gets stuck in a time loop. Nedda goes to her father to have him stop the machine, causing her father to also get stuck in a time loop. Other events are happening around town, like corpses sewing themselves up in the morgue, or roads being overgrown with foliage. Nedda goes to her mother for help, since her mother was one a study of physics. They begin looking for the right equation. 

 

Back on Chawla, Nedda undergoes eye surgery so she will be able to fix the engine. The surgery fixes her eye, and she runs the equation that she and her mother discovered back in 1986.

 

Back in 1986, Nedda and her mother make a super-sized electromagnet, strong enough to stop her father's machine. Nedda soon realizes that setting off the magnet will release radiation into her father's lab and kill him. When the time comes to flip the switch, Nedda volunteers. She and her mother flee, and time in Easter returns to normal in the ensuing explosion. But, soon the citizens realize they were trapped in their time bubble for 50 years, and it is now the year 2036. 

 

Aboard Chawla, Nedda goes on her first space walk to get to the engines. She is able to fix them, and the crew know they will make it to Fortitude. The novel ends with Fortitude coming into sight in their front wind-screen. 

 

I truly loved Light From Other Stars. It was wildly different from anything else I've read (and I've read a lot!)! I was thrilled by the jumps in time, and how the two disparate points of time connected. I thought the plot was wholly original, and loved getting to know Nedda both as a child and as an adult. I thought Nedda was a fabulous character. She was intelligent, and not afraid to be, and hugely brave! I found her fascinating, and an excellent protagonist.

 

I loved the settings, the simple peace of Easter, and the vastness of space making a great exposition. I wish there would have been a little more description of Chawla; it was a little hard to picture the inside of the ship, and I would have liked that setting to be a little more flushed out. 

 

I was worried that the amount of science in the novel would make it difficult to read, but Swyler is able to glaze over the needed science, yet still make the math/science believable. The science never really confused me or took me out of the novel which I appreciated. You can tell Swyler did her research, not only about the electromagnets, and slow-decay, but also NASA and other astronauts. I enjoyed how this research and how it made the book feel more credible.

 

All in all, I have to give Light From Other Stars by Erika Swyler an enthusiatic 5 out of 5! I really enjoyed reading this novel!

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