It Takes Death To Reach a Star by Stu Jones & Gareth Worthington

“We have one life to live, use yours to make a difference.”


Set in a dystopian Earth ravaged by the New Black Death the generations of survivors have founded Etyom, a society where genetics matter and there is one called the Leader to rule them. The genetically engineered Graciles live above the clouds and plague in advanced homes; The Robusts make up the enclaves below where savagery, drugs & sex are a means for survival.

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Mila Solokoff is a bounty hunter of sorts dealing with the dredges of Lower Etyom and the cold to make money. Hardened by a dark past Mila is a fierce fighter with an even fiercer heart. Demitri Stasevich is a scientist battling schizophrenia and drug addiction while trying to maintain a sense of normalcy. To fight his demons he risks discovery by everyone in his perfect society.

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The two cross paths on a dangerous mission to retrieve information that holds all of Etyom in it’s grasp and to fight their demons or be succumbed by them. In this action-packed and dark sci-fi the authors will lead you into a future where there are no limits. Goodreads synopsis here.

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I was given this book by Booktasters in exchange for an honest review, this in no way sways my opinions about the novel

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My Thoughts:

I am a huge fan of sci-fi and this was such a dark adventure filled with science and plenty of dystopian goodies so I was satisfied. I was slightly confused in the beginning by all of the terms unique to the book and it took me a while to get used to them but I eased into it as the novel went on. It’s set in the year 2251 after a plague called the New Black Death pretty much wipes out all of civilization and everyone moves to Siberia; So this whole novel is cold to say the least which only adds to the crappy environment of the enclaves. There is a lot of political and religious conversation in this book and the xenophobia is everywhere with all of these surrounding races clumped into small territories and forced to do whatever it takes. At times I found the amount of slurs random characters threw around to be tiresome but this was all part of the overall “we only trust our own” vibe that everyone has. I was more invested in the characters than the plot and that’s not to say that the plot wasn’t interesting because it was! These guys really did their research and used their life experiences to make this book come to life.

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“You’re not the Lightbringer Mila, you can’t save everyone.”

Mila Solokoff: I absolutely loved this strong female character, she takes absolutely no prisoners and is strong in her faith. People often call her an angel and she is one considering she’s saving everyone’s lives this entire novel. Mila’s brother recently went missing after working in the mines that her people are forced to toil in day in and day out so the outcome of that weighs on her shoulders as well as the burden of the mission she’s taken on. She naturally grows into herself and her journey as the book goes on and she was my #1 forsure.

“Demetri. I need your help. We all need your help. You’re the only one who understands this well enough to stop it.”

Demetri Stasevich: Demetri is easy on the eyes and easy on the heart in this novel, he struggles with an evil inner voice that he named Vedmak that threatens to take him over. To say that he’s intelligent is an understatement and being genetically engineered only adds to his status as a favorite of the Leader’s. To keep his evil personality at bay he uses DBS supplied by a fellow scientist to mellow out. I enjoyed watching his development and realization that he is not his monsters; the whole novel he exhibits such humanity for someone that was grown in a bio-lab. The struggle he goes through in this novel just to be brave and to figure out what the hell is going on stressed me out.

“In this body, I am a machine built for war. A machine the Graciles never understood how to harness.”

Vedmak: As far as I’m concerned everyone should be worried about a personality that can literally rip people to shreds. There are a few instances in this book where Vedmak completely takes over Demetri and I did not see that coming and when he does it is for no other purpose than to ruin everyone’s day in the surrounding areas. Vedmak has even the most violent people running for the hills, if they can make it that far in the first place. He’s evil and is constantly telling Demetri how worthless he is and how one day he’ll be free and that he’ll take over Etyom, y’all he is insane.

The Leader: I wasn’t really into this character because Vedmak was the real villain for me and all of the violence that Mila & Co. were experiencing overshadowed this master plan that he concocted. The Leader is the puppet master of this novel and has played his hand well; By the end of it him and his minions give Mila and Demetri a run for their money.

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Wrap up:

There is a God vs. Science debate going on in this novel which made for a pensive feel that I enjoyed. For readers that are worried there is drug usage and sexual assault themes, these were all a part of the plot and overall story. I would definitely read more of their works, I only found the end to be a little bit lackluster but it was a whirlwind and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I rated this book 3.9/5 🌟

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“We are free people. The Elites do not control us!”

Until next time

2 thoughts on “It Takes Death To Reach a Star by Stu Jones & Gareth Worthington”

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