for Museum and Library Service Finalist

Star Splitter

Matthew J. Kirby
Book Rating: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

About This Book

Crash-landed on a desolate planet lightyears from Earth, sixteen-year-old Jessica Mathers must unravel the mystery of the destruction all around her--and the questionable intentions of a familiar stranger.

For Jessica Mathers, teleportation and planetary colonization in deep space aren't just hypotheticals--they're real. They're also the very real reason her scientist parents left her behind six years ago. Now she is about to be reunited with them, forced to leave behind everyone she knows and loves, to join their research assignment on Carver 1061c, a desolate, post-extinction planet almost 14 lightyears from Earth.

Teleportation is safe and routine in the year 2198, but something seems to have gone very, very wrong. Jessica wakes up in an empty, and utterly destroyed, landing unit from the DS Theseus, the ship where she was supposed to rendezvous with her parents. But Jessica isn't on the Theseus orbiting Carver 1061c. The lander seems to have crashed on the planet's surface. Its corridors are empty and covered in bloody handprints; the machines are silent and dark. And outside, in the alien dirt, are the carefully, and recently, marked graves of strangers.




Star Splitter, Matthew J. Kirby - Review

Matthew J. Kirby's novel Star Splitter is a Sci-Fi Fantasy-esque story, following 17-year-old Jessica Mathers and her various trials on the fictional planet Carver 1061c. The book alternates between Jessica's past and present point of views. Some moments focus on Jessica's time on the new planet, where she's the sole survivor of the spaceship known as the DS Theseus--well, sole survivor save for someone *extremely* familiar to her. Other chapters recount her time on the DS Theseus before this crash, a ship onto which she's just teleported after being forced to leave her friends and family behind for a life in space. The book takes on a plethora of topics, teleportation, alien life, and the elaborate workings of a mission in space. Despite biting off a lot, this book handles all of the inevitable Sci-Fi intricacies extremely well. Everything Jessica describes and encounters is fleshed out and realistic, just like Jessica herself. She's 17-year-old girl dragged unwillingly through space and all of the tribulations accompanying the journey. Her emotions and reactions with regards to everything she has to face before and after the crash of the Theseus are realistic and relatable, adding to how immersive this book is from a worldbuilding standpoint as well as a character standpoint. Undoubtedly my favorite part of this book is how the ethics of its own technology are explored; if your body is dismantled, atom by atom, and recreated lightyears away, is it still you? Does our current understanding of quantum mechanics and information theory mean that, at a quantum level, extinct alien creatures can still exist as ghosts? As daunting as these topics may sound, the book tackles them extremely well through its storyline and through the various characters Jessica meets. And with as many questions this book answers, it left me with a lot to think about--that's something I love in a book. Save for a couple of gripes with the author's writing style, this book is just about as good as it gets for an intense, immersive, Sci-Fi experience.

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