Books 2024, #4: The Blighted Stars (The Devoured Worlds, #1), by Megan E. O'Keefe

book cover for The Blighted Stars by Megan E. O'Keefe. A male and female human, armed, stand on a blighted worldscape. Two planets, a moon, and one big spaceship are visible in the background.

I'm sorry, but this book sucks.

There's some interesting ideas on the sci-fi/setting side, kind of, but nothing we haven't really seen before.

What is TERRIBLE and caused me to bail out on the book about 40% through is the simplistic, one-dimensional, downright AWFUL characterizations.

Oh no, a sensitive artsy intellectual child is born to a brutal domineering Hitler of a father! Said father runs the biggest corpo/gov't in the galaxy and GASP might not be totally honest about what his company's been up to! Did they have a project that they promised would bring good things to everyone but is actually comically bad and evil??!?!? oh noooes!

Oh wait; there's a rebel group against the bad empire?!?! And one of their best operatives is now trapped with the artsy sensitive intellectual son of her worst personal enemy via some really contrived "the MacGuffin broke" pseudo sci-fi nonsense on a planet that wants to kill them both?

and... and... they might LIKE EACH OTHER?!?!?!? BWUUUUUUUUHHHH??????

Christ. Every goddamned chapter ends with the two mains realizing that they have a lot in common, actually, and might like each other, only for the rebel to be like "no! this is the second worst person alive behind his father! all of my direct personal experience with him aside, he must be a foul, evil baby-torturer and he's just hiding it! I must and will kill him".

It's so dumb. It's like every chapter ends with a series of those "We should kiss. Ha ha no I'm kidding. Unless...?" joke tweets.

There were some mildly interesting if derivative and unoriginal concepts around transferring consciousness and enhancing individual abilities, and the political/economic setup of things is what kept me going as long as I did, but these characters are fucking moron teenagers at best and it just got too tiresome. I'm out.