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Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite
Humanity's Stars: Angels and Demons of the Past by Jamie Olson is a science fiction novel set in the distant future where humans have long been relegated to space colonies. A Navy captain named Viktor Hall serves as the main protagonist and point of view character. Colonists have been living in relative peace since the end of a century-long war, and for the past forty or so years humans have begun to cultivate Earth again, to an extremely limited degree. The body as we know it to be and the consciousness that inhabits it is interchangeable, but what is not is the fallacy of a peace that is not truly won and the faith we put in those who are in charge. Alliances shift. Pirates go rogue. AI is adverse. Diplomacy fails. Attacks occur. Colonists die. And the fight for the right for humans to live is about to start again. “This is the tool through which we ensure that the conditions which nearly destroyed humanity will never come again. It is insurance that humanity will always have a threat to be motivated by, an enemy to fight, and heroes to look up to...”
There's a lot to unpack after finishing Jamie Olson's Humanity's Stars: Angels and Demons of the Past. It's a complex novel with a lot of science fiction jargon and politicking in a space where I am more accustomed to action over conversations. However, Olson still does well in holding the line through the first half of the book, at which point the real adventure kicks off. World-building is tricky and Olson gets this right, and the character development is solid. A favorite of mine is an Eastern European named Niemira who is really the first Earth-born human Viktor has ever met. She is an absolute firecracker with the tongue of a whip, delivering the book's best line when describing Earth: "In my eyes, that planet is, above all, the birthplace of humanity's worst ideas.” Viktor is an intelligent and pragmatic man who is profoundly honest, with the short temper and solid ethos we require in an alpha main character. The writing takes some getting used to but is well executed, and I have no doubt lovers of classic science fiction with more modern angles will find as much joy in Humanity's Stars as I have. Very highly recommended.