Book Reviews

Review: Space Opera by Catherynne M Valente

Space Opera is really fun, okay? Like I finished this in a day, and I planned two, because this was just so entertaining, and witty, and fun. I want more fun books in my life. It’s great to read one that is just glitter, and disco balls. (There’s also maybe the world being demolished, but it’s also fun!)

Summary

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy meets Eurovision in an over-the-top galactic science fiction spectacle from bestselling author Catherynne Valente where sentient races compete for glory in a universe-wide musical contest—where the stakes are as high as the fate of planet Earth.

A century ago, the Sentience Wars tore the galaxy apart and nearly ended the entire concept of intelligent space-faring life. In the aftermath, a curious tradition was invented—something to cheer up everyone who was left and bring the shattered worlds together in the spirit of peace, unity, and understanding.

Once every cycle, the civilizations gather for the Metagalactic Grand Prix—part gladiatorial contest, part beauty pageant, part concert extravaganza, and part continuation of the wars of the past. Instead of competing in orbital combat, the powerful species that survived face off in a competition of song, dance, or whatever can be physically performed in an intergalactic talent show. The stakes are high for this new game, and everyone is forced to compete.

This year, though, humankind has discovered the enormous universe. And while they expected to discover a grand drama of diplomacy, gunships, wormholes, and stoic councils of aliens, they have instead found glitter, lipstick, and electric guitars. Mankind will not get to fight for its destiny—they must sing.

A band of human musicians, dancers, and roadies have been chosen to represent Earth on the greatest stage in the galaxy. And the fate of their species lies in their ability to rock.

Review

book review Space of Opera by Catherynne M Valente(Disclaimer: I received this free book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

Um excuse me, read that summary and tell me you don’t think this whole book sounds like a lot of fun? This cover is amazing and I love it. I actually am never going to give away my galley. UNLESS I see the hard cover in stores and then I’m going to swoon, and then buy this.

Space Opera grabs you from the first page. It is humorous, scientific, and sassy. It sounds like an unlikely combo, and even now you might be thinking – really? But yes. Really. At the same time, there’s a thorough examination of war and humanity within these glitter flecked pages. (I want real glitter in this book okay?!)

We are asked what war brings out of people and what is at the core – if anything – of humanity. There are these soul stopping questions among the singing and costumes that bring you up short. It’s like you remember that you’re reading this science fiction book that has some serious things to say about humanity. What is the value of art in our society? We look at the ways in which society has burned it, torn it down, and ripped it up. The ways we have shown that it doesn’t matter when it houses our souls and longing. So can we transcend this and celebrate it enough to keep us alive?

Overall,

Valente brings a whole new layer of meaning to the worlds colorful and detailed. There are sentences that stretch for miles, carrying you along like an unhinged freight train of dizzying possibilities. I loved this ruthless performative nature of the spectacle that is the competition. And don’t even get me started on how great it was to see non-humanoid aliens! Okay, get me started a little bit. It was so great to see aliens that weren’t entirely humanoid! This is one of my biggest SF peeves.

Space Opera will have you laughing and thinking at the same time – and what more can you ask for? It makes you feel and makes you feel good! Check it out on Goodreads and go stalk this gorgeous cover.

Discussion

Have you ever thought about making a cover 3D?


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