This book is a sequel to Black on Black, one of the few books I’ve rated with five stars. I think I liked this sequel even more than its predecessor. This book, Stars over Stars, built logically from the events and character growth of the previous book. However, it told an entirely new story on a new planet. There were a few familiar characters, and a lot of new ones. We also meet and learn about a new alien species. Each book stands well on its own, but I wouldn’t recommend reading this book first if you have any intention of reading both of them. It would spoil too much about what happened in the previous book.
As with the previous book, we’re usually reading from the perspective of various alien characters. The new alien species was very different from the now-familiar hrinn, and they were interesting to read about. I really like the way this author writes alien characters. They aren’t just human-like aliens with a few special abilities or physical characteristics to make them “alien”. They have their own unique cultures and belief systems and mannerisms and thought processes, and they’re written consistently. But we don’t learn about the aliens through info dumps. We learn about them by being inside their heads and by seeing how they react to events going on in the story.
Mitsu is also back in this book. Those who were disappointed by her lower level of involvement in the first book may be happy to see her play a larger and more important role in this book, although she still takes plenty of abuse! As do many of the other characters.
One thing that I suddenly realized as I was finishing up this book was that there really wasn’t any sort of a romance subplot anywhere in the series. There were a couple things that could possibly be interpreted as a potential for romance, but it was very subtle if it was even there at all. I actually find that refreshing. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the occasional romance thread if it’s done well and if it doesn’t detract from the real story. But it seems like authors think nearly every book has to have romance in it. I’ve read too many books where a good story was brought down because there was a romance subplot forced into it and it wasn’t written well. In that case, I’d rather it be left out altogether. A book can be great without romance, and this book absolutely proves that in my eyes. I’m sorry that there weren’t any more books in this series – I definitely would have read them.