The Tangled Stars by Edward Willett Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Over a century after the collapse of the network that allowed space-time travel to occur, a thief and conman seeking to escape his debts discovers a possible tunnel that has reawakened and gives him the chance to travel to a new part of the universe in author Edward Willett’s “The Tangled Stars”.

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The Synopsis

This new novel from an Aurora Award-winning author presents a sci-fi caper of high-stakes interstellar travel.

More than a century ago, the network of MASTTs, the space-time tunnels that made interstellar travel possible, violently collapsed, the backlash destroying a lot of the solar system’s space-based infrastructure. Cooper “Coop” Douglas, a thief and conman is in serious debt to outer-system crime-lord Eric Galioto. While trying to salvage a valuable chunk of a space station destroyed by the backlash, Coop makes a startling discovery: MASTT Primus, the tunnel that used to lead to New Earth, is open again. That raises an intriguing possibility: Coop could flee the solar system and his debt to Galioto and make a new life—and possibly fortune—around another star.

Accompanied by his first mate, the wisecracking, AI-uplifted, genetically modified cat Thibauld, Coop sets out to “liberate” the solar system’s only remaining functioning starship from an Earthside museum, enlisting the help of Laysa Grey, a former-lover-turned-cop on Luna. Along the way, he is pursued by Galioto and dogged by law enforcement and thugs.

And beyond MASTT Primus, the tangled stars await . . . 

The Review

This was a fantastic, action-packed, and dynamic reading experience for longtime sci-fi fans. The author did an incredible job of capturing the rich atmosphere that honed in on the heist dynamics that the narrative promises while also hitting the witty charm that great sci-fi thieves who are thrust into the role of a “hero” are known for. The author’s attention to detail on the technical aspects of the laws and physics of this narrative’s space travel and sciences was engaging to get lost in and added to the mythos that the author established early on in this read.

The story found a perfect balance between thoughtful character development and world-building. The dynamics between the protagonist and his allies, including an AI-minded cat, added a human element to the overall narrative, while the multiple POVs between the protagonist and the antagonist gave a well-rounded, three-dimensional view of the characters and their motivations. Yet it was the rich mythology and universe-spanning story that the author brought to life that kept me invested in the book, as its use of imagery brought this story to life perfectly. 

The Verdict

Harrowing, thought-provoking, and highly entertaining, author Edward Willett’s “The Tangled Stars” is a fantastic epic sci-fi novel of 2022. The grand scale of the universe the author has created and the dynamic cast of characters will have readers fully invested in this world, and the cliffhanger ending will have readers clamoring to get their hands on the next saga of this makeshift crew of misfits and heroes. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Edward Willett is an award-winning author of science fiction, fantasy and non-fiction for both children and adults.

Born in Silver City, New Mexico, Willett lived in Bayard, New Mexico and Lubbock and Tulia, Texas, before moving to Weyburn, Saskatchewan with his family when he was eight years old.

He studied journalism at Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas, then returned to Weyburn as a reporter/photographer for the weekly Weyburn Review, eventually becoming news editor. In 1988 he moved to Regina, Saskatchewan, as communications officer for the Saskatchewan Science Centre, and in 1993 he became a fulltime freelance writer. He still resides in Regina.

Willett is now the author or co-author of more than 60 books, ranging from computer books and other nonfiction titles for both children and adults, to science fiction and fantasy for all ages.

His science fiction novel Marseguro (DAW Books) won the 2009 Aurora Award for best English-language science fiction or fantasy book by a Canadian author. He has also won a Saskatchewan Book Award for his YA fantasy Spirit Singer. He has been shortlisted for the Aurora Award and Saskatchewan Book Awards multiple times.

His most recent novels include Worldshaper and Master of the World, the first two books in his new series Worldshapers, and The Cityborn, a stand-alone science fiction novel from DAW Books; the Masks of Aygrima trilogy, YA/adult crossover novels published by DAW and written as E.C. Blake; the five-book YA fantasy series The Shards of Excalibur, published by Coteau Books; and the stand-alone YA fantasy Flames of Nevyana (Rebelight Publishing). He’s also the author of the Peregrine Rising duology for Bundoran Press (Right to Know and Falcon’s Egg).

Other novels include SF novel Lost in Translation (DAW Books), Terra Insegura (sequel to Marseguro, DAW Books), Magebane (DAW Books, written as Lee Arthur Chane), YA SF novels Andy Nebula: Interstellar Rock Star, Andy Nebula: Double Trouble, and The Chosen; and YA ghost story The Haunted Horn.

Shadowpaw Press recently released his short story collection Paths to the Stars and re-released Spirit Singer, a YA fantasy that won a Saskatchewan Book Award and other awards.

His non-fiction titles run the gamut from science books for children on topics as diverse as Ebola Virus and the Milky Way to local history books like Historic Walks of Regina and Moose Jaw for Red Deer Press, awarded a Municipal Heritage Award by the City of Regina in the education category and A Safe and Prosperous Future: 100 years of engineering and geoscience achievements in Saskatchewan, published by the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Saskatchewan (APEGS). He’s also written biographies for children of Janis Joplin, Jimmy Hendrix, Johnny Cash, Andy Warhol, Orson Scott Card, J.R.R. Tolkien and the Ayatollah Khomeini.

You can find Ed online at www.edwardwillett.com, on Facebook, and on Twitter @ewillett.

His is represented by literary agent Ethan Ellenberg (www.ethanellenberg.com).

Besides being a writer, Willett is a professional actor and singer who has performed in dozens of plays, musicals and operas in and around Saskatchewan, hosted local television programs, and emceed numerous public events.

He’s married to a telecommunications engineer and has one daughter.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0B6YYJLXP/ref=x_gr_w_glide_sin?caller=Goodreads&callerLink=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.goodreads.com%2Fbook%2Fshow%2F61763234-the-tangled-stars%3Fac%3D1%26from_search%3Dtrue%26qid%3DIihziUPi8o%26rank%3D1&tag=x_gr_w_glide_sin-20

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