ARC Reviews

ARC REVIEW: Under Fortunate Stars by Ren Hutchings

Under Fortunate Stars Rating**Thank you to Rebellion Publishing for the proof copy in exchange for an honest review**

WHAT IS IT ABOUT?

Fleeing the final days of the generations-long war with the alien Felen, smuggler Jereth Keeven’s freighter the Jonah breaks down in a strange rift in deep space, with little chance of rescue—until they encounter the research vessel Gallion, which claims to be from 152 years in the future.

The Gallion’s chief engineer Uma Ozakka has always been fascinated with the past, especially the tale of the Fortunate Five, who ended the war with the Felen. When the Gallion rescues a run-down junk freighter, Ozakka is shocked to recognize the Five’s legendary ship—and the Five’s famed leader, Eldric Leesongronski, among the crew.

But nothing else about Leesongronski and his crewmates seems to match up with the historical record. With their ships running out of power in the rift, more than the lives of both crews may be at stake.


WHAT ARE MY THOUGHTS?

My favourite read of the year so far Under Fortunate Stars is a wonderfully satisfying time travel tale embedded within an engaging space opera.

The story follows the crews of two space vessels from time periods 152 years apart that get pulled into a time rift in space – the Jonah, a civilian cargo ship and the Gallion, a hireable research facility vessel. Things become more complicated when those from the Gallion claim that in their timeline the Jonah is the historically famous ship of the Fortunate Five who brought peace to the universe by ending the generations-long war with the alien Felen, a truth that the Jonah crew are doubtful to believe and the Gallion crew are equally sceptical of because not everything from the records is adding up.

Despite being at odds with one another, resources are running low and so the two groups must band together to figure out how to get out of the Rift and return to their respective timelines as well as ensure that history correctly runs its course.

“…when you know you’re doing the right thing, you have an obligation to stand your ground, even if everyone says it’s impossible.”

I came running for the accidental time travel – I mean it’s one of my absolute favourite tropes – and found myself absolutely enthralled by this hopeful and wholesome story all about how our flaws don’t define us and how recorded history isn’t always the full story.

Highly entertaining from start to end, the plot unfolds through 4 points of view with the chapters alternating between past flashbacks and the present predicament. The worldbuilding it great, we’re simultaneously introduced to the contrasting environments of the two timelines which act as a backdrop for the primary storyline in the Rift. Though past chapters also allow us to get a glimpse of the various corners of the expansive universe Hutchings has created as well as allow us to trail the characters on their individual journeys.

“…the workings of destiny are not ours to unravel.”

Hutchings’ writing is easy to follow and the pacing parallels the tension, picking up as you read on and I really enjoyed the narrative style as a whole. There is an air of mystery too and the reveals and twists are so cleverly inserted throughout that despite the slightly predictable tendencies stories involving time anomalies are wont to have, this book still keeps you on the edge of your seat. Plus the science side of things never gets too overly complex or confusing.

The cast of characters is made up of a bunch of vibrant personalities and there were such beautifully nuanced relationships, both already established and new, that formed between them all. I found myself getting so attached to not only each of the leading characters but most of the minor ones too. Honestly for a debut and a book that is just under 500 pages it is phenomenal just how fleshed out and well lived in this story and this universe felt!

Under Fortunate Stars has left its mark on my heart just as the Fortunate Five did on history and I can’t wait to read more from Ren Hutchings in the future!

Under Fortunate Stars is OUT NOW! (US Hardcover out JUNE 7TH)


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