Book Review: The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal

The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal is an alluring and infuriating must-read. From the sociopolitical themes to the catastrophic extinction-level event that requires immediate action—all currently, highly relevant and related—the plot focuses on the main character’s quest to become an astronaut after a meteorite strikes off the coast of D.C. causing a rise in temperatures that will ultimately lead to an unoccupiable Earth.

Sound familiar?

The first couple of chapters are riveting. Character-driven, the book converges on the main character’s climb thru the space program and accurately and infuriatingly chronicles the sexist, racist, religious, and mental health issues that women continually face in a patriarchal system.

You will feel emotions. If you don’t, I question your empathy. At several points, I wanted to throw my kindle across the room.

Some of the more technical details are a bit dry that I tend to speed-read thru in science fiction—my issue, not the authors. Personally, I would’ve preferred a broader sociopolitical brush to the context of the society the characters lived post-meteorite, but understand you only have so many pages to devote. The good news is there are sequels and I plan to read them.

“It’s hard to convince people that catastrophic weather changes are coming on a nice day.”

― Mary Robinette Kowal, The Calculating Stars

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