cover image Sisters of the Forsaken Stars

Sisters of the Forsaken Stars

Lina Rather. Tordotcom, $15.99 trade paper (208p) ISBN 978-1-250-78214-4

Rather tenderly explores the nuances of moral obligation and faith against a backdrop of government conspiracy in her second Our Lady of Endless Worlds space opera (after Sisters of the Vast Black). The Catholic nuns of the Order of Saint Rita are on the run from Central Governance after witnessing its attempt to wipe out the inhabitants of a newly colonized moon in the Phoyongsa system using the highly contagious ringeye plague. One of the most captivating worldbuilding elements here is the Order’s living spaceship, and Rather skillfully folds in biological details of this massive life-form while developing the emotional bond between the sisters and their ship as they struggle to survive their exile. During a supply stop, the sisters learn that rumors about the ringeye outbreak on Phoyongsa III have become a rallying cry for a group of religious radicals, who’ve weaponized the disaster to foment revolution. Despite the overt religious aspects, Rather focuses on faith instead of dogma and the sisters’ personality quirks and lightly explored backstories build empathy as they head for the University of St. Ofra to find out who’s behind the cult. The quirky premise will draw readers in while the depth of the characters and mounting stakes will keep them hooked. This is a worthy sequel. (Feb.)