From Darkest Skies was a strong mystery story set in a well fleshed-out, instantly immersive, sci-fi world. It felt like season one of a good, mid-budget television show – character-driven, compelling, but with enough glimpses of a bigger picture to see how far it could go.
From Distant Stars picks up where the first novel leaves off and expands on each facet, building a fast-paced, intricate mystery full of action and suspense and with just enough threads to allow you to hope you have stitched together half an idea of what is going on barely one step ahead of the characters, and fifty percent of the time you find that just like them you were chasing ghosts.
Although what makes this novel unique is the vast world-building – from the depth of the catastrophic intervention of the “Masters”, an alien race that reshaped the earth and enforced human colonisation upon the stars, to the messy intrigue of the current political climate – what makes it relatable and ultimately readable is the intensity of emotion in the characters. You may not always agree with them, or even like them, but you always feel for them.
In a world where even the weather is against them it is love, and its damaged, warped remains that can be found in revenge and grief and on the very edge of sanity, that keep Peters’ characters moving. Love which endures beyond death, beyond reason, beyond even the drive for self preservation. It makes a story which is so much bigger than any one person feel deeply personal.
Peters has created a world in which the big stories are begging to be told, but has chosen to focus on how the big stories impact on the people on the ground. I look forward to seeing much more from this author, whenever or wherever the story takes them next.