Locus: This is an exquisitely gripping novel with a bloody, unflinching heart. And yet, for all the intricate brutalities of its worldbuilding, it holds out the hope of revolutionary change.
The queerness of Star Eater rests as much in its unsqueamish examination of power relations and the meaty, bloody metaphor of its magical mechanics as in its normalising treatment of queer relationships and the sexualities of its major characters: it’s a novel with teeth, and it sets those teeth into a thematic argument about – an indictment of – the hereditary transmission and constant maintenance of power that comes from acts of, essentially, theft and consumption.
It’s striking how full and complex Hall’s world is here, how invested with communities and meanings. Neither support for the Sisterhood nor opposition to it is an uncomplicated thing. Hall writes with striking, assured pose, bringing her world and characters vividly to life. Both in style and (thematic) substance, her work here reminds me of Max Gladstone’s Craft novels, of Aliette de Bodard’s novel-length fantasy work, of A.K. Larkwood’s blisteringly good debut The Unspoken Name. (Hardly surprising, then, to find both Gladstone and Larkwood have contributed advance praise.) Star Eater is a fantastic book. I recommend it highly.