Matiasz hits all the right notes for her subgenre: daring escapes and space battles, weird aliens and wacky robots, a cynical-on-the-outside protagonist with an impossible dream.The setting is at once familiar and fresh, with unique takes on some standard ideas. In this universe, the terraforming of Mars was a complete disaster, and a lonely remnant of an alien hive mind is a charming crew member rather than a frightening foe. And while space has long been the dominion of white men, Stacey Jones makes room for herself as a Black woman with strong ties to her Earth heritage.
The specifics are fascinating, though at times Dusted By Stars wanders into long asides with little bearing on the plot. Still, the action is well paced and exciting, and this novella feels, in the end, the right length for the story it’s telling. Detailed and dynamic illustrations make it an easy world to sink into. Perfect for fans of space opera looking for all their favorite things in one place.
Takeaway: This quick space trucking adventure delivers everything it promises.
Great for fans of: Becky Chambers’s The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet, G. Willow Wilson and Christian Ward’s Invisible Kingdom.
Design and typography: B
Marketing copy: B