The Blue, Beautiful World by Karen Lord

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Del Rey

Date of publication: August 29th, 2023

Genre: Science Fiction, Fiction, Adult, Speculative Fiction, Science Fiction Fantasy, Fantasy, Adult Fiction

Series: Cygnus Beta Series

The Best of All Possible Worlds—Book 1

The Galaxy Game—Book 2

The Blue, Beautiful World—Book 3

Purchase Links: Kindle | Audible | AbeBooks | WorldCat

Goodreads Synopsis:

As first contact transforms the Earth, a group of gifted visionaries race to create a new future in this wondrous science fiction novel from the award-winning author of The Best of All Possible Worlds.

The world is changing, and humanity must change with it. Rising seas and soaring temperatures have radically transformed the face of the Earth. Meanwhile, Earth is being observed from afar by other civilizations … and now they are ready to make contact.

Vying to prepare humanity for first contact are a group of dreamers and changemakers, including Peter Hendrix, the genius inventor behind the most advanced VR tech; Charyssa, a beloved celebrity icon with a passion for humanitarian work; and Kanoa, a member of a council of young people from around the globe drafted to reimagine the relationship between humankind and alien societies.

And they may have an unexpected secret weapon: Owen, a pop megastar whose ability to connect with his adoring fans is more than charisma. He has a hidden talent that may be the key to uniting Earth as it looks towards the stars.

But Owen’s abilities are so unique that no-one can control him, and so seductive that he cannot help but use them. Can he transcend his human limitations and find the freedom he has always dreamed of? Or is he doomed to become the dictator of his nightmares?

First Line:

The emissary kept on digging his own grave, centimeter by centimeter, word by word.

The Blue, Beautiful World by Karen Lord

First contact has always been something that the people of Earth regarded as a myth. But, to a small, select group, the truth is known. Aliens have been on Earth for a while, gathering intel on the people. With the climate crisis reaching its pinnacle, the aliens have decided to make themselves known. Their emissary is a pop megastar, Owen, who is an alien. Owen has abilities that can unite Earth after first contact. But, there is a dark side to Owen, and it calls to him. Can Owen keep his dark side suppressed to help the people of Earth? Or will that dark side take over and have him become Earth’s dictator?

When I read the blurb for The Blue, Beautiful World, I was intrigued. I like reading science fiction, and seeing that the author would integrate VR technology into the plotline, I wanted to read it. While the book was great in some areas, it was lacking in others, which killed the book for me.

The Blue, Beautiful World is the third book in the Cygnus Beta Series. Readers cannot read this book as a standalone. You must read the first two books to know what is happening in this one. This was a significant issue for me because I read book three first.

I will be blunt: I was not too fond of this book. I found it very hard to follow at the beginning. But, towards the middle of the book, it got better to follow. Not by much, but I wasn’t as lost as in the book’s first half.

I did like the science fiction angle and loved that the author had VR as a significant part of the plotline. It made for exciting reading, even if it did get dry and repetitive at points. I wish the different civilizations (aliens) were introduced at the book’s beginning. There was a brief rundown (around when the Lyraen spies were caught). But nothing was mentioned about any of the races (and there are a bunch of them).

The characters were meh to me. The only one I connected to and liked was Kanoa. All the others (Owen, Noriko, Berenice) either I didn’t like or weren’t as fleshed out as they should be. I also needed clarification on the different names that the same characters went by. It drove me up the wall to discover that what I thought was a singular main character was exactly two (for example, Tareq is two separate people: Kirat and Siha).

The end of The Blue, Beautiful World was different. I had to reread it twice to understand what was going on. And even then, there is going to be a book 2? I needed clarification on that.

I recommend The Blue, Beautiful World to anyone over 21. There is violence and mild language, but no sexual situations.

Many thanks to Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Del Rey, NetGalley, and Karen Lord for allowing me to read and review The Blue, Beautiful World.

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