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Under Fortunate Stars

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Fleeing the final days of the generations-long war with the alien Felen, smuggler Jereth Keeven's freighter the Jonah breaks down in a strange rift in deep space, with little chance of rescue—until they encounter the research vessel Gallion, which claims to be from 152 years in the future. The Gallion's chief engineer Uma Ozakka has always been fascinated with the past, esp Fleeing the final days of the generations-long war with the alien Felen, smuggler Jereth Keeven's freighter the Jonah breaks down in a strange rift in deep space, with little chance of rescue—until they encounter the research vessel Gallion, which claims to be from 152 years in the future. The Gallion's chief engineer Uma Ozakka has always been fascinated with the past, especially the tale of the Fortunate Five, who ended the war with the Felen. When the Gallion rescues a run-down junk freighter, Ozakka is shocked to recognize the Five's legendary ship—and the Five's famed leader, Eldric Leesongronski, among the crew. But nothing else about Leesongronski and his crewmates seems to match up with the historical record. With their ships running out of power in the rift, more than the lives of both crews may be at stake.


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Fleeing the final days of the generations-long war with the alien Felen, smuggler Jereth Keeven's freighter the Jonah breaks down in a strange rift in deep space, with little chance of rescue—until they encounter the research vessel Gallion, which claims to be from 152 years in the future. The Gallion's chief engineer Uma Ozakka has always been fascinated with the past, esp Fleeing the final days of the generations-long war with the alien Felen, smuggler Jereth Keeven's freighter the Jonah breaks down in a strange rift in deep space, with little chance of rescue—until they encounter the research vessel Gallion, which claims to be from 152 years in the future. The Gallion's chief engineer Uma Ozakka has always been fascinated with the past, especially the tale of the Fortunate Five, who ended the war with the Felen. When the Gallion rescues a run-down junk freighter, Ozakka is shocked to recognize the Five's legendary ship—and the Five's famed leader, Eldric Leesongronski, among the crew. But nothing else about Leesongronski and his crewmates seems to match up with the historical record. With their ships running out of power in the rift, more than the lives of both crews may be at stake.

30 review for Under Fortunate Stars

  1. 4 out of 5

    K.J. Charles

    Absolutely delightful SF. A crappy and chaotic set of space bums and escaping criminals on a junk ship in the middle of a terrible war find themselves a) in a weird rift out of time and space b) with another ship from 150 years in the future where c) they are the incredible heroes who ended the war. The story unfolds in both past and present with flashbacks (not in chronological order) filling in the backstories of the main characters from both timelines. Wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey stuff can very Absolutely delightful SF. A crappy and chaotic set of space bums and escaping criminals on a junk ship in the middle of a terrible war find themselves a) in a weird rift out of time and space b) with another ship from 150 years in the future where c) they are the incredible heroes who ended the war. The story unfolds in both past and present with flashbacks (not in chronological order) filling in the backstories of the main characters from both timelines. Wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey stuff can very easily be too clever for its own good, and exceedingly hard to follow. Not here. The world building is magnificently done, so that within the first three chapters you're completely clued in, and then you get the immense pleasure of watching the story spool out and a lot of very clever pieces snick perfectly into place and apparent plot flaws suddenly make perfect sense. A well-oiled machine of a plot is a rare pleasure, and this is one. It's also a wonderfully human story. Characters are badly flawed, and have made terrible mistakes. People are mostly doing their best. Apparent villains are more complicated than that. This is very much a book about allowing people nuance and failings and redemption, and as such it's immensely loving. Plus diversity (racial and sexuality) is a given. I enjoyed this enormously, and recommend it hugely if you need an absorbing, immersive read to give you hope about people. Which, let's face it, you do.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Allison

    Space opera fans, rejoice: this book is SO GOOD. Under Fortunate Stars is a fast-moving, compelling time-travel saga about what it actually means to live on in history, and what happens when the stories we've always told about ourselves come back in ways we don't expect. It follows a research ship as it slips out of time and into contact with members of the Fortunate Five: a band of legendary heroes who ended a war that threatened the universe—but who don't appear quite the way they did in the le Space opera fans, rejoice: this book is SO GOOD. Under Fortunate Stars is a fast-moving, compelling time-travel saga about what it actually means to live on in history, and what happens when the stories we've always told about ourselves come back in ways we don't expect. It follows a research ship as it slips out of time and into contact with members of the Fortunate Five: a band of legendary heroes who ended a war that threatened the universe—but who don't appear quite the way they did in the legends. For one thing, they haven't stopped the war yet. For another, they're not all sure they want to. The characters in this book are stellar: I will go to my grave as the biggest Leesongronski cheerleader known to man, and Jereth is exactly the kind of smart-mouthed space rogue I love to yell at while I read. The dynamic between these two is literally Tulio and Miguel from The Road to El Dorado, except in space, and I cannot imagine a vibe I would enjoy more. I would follow them anywhere, and I'm so glad I get to follow them on this adventure, which is simultaneously exciting, heartrending, and an absolute mind-bend. This is a fantastic debut by a new writer, and there are scenes in this book that I can't stop thinking about. (Ask me about that one scene with Jereth and the Felen. You'll know which one when you get there.) I can't wait to see what comes next from Ren!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Lindsay

    Slightly reminiscent of the ST:tNG episode Yesterday's Enterprise this is the story of a rag-tag crew of the space freighter Jonah getting lost in a rift in space-time and encountering a ship from 152 years in the future. A future where the ship and crew of the Jonah are legendary heroes that saved the future for two races, a series of events that have happened for them yet. This is a great concept for a science fiction story as the only medium where it can be told properly. It's executed pretty Slightly reminiscent of the ST:tNG episode Yesterday's Enterprise this is the story of a rag-tag crew of the space freighter Jonah getting lost in a rift in space-time and encountering a ship from 152 years in the future. A future where the ship and crew of the Jonah are legendary heroes that saved the future for two races, a series of events that have happened for them yet. This is a great concept for a science fiction story as the only medium where it can be told properly. It's executed pretty well here too, with my only quibble being that it's a bit wordy and some of the flashbacks to events in both crews parts could have been edited out or condensed.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Rachel (TheShadesofOrange)

    3.5 Stars This was a fun, rompy space opera. The tone of the story never felt too heavy so I did not feel the full weight of the situation. Instead, this was an entertaining story involving a rag tag group pulled into a destiny they didn't like. For me, the execution did not quite meet the potential of the premise, but yet it was still an enjoyable read. It was good, but I found the answers a little unsatisfying. I would recommend this standalone space opera for anyone who likes a light hearted na 3.5 Stars This was a fun, rompy space opera. The tone of the story never felt too heavy so I did not feel the full weight of the situation. Instead, this was an entertaining story involving a rag tag group pulled into a destiny they didn't like. For me, the execution did not quite meet the potential of the premise, but yet it was still an enjoyable read. It was good, but I found the answers a little unsatisfying. I would recommend this standalone space opera for anyone who likes a light hearted narrative filled with fun banter between a group of eclectic characters.  Disclaimer I received a copy of this book from the publisher. 

  5. 4 out of 5

    Cathy

    Holy timeline! There are two of them, right from the start. Or is that one timeline plus flashbacks? Three timelines? And four POVs. But it all makes perfect sense, trust me. There are smugglers and mathematical and physical geniuses, undercover activists, a war in space, aliens, genetic modification, love, heists and more. That‘s all I am going to give away, read the blurb if you want more! Anything else would diminish the fun of finding it out by yourself! “We could even be completely outside t Holy timeline! There are two of them, right from the start. Or is that one timeline plus flashbacks? Three timelines? And four POVs. But it all makes perfect sense, trust me. There are smugglers and mathematical and physical geniuses, undercover activists, a war in space, aliens, genetic modification, love, heists and more. That‘s all I am going to give away, read the blurb if you want more! Anything else would diminish the fun of finding it out by yourself! “We could even be completely outside the flow of time.“ You don‘t say! Smart idea to tell the story by jumping back in time by increments and slowly revealing pertinent information to the reader for consecutive chapters. With the odd surprising twist strewn in. Jereth‘s shaking hands showed up a bit too often for my taste. Other than that I was quite happy with the writing, although I would have preferred more action and faster pacing, especially towards the end. Some bits could have done with less telling and more showing. There was quite a lot of navel gazing, which I tend to dislike, but here it fit nicely into the plot and was an integral part of the story telling. The characters were believable, distinct and varied. Great concept, a love of history and screwy timeline shenanigans. No idea if the science was solid, it worked for me. Satisfying ending with a nice plot bunny. As a debut novel this is excellent. There are two Q&As about the book on the authors‘s blog here: https://www.renhutchings.com/blog I would read more by the author and recommend or gift this to others. I received an advanced copy of this book from Rebellion Publishing through NetGalley. All opinions are my own and I was not required to give a positive review.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Erin Fulmer

    Where to start? This book is like a beautiful, complex puzzle box. Discovering each piece and how it fits is a delight. When the last twist falls into place and the puzzle reveals itself as a smooth, intricate whole, it’s very satisfying, but at the same time you feel a tinge of regret because it’s finished and it was such a pleasure to put together. A ship is stranded outside normal spacetime, and soon its crew realizes they are not alone: another ship is out there too. When they find out where— Where to start? This book is like a beautiful, complex puzzle box. Discovering each piece and how it fits is a delight. When the last twist falls into place and the puzzle reveals itself as a smooth, intricate whole, it’s very satisfying, but at the same time you feel a tinge of regret because it’s finished and it was such a pleasure to put together. A ship is stranded outside normal spacetime, and soon its crew realizes they are not alone: another ship is out there too. When they find out where—and when—the other vessel came from, they are plunged into a confrontation with the legends and traumas of their past. As they race to free their ship, they must also safeguard history itself, and if they fail, a vicious inter species war will destroy everything they love before it even begins. This is a multi-POV masterpiece, and it’s hard for me to pick my favorite character: Uma, the history fangirl and extremely competent engineer who gets to meet her heroes, and finds out they are nothing like what she expected? Shaan, the quiet nobody haunted by a past that won’t stay in the past? Jereth, the inveterate gambler and charismatic survivor who did not sign up to save the galaxy? Leeg, the chainsmoking, gloomy mathematician who is a navigational genius but can’t navigate his intimate relationships? I love them all. I adored this book from beginning to end. It has so many things that I look for in sci fi/space opera: nerds saving the universe, weird time hijinks, lots of positive queer rep, bi protagonists, fascinating aliens. There’s a theme that isn’t exactly “don’t meet your heroes” but more like “your heroes are human.” It delves into the way the reality of the past is wilder and more interesting than written history. If you enjoy space opera with heart, Star Trek, time travel stories, and living history, this book is a love letter to all of them. Like Star Trek, it’s ultimately a positive vision of the future. Its core is fueled by the hope that humans will rise to the challenges that face us and work together against all odds to make a better, more peaceful universe, even when faced with things we can’t fully understand. I had the privilege of reading this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Goran Lowie

    UNDER FORTUNATE STARS is a book that is at once about the past catching up to you, but also about forming your own future—figuratively and literally. It weaves many backstories together to develop excellent, rich characters with complex pasts, full of traumas, past relationships, and regrets. In this way, it’s a very personal novel. While we don’t get to know all characters on this personal level, it really does work with the ones we do. It’s also a very “big” book, about people literally saving UNDER FORTUNATE STARS is a book that is at once about the past catching up to you, but also about forming your own future—figuratively and literally. It weaves many backstories together to develop excellent, rich characters with complex pasts, full of traumas, past relationships, and regrets. In this way, it’s a very personal novel. While we don’t get to know all characters on this personal level, it really does work with the ones we do. It’s also a very “big” book, about people literally saving human civilization. Full of doubts, human heroes, time travel, and hope. Very well plotted (there’s a lot of coincidences, but they felt logical in the context of the story… Might break the story for some other people, however) with a bit of a puzzle throughout the entire thing. Great debut! Disclaimer: I received an ARC for this book in exchange of an honest review.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Siobhan

    Not only is this my first five star read of the year, it's also my favourite sci-fi since The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet! Under Fortunate Stars is part space opera, part time traveling adventure. I was a bit confused after the first chapters, then it all clicked into place. 😅 I often find time travel difficult and annoying but this was so well written and made sense to me! 😄 I don't want to say too much about the plot, but basically a large research ship and a junk freighter from different Not only is this my first five star read of the year, it's also my favourite sci-fi since The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet! Under Fortunate Stars is part space opera, part time traveling adventure. I was a bit confused after the first chapters, then it all clicked into place. 😅 I often find time travel difficult and annoying but this was so well written and made sense to me! 😄 I don't want to say too much about the plot, but basically a large research ship and a junk freighter from different times end up in the same rift of time out of contact with their networks and one rescues the other. As it transpires, the little freight ship was of major historical significance - but they don't know that yet! The story is told in past and present, and it's just super cool! I'm grateful to @netgalley for an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Under Fortunate Stars' expected publication date is 10th May 2022. Sci-fi fans, I suggest you pre-order a copy! I mean just look at that cover too 😍😍

  9. 4 out of 5

    Martine Watson

    Wow, I just admire the hell out of this book. It is so intricately plotted, and the characters are incredibly compelling. It was such a pleasure to see how each chapter dropped one more piece of the puzzle—sometimes you could see how they fit immediately, sometimes you had to wait. And that ending! A marvelous, funny, thoughtful exploration of the concept of destiny through a deftly-managed cast of characters and a thrilling adventure.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Meredith

    One of the most interesting science fiction books I've read in a long time!!!!! The characters really make this book stand out from most of the other science fiction books I've read in recent years. I still find myself thinking about them because they really got to me emotionally. The author easily balances four POVs and multiple timelines, which is a feat in itself, and each POV feels very real and nuanced. Shaan was my personal favorite because I loved the mystery behind her character, but I th One of the most interesting science fiction books I've read in a long time!!!!! The characters really make this book stand out from most of the other science fiction books I've read in recent years. I still find myself thinking about them because they really got to me emotionally. The author easily balances four POVs and multiple timelines, which is a feat in itself, and each POV feels very real and nuanced. Shaan was my personal favorite because I loved the mystery behind her character, but I think Jereth is going to be the fan favorite because he's so funny. Somehow there are parts of this book that made me tear up and other parts that made me laugh. The friendship between Jereth and Leeg, in particular, had so much depth. I really believed that these were two people who'd been through so much together. Each of these characters gives us a different viewpoint on the world the author has created. When you put them together the scale and level of detail in the world building really blew me away. I loved how strange an inhuman the Felen were, and how prejudice ultimately was as dangerous for the characters as the aliens. AND THE TWISTS AT THE END! Some of them I predicted and others I didn't. I just love how the different timelines resolve. The conclusion felt very satisfying and hopeful at the same time, with great commentary on history and how events are remembered/recorded over time. If you're looking for a very character driven space opera with expansive world building and a hopeful ending then you should definitely read this.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Bethany Jacobs

    Just finished this and I highly recommend it, it was smart and fun and fascinating. Bills itself as accidental time travel and that is so well put. I don't always like time travel plots because they make no sense but in this one everything fit perfectly. Also, do you like funny, smart, nuanced characters? This had a great central cast. This is the type of book that's put together like a puzzle, and watching it come together is just an intellectual treat. Check out this book! Just finished this and I highly recommend it, it was smart and fun and fascinating. Bills itself as accidental time travel and that is so well put. I don't always like time travel plots because they make no sense but in this one everything fit perfectly. Also, do you like funny, smart, nuanced characters? This had a great central cast. This is the type of book that's put together like a puzzle, and watching it come together is just an intellectual treat. Check out this book!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    There's a lot to like here. The editing, even in the pre-release version from Netgalley, was well above average. The main characters are distinct and well developed, both in backstory flashbacks and in the course of the main storyline, and they face varied challenges that test them, showing courage, determination and skill, and risking their lives for the greater good. All of that is exactly what I look for in a book, and would usually get it on my Best of the Year list. Unfortunately, for me, a There's a lot to like here. The editing, even in the pre-release version from Netgalley, was well above average. The main characters are distinct and well developed, both in backstory flashbacks and in the course of the main storyline, and they face varied challenges that test them, showing courage, determination and skill, and risking their lives for the greater good. All of that is exactly what I look for in a book, and would usually get it on my Best of the Year list. Unfortunately, for me, all of this good stuff was countered by a huge problem: the fortunate coincidences. The title really isn't kidding. Now, having one large fortunate coincidence that allows the plot to happen is a fault, but if everything else is good - and here, it is - I can forgive it. A large fortunate coincidence every few pages, on the other hand, goes from a fault to a fatal flaw. And lampshading it by having characters talk about how lucky and miraculous it is that they have exactly the equipment, skills, knowledge, and people they need to make a highly unlikely and contingent escape from what amounts to a large sealed room in subspace - that doesn't help at all. If the author hides a get-out-of-jail-free card up their sleeve and surreptitiously plays it at a key moment, that's cheating. But if the author openly writes out 40 or 50 new get-out-of-jail-free cards right there on the table in front of you and plays them every time the plot hits a problem... I don't even know what to call that. I'll give an example in spoiler tags from a subsidiary part of the plot. (view spoiler)[The characters, in two ships, have been pulled into a subspace rift from different times and places - already a big swallow as a premise, but it allows an interesting story. By fortunate coincidence, a space station has also been pulled into the rift. By fortunate coincidence, there are no crew on it to worry about; it's been abandoned because (by fortunate coincidence) it had a rare kind of detector that could sense the rift coming, even though the people on the station didn't know what it was. By fortunate coincidence, one of the people who was staffing the station at the time it was abandoned is part of the crew of one of the ships, having (by coincidence that isn't fortunate for her, but is for the plot) been discharged from the quasi-military station's crew and given a new background because she delayed obeying the evacuation order and then crashed, killing a colleague, and having by complete random selection chosen the job she now has. By fortunate coincidence, the other ship contains a pair of hackers who already know how to do an exploit that will turn her station login - which, by fortunate coincidence, has never been cancelled, since her disciplinary hearing took place after the station vanished - into exactly what they need in order to get some resources from the station which, by fortunate coincidence, will enable them to escape from the rift. (By fortunate coincidence, their crew includes a subspace physicist who was working on exactly the kind of thing that will enable them to figure out a way to escape and execute it using the station's batteries and some other resources they also, by fortunate coincidence, have.) I'm not even going to describe the several more fortunate coincidences (at least six) that confront the former station crew member with her past trauma and enable her to overcome it, and also to escape the station when things go pear-shaped, and also to ultimately get what she really wants. That's about 17 fortunate coincidences, by my count, in this subplot alone, and there are plenty more in the rest of the book. By the time a character opens his junk drawer and pulls out exactly the piece of rare alien technology without which their plan has no chance of success, having obtained it by a highly unlikely series of events involving, at minimum, three fortunate coincidences, I wasn't even surprised anymore, just disappointed. (hide spoiler)] It reads, to me, as if the plot wasn't outlined in advance but written by the seat of the pants. That's absolutely fine, and it can produce excellent stories - if the author unfolds the story organically from the initial seed of the situation, setting, and characters, rather than continually pulling things out of a location quite close to the seat of the pants in order to goose the plot back on track every time it becomes difficult. It seems like she's not even embarrassed about it, and she absolutely should be. Incidentally, the blurb (as at the date I read it) claims that it's a "modern, progressive homage to classic space opera stories". As far as I can tell, this claim is made because two minor characters are a gay couple and two viewpoint characters are bisexual, which doesn't make much difference to anything. It's set far enough into the future that human names have all changed and you can't tell ethnicity from them; I think someone might have been described as brown-skinned once, but race is basically not a thing, and you could read any given character as whatever race you like. I can think of plenty of books that have more diverse characters and don't make a specific "progressive" claim. Anyway: If continual massive luck in place of competent plotting is not a dealbreaker for you, this is otherwise a good book. But it was a dealbreaker for me, so much so that an otherwise four-star book drops all the way down to two stars.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Brittany (Britt's Book Blurbs)

    Thanks to NetGalley & Solaris for an eARC of this book. The following review is my honest reflection on the text provided. 4.5 stars Under Fortunate Stars is so good - I can't stop thinking about this book and I wish it was a series. Not that it would really work with this story, but I want more to read! It took a few chapters to get into this story, and at first, I didn't have high hopes. The characters felt stereotypical - expected caricatures of the space opera genre - and I had no idea what Thanks to NetGalley & Solaris for an eARC of this book. The following review is my honest reflection on the text provided. 4.5 stars Under Fortunate Stars is so good - I can't stop thinking about this book and I wish it was a series. Not that it would really work with this story, but I want more to read! It took a few chapters to get into this story, and at first, I didn't have high hopes. The characters felt stereotypical - expected caricatures of the space opera genre - and I had no idea what was going on. But at some point, I realised that my perspective had shifted, and I was entirely engrossed in the story. Though these characters appeared superficial initially, there is a lot of hidden depth and complexity to be revealed as we learn their stories. I love that even though this is a pretty intense story with high stakes and serious danger, the tone never feels too heavy. The back stories are captivating and add weight and importance to the central storyline. Under Fortunate Stars is an incredibly unique book, and I can't wait to see what Hutchings writes next. Review originally posted here on Britt's Book Blurbs. Amazon | Blog | Bookstagram | Reddit

  14. 4 out of 5

    Azrah

    [This review can also be found on my BLOG] **I was provided with an ARC through the publisher in exchange for an honest review** CW: violence, gun violence, blood, injury, war, murder, death, child death, vehicle accident, alcohol -- My favourite read of the year so far Under Fortunate Stars is a wonderfully satisfying time travel tale embedded within an engaging space opera. The story follows the crews of two space vessels from time periods 152 years apart that get pulled into a time rift in space [This review can also be found on my BLOG] **I was provided with an ARC through the publisher in exchange for an honest review** CW: violence, gun violence, blood, injury, war, murder, death, child death, vehicle accident, alcohol -- My favourite read of the year so far Under Fortunate Stars is a wonderfully satisfying time travel tale embedded within an engaging space opera. The story follows the crews of two space vessels from time periods 152 years apart that get pulled into a time rift in space – the Jonah, a civilian cargo ship and the Gallion, a hireable research facility vessel. Things become more complicated when those from the Gallion claim that in their timeline the Jonah is the historically famous ship of the Fortunate Five who brought peace to the universe by ending the generations-long war with the alien Felen, a truth that the Jonah crew are doubtful to believe and the Gallion crew are equally sceptical of because not everything from the records is adding up. Despite being at odds with one another, resources are running low and so the two groups must band together to figure out how to get out of the Rift and return to their respective timelines as well as ensure that history correctly runs its course. “…when you know you’re doing the right thing, you have an obligation to stand your ground, even if everyone says it’s impossible.” I came running for the accidental time travel – I mean it’s one of my absolute favourite tropes – and found myself absolutely enthralled by this hopeful and wholesome story all about how our flaws don’t define us and how recorded history isn’t always the full story. Highly entertaining from start to end, the plot unfolds through 4 points of view with the chapters alternating between past flashbacks and the present predicament. The worldbuilding it great, we’re simultaneously introduced to the contrasting environments of the two timelines which act as a backdrop for the primary storyline in the Rift. Though past chapters also allow us to get a glimpse of the various corners of the expansive universe Hutchings has created as well as allow us to trail the characters on their individual journeys. “…the workings of destiny are not ours to unravel.” Hutchings’ writing is easy to follow and the pacing parallels the tension, picking up as you read on and I really enjoyed the narrative style as a whole. There is an air of mystery too and the reveals and twists are so cleverly inserted throughout that despite the slightly predictable tendencies stories involving time anomalies are wont to have, this book still keeps you on the edge of your seat. Plus the science side of things never gets too overly complex or confusing. The cast of characters is made up of a bunch of vibrant personalities and there were such beautifully nuanced relationships, both already established and new, that formed between them all. I found myself getting so attached to not only each of the leading characters but most of the minor ones too. Honestly for a debut and a book that is just under 500 pages it is phenomenal just how fleshed out and well lived in this story and this universe felt! Under Fortunate Stars has left its mark on my heart just as the Fortunate Five did on history and I can’t wait to read more from Ren Hutchings in the future! Final Rating – 4.75/5 Stars

  15. 5 out of 5

    Suzanne

    I loved this book so much! There is a lot going on, including time travel, flashbacks, aliens, and yet I never felt lost. I loved getting to know each one of the characters - both the ones on the research vessel, and the "Fortunate Five" from the past, who don't seem to match up to the history books. The flashbacks slowly feed information about people and events, and I loved how things unfolded. I highly recommend it to people who enjoy character-driven science fiction. Thank you to Netgalley, Re I loved this book so much! There is a lot going on, including time travel, flashbacks, aliens, and yet I never felt lost. I loved getting to know each one of the characters - both the ones on the research vessel, and the "Fortunate Five" from the past, who don't seem to match up to the history books. The flashbacks slowly feed information about people and events, and I loved how things unfolded. I highly recommend it to people who enjoy character-driven science fiction. Thank you to Netgalley, Rebellion Publishing, and Ren Hutchings for the chance to read this book. I am sure it'll be one of my favorite science fiction books of the year.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Rea

    "Whatever happens, I am proud of you. All of you. We existed. We made a difference" Under Fortunate Stars tells the story of two crews from different points in time that somehow end up meeting through a weird spacetime anomaly, and who realize that history might not be exactly as the records say. As both crews work together to escape the anomaly, which they call the Rift, and to ensure that history does not go astray, we learn more about their individual members' pasts and secrets. This book has "Whatever happens, I am proud of you. All of you. We existed. We made a difference" Under Fortunate Stars tells the story of two crews from different points in time that somehow end up meeting through a weird spacetime anomaly, and who realize that history might not be exactly as the records say. As both crews work together to escape the anomaly, which they call the Rift, and to ensure that history does not go astray, we learn more about their individual members' pasts and secrets. This book has it all: gorgeous writing, lovely characters, terrifying mysteries, and just the tiniest dash of romance. I was completely hooked after just a few chapters, trying to figure out how the different characters fit into the future's apparently warped view of history, as well as what made them into the people they had become. The pieces of the story slowly fell into place, and despite having guessed some of the twists I had to take a moment to process the full picture in the end, because of how masterfully the story had been crafted. It was also incredibly easy to fall in love with most of the characters (please give Uma a break), even if they sometimes acted in non-ideal ways, and their interactions were super fun to read. The only problem I had were the few times more science-y terms were used, which felt a bit confusing, and that I kind of wished there was more of a found family element to the story (which is on me for not managing my expectations and researching the book more), but the overall reading experience was great. All in all, this was an absolutely stellar (pun absolutely intended) read. Aside from some darker moments, the story felt full of hope, and if you're a space opera or adventure fan I'm sure you will love it as much as I did. Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for the opportunity to read and review this book.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Clay Harmon

    An ARC was given to me in exchange for an honest review. Under Fortunate Stars is a survival story about two groups from different points in history coming together to escape a time anomaly before it kills them all. If you like time travel, stories set in deep space, flawed heroes, the history books getting it wrong, and a full cast of characters forging friendships and more, this one's for you. I was so relieved to find a story about time travel that I really enjoyed. It's a trope I don't typica An ARC was given to me in exchange for an honest review. Under Fortunate Stars is a survival story about two groups from different points in history coming together to escape a time anomaly before it kills them all. If you like time travel, stories set in deep space, flawed heroes, the history books getting it wrong, and a full cast of characters forging friendships and more, this one's for you. I was so relieved to find a story about time travel that I really enjoyed. It's a trope I don't typically read just because of how often it's used, but this story handles it in a way that feels fresh. In fact, I wouldn't necessarily call this a time travel story - that trope is what sets the stage of the novel, but really this book is about survival where friendships and relationships are formed between a mysterious group of legendary people (The Fortunate Five) and a group of scientists who are trying to figure out how the two groups were brought together in the first place. A good portion of the novel takes place in backstory chapters leading up to The Fortunate Five's disappearance inside The Rift (the rift in time), so we get to learn more about these flawed heroes and grow attached to them. What I especially like about this book is that it has a large cast of compelling people, so each reader can have their favorite character since so many of the characters are equally interesting (I really liked Leesongronski and Uma). Uma and Shaan, the primary POV characters, had great arcs, one of whom gets to meet their favorite hero from history and learns just how flawed that person really is, and the other who is haunted by a tragic secret she's never been able to get over. I loved the voice, the story was well paced, and I will definitely be reading future books by Ren.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Michael Mammay

    This is a great story -- I liked every single POV character. They all had very personal, close stories, but when you put them all together it was really wide ranging, too. Good world building, and just a really enjoyable story. This is going to be one of the top SF debuts of 2022. Highly recommended.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jenna Voris

    Space opera fans, we are BLESSED. I came for the time slip shenanigans and stayed for the space casino heists, the best friend smuggler duo, and the engineer trying her best. Put this on your 2022 tbr IMMEDIATELY!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Siobhan

    Under Fortunate Stars is a story that is sure to have many sci-fi fans hooked throughout. While there were elements of this I did enjoy, it mostly left me conflicted. That is not to say I disliked it, simply that it wasn’t quite everything I had imagined. The concept of Under Fortunate Stars grabbed me from the start, ensuring I was eager to see how everything developed. While it did keep me curious, there were points in this where I felt things moved a little too slowly – which was when I starte Under Fortunate Stars is a story that is sure to have many sci-fi fans hooked throughout. While there were elements of this I did enjoy, it mostly left me conflicted. That is not to say I disliked it, simply that it wasn’t quite everything I had imagined. The concept of Under Fortunate Stars grabbed me from the start, ensuring I was eager to see how everything developed. While it did keep me curious, there were points in this where I felt things moved a little too slowly – which was when I started to notice just how fortuitous things really were. I expected some luck, some chance, considering the title, but it became a little too much as the story developed. There were lots of points where everything was ‘just so’ and it took away some of the intensity of the story, making it feel almost easy. I know this will not annoy everyone, but it did bug me when it kept happening. There were points when I wanted to see the characters battle through the problems instead of it happening because of their good fortunate. All in all, this was an interesting read. While I enjoyed it, it was a little too easy, but it was still an addictive story.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Helen

    From the blurb you know that two ships from different times meet in a rift, with the ending of a universal war having occurred in the time between. We have the newer ship filled with scientific wonders and staff who have hero worshipped the war-enders. We also have the five miscreants from the older ship who have no intention of going near the enemy, let alone ending the war! The story is told in flash backs of the main four characters - this sounds like it could be confusing but it flows really From the blurb you know that two ships from different times meet in a rift, with the ending of a universal war having occurred in the time between. We have the newer ship filled with scientific wonders and staff who have hero worshipped the war-enders. We also have the five miscreants from the older ship who have no intention of going near the enemy, let alone ending the war! The story is told in flash backs of the main four characters - this sounds like it could be confusing but it flows really well. The flashbacks help reveal events that are key to the next chapter. It’s well done. The narrative is written well and the characters are likeable although I would’ve liked one to be a little more ‘rogue-y’. I did drop a star as there is one reveal that seemed too fortunate for me but overall I enjoyed it a lot. Read over two sittings, stayed up too late! Thank you to NetGalley and Rebellion Publishing for providing this E- ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Claire

    ~screaming forever~ review to come.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Zac Topping

    An excellent debut that’s going to make a big splash in the sci-fi genre, Hutchings has come out of the debut gates like a seasoned pro. UNDER FORTUNATE STARS is a strong character-driven story with plenty of mysteries wrapped in a space-time enigma that’ll keep you turning the pages. This book reminded me a lot of Star Trek: TNG, in that there’s a large cast of engaging characters who have to come together and use intelligence and teamwork to confront the big problem. It’s refreshing and fun an An excellent debut that’s going to make a big splash in the sci-fi genre, Hutchings has come out of the debut gates like a seasoned pro. UNDER FORTUNATE STARS is a strong character-driven story with plenty of mysteries wrapped in a space-time enigma that’ll keep you turning the pages. This book reminded me a lot of Star Trek: TNG, in that there’s a large cast of engaging characters who have to come together and use intelligence and teamwork to confront the big problem. It’s refreshing and fun and the way Hutchings uses backstory to inform the current timeline is brilliant. Highly recommend this one.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Benjamin

    I loved this book it is rather like reading a thoroughly brilliant series of Star Trek the kind you can’t help but binge watch in a weekend . I gobbled the book up over a weekend in a similar way thoroughly enjoying the brilliant multi universe storyline with its clever twists and turns . It took me a while to understand what was happening in the story which is told in flash backs and forwards through the various characters time lines .It didn’t matter because once I had twigged the direction of t I loved this book it is rather like reading a thoroughly brilliant series of Star Trek the kind you can’t help but binge watch in a weekend . I gobbled the book up over a weekend in a similar way thoroughly enjoying the brilliant multi universe storyline with its clever twists and turns . It took me a while to understand what was happening in the story which is told in flash backs and forwards through the various characters time lines .It didn’t matter because once I had twigged the direction of the story it was like working out in advance a great Who-dun-it ! I was very pleased with myself and in awe of any author who can think up such a great story I love science fiction which manages as this book does to make interplanetary travel multiple universes and alien life to feel completely credible .As lovers of science fiction tractor beams and space shop shielding are concepts we’ve read and watched enough times to feel we understand the technology .The worlds which this novel covers are beautifully described and eminently real I can easily see this novel spawning films or a long running tv series following the original 5 characters through other adventures I would thoroughly recommend this book to sci fi lovers ,even if you are new to the genre I’d suggest you give it a go you will be pleasantly surprised by the subtlety and beauty you will find with both human and alien species

  25. 4 out of 5

    Elisa Bonnin

    I'm so glad I was able to read this book early, because I thoroughly enjoyed this time-traveling space opera. UNDER FORTUNATE STARS is the story of two ships, the Jonah and the Gallion, which get stuck in an anomaly known as the Rift. The catch is that the two ships are from different points in time. The Jonah comes from a point in time right before the end of the war with the Felen, an alien species, and the Gallion comes from a time point long after the war with the Felen has been ended, by th I'm so glad I was able to read this book early, because I thoroughly enjoyed this time-traveling space opera. UNDER FORTUNATE STARS is the story of two ships, the Jonah and the Gallion, which get stuck in an anomaly known as the Rift. The catch is that the two ships are from different points in time. The Jonah comes from a point in time right before the end of the war with the Felen, an alien species, and the Gallion comes from a time point long after the war with the Felen has been ended, by the same people that are currently on the Jonah's crew. The entire book is about the two crews working together to get out of the Rift, because if they don't, history itself could change. I loved all of the POV characters in this book and their interactions, but what really interested me was the way the story came together. Reading this book was like being handed a bunch of puzzle pieces: about the Rift, about the characters' pasts, about how the identities of the Fortunate Five, and about how the crew of the Jonah actually brokered the peace with the Felen. The way the pieces came together at the end was incredibly satisfying, with a few things that I didn't see coming. If you're a fan of space operas or time travel stories, I highly recommend picking up this debut!

  26. 4 out of 5

    John Derek

    Under Fortunate Stars is a unique and engaging thriller of a space adventure with a touch of mystery thrown in. Beautifully written and excellently detailed with in-depth studies of how humans can resolve issues in the direst of circumstances. The book employs multiple narrators and is very much a character-driven novel. If you like that type of narrative, you will enjoy Under Fortunate Stars because there are some fascinating characters here. Some readers will obviously draw parallels to Star Tre Under Fortunate Stars is a unique and engaging thriller of a space adventure with a touch of mystery thrown in. Beautifully written and excellently detailed with in-depth studies of how humans can resolve issues in the direst of circumstances. The book employs multiple narrators and is very much a character-driven novel. If you like that type of narrative, you will enjoy Under Fortunate Stars because there are some fascinating characters here. Some readers will obviously draw parallels to Star Trek and other sci-fi books, mainly because of the whole time-slip scenario. But the author has created an excellent science fiction mystery-thriller, which stands out from the run of the mill. Superb characterization and epic atmospheric scenarios make Under Fortunate Stars a bit special. The disparate individuals from the Jonah are a mismatched bunch in more ways than one. So, it is no surprise that they get most of the best lines, early on, at least. There is humour and wit, even in the worst of situations. Jereth Keevens, immediately had me thinking of Hans Solo. Instantly likeable, brave, totally loyal yet, just as likely to get you into trouble because of his snarky attitude. Jereth and Eldric Leesongronski, actually made a decent team. Their rapport was one of the highlights, and you could imagine spin-offs of their adventures. They say drastic changes in situations can emotionally derail a person. Well, it happens to engineer Uma, who unexpectedly gets to meet her heroes. Unfortunately, they are not what she believes them to be. That's what happens when you meet your heroes because they never quite live up to your expectations. Another word for fortunate is lucky. The crews of the Jonah and Gallion seem to have so much luck you would have to conclude that they are playing with loaded dice. Time and time again, things seem inevitable to go in the crew's favour. Or, as we used to say, "more jam than Hartley's". I know some will say that it is just too much good fortune, but it always worked for the A-Team, “I love it when a plan comes together”. There does not seem to be a problem dialogue wise, considering the difference in time between the crews, and it helps with the rapport between characters. It did niggle a bit with all the toadying with the alien ambassador, but that was part and parcel of diplomatic relations. There is a lot of tense and dramatic action throughout the narrative, and it certainly has that edge of the seat fervour about the book. It certainly captures the imagination and if it is a homage to classic space operas then it works a treat. Considering Under Fortunate Stars is the first novel by Ren Hutchings, I thought it was a phenomenal and remarkable work of science fiction. I hope Under Fortunate Stars gets picked up by one of the larger movie franchises because it has that big screen vibe about it. I recommend this book highly. Under Fortunate Stars is a worthy addition to the Science-Fiction genre, and I personally cannot wait to see what Ren Hutchings has next up her sleeve. Thank you so much, NetGalley, Ren Hutchings and Rebellion, Solaris, for the incredible ARC.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Si

    Got an ARC from Netgalley. Would recommend to fans of Firefly, Star Trek and maybe Becky Chambers. A band of rogues and a science vessel from 150 years in the future hit a worm hole and end up in sub-space. They, then combine their resources to get back. Overall I liked this. It was a take on time travel that I don’t think I’ve read before. It managed to avoid all the clichés like the grandfather-paradox. The science wasn’t over-explained, but at the same time easy enough for anyone to understand, Got an ARC from Netgalley. Would recommend to fans of Firefly, Star Trek and maybe Becky Chambers. A band of rogues and a science vessel from 150 years in the future hit a worm hole and end up in sub-space. They, then combine their resources to get back. Overall I liked this. It was a take on time travel that I don’t think I’ve read before. It managed to avoid all the clichés like the grandfather-paradox. The science wasn’t over-explained, but at the same time easy enough for anyone to understand, sci-fi and non sci-fi reader alike. The characters were likeable, albeit a little tropey. For example, you have Jereth the cavalier leader and Leeg the quiet genius. (Not sure, but I think Leeg is autistic. Bonus points for the possible autism rep). There was good use of flashbacks to help contextualise the characters and their motives. The book was more character driven than plot driven. So it might not be for everyone. Fans of Becky Chambers might appreciate it more. A fairly decent story, for a debut novel.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    Under Fortunate Stars follows the crews of two spaceships who converge in ‘the Rift,’ which seems to be a strange sort of energetic disturbance; the two crews come from two different time periods 152 years apart, with the ‘earlier’ crew famous in the ‘latter’ crew’s time period, but their meeting seems misaligned with historical record in many respects. The crews must work together to figure out how to escape the Rift and set things right. I appreciated Hutchings’ effective use of non-linear sto Under Fortunate Stars follows the crews of two spaceships who converge in ‘the Rift,’ which seems to be a strange sort of energetic disturbance; the two crews come from two different time periods 152 years apart, with the ‘earlier’ crew famous in the ‘latter’ crew’s time period, but their meeting seems misaligned with historical record in many respects. The crews must work together to figure out how to escape the Rift and set things right. I appreciated Hutchings’ effective use of non-linear storytelling here, with flashbacks illuminating crew members’ pasts. I also like multiple-POV novels and feel like this was also mostly effective, though some of the characters’ narrations felt a bit similar to each other. The slow pace of the plot worked for me, as tension and mystery slowly built as the crews learned more about each other and the situation they were in, with the action really picking up in the last third of the novel or so. The novel is queer inclusive in ways I appreciate – with queer characters represented without their identities being plot points – and the novel overall has a real sense of humour, not taking itself too seriously. The world-building is also very well done – this feels like a fully fleshed out universe complete with political, class, and environmental dynamics that make sense; I hope that Hutchings will revisit this universe in a future book as I’d happily return to it as a reader. I recommend Under Fortunate Stars to space opera fans, particularly for those who aren’t looking for anything too heavy. Content warnings: physical assault, injury, war, gun violence, death, child death

  29. 5 out of 5

    Juliette

    Wowowow, this was a great book! It had been a while since I’d been so attached to characters and hooked on a plot line. Under Fortunate Stars is a really cool space opera stand-alone that will keep you wanting to know more until the very last page! I’m giving this book 4 stars because I believe the first 20% could have been tightened and changed up a bit, as it felt like a lot of telling and showing too early in order to set up bigger plot lines further down the line. In the end, it totally work Wowowow, this was a great book! It had been a while since I’d been so attached to characters and hooked on a plot line. Under Fortunate Stars is a really cool space opera stand-alone that will keep you wanting to know more until the very last page! I’m giving this book 4 stars because I believe the first 20% could have been tightened and changed up a bit, as it felt like a lot of telling and showing too early in order to set up bigger plot lines further down the line. In the end, it totally worked. But at the beginning, it felt a bit jarring. If you start reading it and feel the same way I did, just keep reading and you will see it’s all worth it! One thing Ren Hutchins is a master at is making you feel for and relate to her characters. By the end of this book, I felt like crying for every single one of them. I would love a second book to know what’s happened to all of them, which hasn’t happened to me in a while. All of the plot lines were also interesting, and there were no moments where I wished I could be reading about someone else, although this book is peppered with flashbacks and I typically get thrown off by them happening too often. Please do yourself a favour and pick this debut sci-fi book up! I will totally be putting it in the staff picks at my work when it comes in. Thank you to NetGalley and Solaris/Rebellion Publishing for providing me with an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Katie Soderlund

    Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the digital ARC, it has not affected my honest review. Publication Date: 10th May (UK) The synopsis of 'Under Fortunate Stars' sounded absolutely perfect and I'm glad to say that this book was everything I wanted and more. The story opens with the Galleon, a scientific research spaceship funded by a private company, becoming entangled in the "Rift" where they find themselves alongside another ship. This is the Jonah, and onboard is the legendary Fortu Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the digital ARC, it has not affected my honest review. Publication Date: 10th May (UK) The synopsis of 'Under Fortunate Stars' sounded absolutely perfect and I'm glad to say that this book was everything I wanted and more. The story opens with the Galleon, a scientific research spaceship funded by a private company, becoming entangled in the "Rift" where they find themselves alongside another ship. This is the Jonah, and onboard is the legendary Fortunate Five that brought about peace to the galaxy 152 years ago. However, the crew on board the Jonah are anything but heroic and nothing like what history describes. I adored the combination of the modern crew members (the stand outs for me were Shann, the Facilities Manager) and Uma, the Engineering head) meeting their mysterious heroes and finding that they are completely ordinary people. At the same time, the back stories of the Five (especially Leeg and Keevan) were fascinating and incredibly well written. The gradual realisation that these individuals would go on to shape history and time if they escape the Rift is brilliant and I loved how the reality of the Five was hidden away by history. What Ren Hutchings has done with 'Under Fortunate Stars' is wonderful and it's definitely a book I'll come back to in the future for another read.

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