Home > Book Review, Genre, Length - average but on the longer side, LGBTQIA+, mystery, scifi > Book Review: Station Eternity by Mur Lafferty

Book Review: Station Eternity by Mur Lafferty

Image of a digital book cover. A white woman's face is half in light and half in shadow. She wears sunglasses. A bee and planets can be seen reflected in her sunglasses.

Mallory is constantly embroiled in murder cases that only she has the insight to solve. But outside of a classic mystery novel, being surrounded by death makes you a suspect and a social pariah. So when she gets the opportunity to take refuge on a sentient space station, she takes it. Surely the murders will stop if her only company is aliens. But when the station agrees to allow additional human guests, humans and aliens alike begin to die…

A scifi mystery with creative imaginings of multiple alien species and a queer cast.

My favorite part of this book is the various alien species present on the space station. The Gneiss formed from rocks. They don’t ever really die but hibernate then come back in a new form. They can be pebbles, humanoids, or even shuttles. The Phantasmagore have a symbiont vine growing on their ankles that let them camouflage into their surroundings. The Sundry are a hivemind of bee-like creatures that are mysteriously divided into blue and grey factions. Most interesting is that all alien species evolved to have a symbiont. This is another species that merges with them for a mutually beneficial relationship. Only humans didn’t. Why they don’t have one is one of the mysteries of the book.

In spite of the fact that many of the characters are aliens, this still manages to be a diverse book. Multiple characters are Black, one is Korean-American, and the automatic translator uses human names from around the globe to substitute for alien names that humans couldn’t possibly pronounce. (For reasons like that they can’t vibrate to communicate like the Gneiss do).

The marketing I saw was Agatha Christie in space. The storytelling isn’t comparable. Agatha Christie novels are mostly one pov. Third person from the detective’s perspective. This book uses multiple povs. This annoyed me, because at many times, we the readers know things Mallory doesn’t. It removes a lot of the mystery. We end up just sitting there waiting for her to find out something we already know. And it’s not just switching pov in a seen. There are multiple flashback chapters where we go and see a character’s whole backstory. It’s important for an author to know all this detailed information, but not for the reader to. An example is one character who the military recruits to something. We have a whole chapter of flashback to the military recruiting her. Then later Mallory finds out. We didn’t need this chapter about the recruitment. We could have just seen Mallory find it out. More suspense and less dead time (pun intended) waiting for flashbacks to be over. While I liked the story itself, the style of telling it wasn’t for me.

The queer content is that Mallory is bisexual. Another character is a trans gay guy. Another minor character is gay. I appreciate that these identities are not a big deal and mentioned in passing like a character’s hair color. I was a little uncomfortable with one scene with the trans character, Phineas. His brother is trying to reassure him that they’re definitely related. For some reason, the way he reassures him of this is to say his deadname and explain why their father gave him that name. It just seemed like a completely unnecessary use of the deadname to me. (Could have just said…dad named you what he did because of X and that’s why he’s definitely your dad too). I don’t mind characters making mistakes. But it would have been nice to have established Phineas doesn’t mind hearing his deadname. Or to have his brother realize his mistake and apologize.

Recommended for mystery readers who like scifi and multiple povs.

If you found this review helpful, please consider tipping me on ko-fi, checking out my digital items available in my ko-fi shop, buying one of my publications, or using one of my referral/coupon codesThank you for your support!

3 out of 5 stars

Length: 336 pages – average but on the longer side

Source: NetGalley

Buy It (Amazon or Bookshop.org)

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