Stars Uncharted by S. K. Dunstall

Stars Uncharted

S. K. Dunstall

Together a mismatched crew will end up on one ship, hurtling through the lawless reaches of deep space. Trailed by nefarious company men, they will race to find the most famous lost world of all.

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In this rip-roaring space opera, a ragtag band of explorers are out to make the biggest score in the galaxy.

On this space jump, no one is who they seem . . .

Captain Hammond Roystan is a simple cargo runner who has stumbled across the find of a lifetime: the Hassim, a disabled exploration ship--and its valuable record of unexplored worlds.

His junior engineer, Josune Arriola, said her last assignment was in the uncharted rim. But she is decked out in high-level bioware that belies her humble backstory.

A renowned body-modification artist, Nika Rik Terri has run afoul of clients who will not take no for an answer. She has to flee off-world, and she is dragging along a rookie modder, who seems all too experienced in weapons and war . . .

Together this mismatched crew will end up on one ship, hurtling through the lawless reaches of deep space with Roystan at the helm. Trailed by nefarious company men, they will race to find the most famous lost world of all--and riches beyond their wildest dreams . . .


Advance Galley Reviews

I love sci fi, and this is such a great example of the genre. Looking forward to more from Dunstall!

This is a fun and engaging read! Nika was one of my favorite characters. Highly recommend this book! Rating 4/5

Usually when I realize a book is set up to be a series, I'm a little disappointed. However, as I was reading this book I found myself hoping it would be a series. I like the characters and want to go along on more of their adventures. The world building is very good and intriguing. There are some interesting technologies in use; people can change their entire outward appearance through modifications, ships can jump great distances through null space. One thing that stood out to me was that the two female lead characters felt like they were females, as opposed to a lot of characters in this type of novels who, Josune and Nika, come across as basically male characters with female names and appearances. Yet the two women have distinct personalities and interests. Josune is interested in exploration. Nika is interested in body modifications. She notes people's appearances, thinks what was done to them, and what she would do. There's a lot going on here, but it's easy to follow and explained without getting bogged down in tech.

I loved this book far more than I expected to. The story is interesting and entertaining, the characters are well done. It's definitely far better than I expected when I judged just off the summary in general. I'd definitely recommend this to anyone interested in sci-fi. A 4 star read.

4 stars... When I first started reading this book I wasn't sure if I was going to like it because the author throws you straight into this world and storyline with no backstory at all. You literally have to piece it together as you're reading. Once I understood who the Goberlings were and why they were all searching for his last location everything made more sense and kind of came together. I enjoyed the body modding quite a bit and thought it was pretty inventive. All of the characters were really likeable too. Nika Rik Terri's obsession was a little over-the-top though but I felt like a lot of that dialogue was added as just filler. It's not clear if there's going to be a sequel but the author definitely left room for one at the end. If there is, I wouldn't mind revisiting this world again.

I received a free advanced copy of this book from First to Read in exchange for an honest review. I did not want to put this book down! The worldbuilding is so detailed. I really liked the alternating perspectives. Each character has their own background and motivations. I don't usually read space operas, but this was great! I think I've found a new genre to look into.

I received an advance digital copy from First to Read in exchange for my candid review. I would give this three out of five stars after my initial reading of this sci-fi book. The bouncing around between POV seemed a bit forced. I liked Nika Rik Terri as a character but could not relate to/stand Josune. I will check out more from the authors as the premise of the story was fun.

I had a lot of fun with this book. The characters we met all had different motivations, different but interesting backgrounds, and similar drive and determination. The world-building is fantastic. While like the typical space opera the science is only described at a high level. I feel I got a good feel for how all the tech worked. Making Companies the big enemy hits close to home considering the distribution of wealth these days. I liked Josune best out of all the characters, but Royston and Nika, who both provided their points of view were well-fleshed out and realistic. One key element of a good story is having your characters solve problems. There's a whole cascade of them, and with the quick pace, you will be immersed quickly and want a cigarette when it's all over.

I found this book compulsively readable. Once I picked it up, I hardly put it down, even when I really needed to go to sleep. Space operas--heavy on the drama, light on the science, are great fun. There are more than a few complex machines waved off in a fashion similar to magic--they have rules, it takes skill to use them, there's technobabble over them, but not much in the way of how they'd actually work. They just do, moving along the plot, throwing up conflict, helping to develop the characters. Either you embrace it, or it drives you crazy. The story is told by three characters--Josune, a treasure hunter, Nika, a gene modder (a sort of plastic surgeon/doctor/artist), and Roystan, a cargo ship captain. They're all on the run from danger, and hiding plenty. They have good reason, though--the companies of this book roll right over any and all of the people they can. Everyone else looks the other way, lest they be next. Their paths converge quickly, which means all their troubles do, too. But they've also got all their considerable skills, and that of various allies and comrades. So, though the story is disaster after disaster, piling up on each other, there's a sense they might just make it through. The different povs (helpfully indicated in the chapter titles) show how the characters think as well as what others think of them. The shifting web of emotion adds another layer to the story, and how some of them interact is quite funny. With a cast of well developed characters, a solid foundation of world-building, and ridiculously over the top action, this is a series I will be reading more of.

3.75ish Stars Sister writing duo S. K. Dunstall has given us a space opera, Stars Uncharted, that's a rollicking fun read. Its two female protagonists are lying their way through the galaxy. Nika Rik Terri is a gifted body modder who is on the run from her ex-boyfriend, his boss, and a thug working for that same boss. She's giving up everything to get away from them. She just has to get some injuries discreetly fixed first. She picks Bertram Snow's studio to do the work. Unfortunately, Snow has his own problems and they both end up in hot water, on the run. Snow is a much younger body modder who idolizes Nika's work, as he tells her often on their attempt to escape, all without knowing she's really Niki Rik Terri. Josune Arriola is an explorer working as a spy for her true vessel's, the Hassim's, captain, Taki Feyodor, who is to coordinate a surprise meeting with Hammond Roystan, the captain of the vessel on which Josune's working, while hiding her true identity. Things go badly for Josune early on when it turns out that everyone on the Hassim was murdered by info-seeking pirates who work for one of the twenty-plus conglomerates mysteriously called "the Company." Various other crew members on Royston's ship, the Road to the Goberlings, include Pol, Qiang, Guardian, Carlos and the rather endearing Jacques. It looks like Josune will have to hang around Royston and his crew while they salvage a ship that by all rights could have been hers. Nika and Josune are the driving forces of this story and, for the first quarter of the book, their storylines run parallel to one another, in alternating chapters, until they cross and both end up as crew on Royston's ship Road to the Goberlings. Both women are fairly likable, decent people in spite of the fact that they have spun serious lies in order to be where they are. It turns out, they are not alone in that regard. Their new shipmates all have secrets of their own. There's plenty of action throughout and the book is a fun read! One of the things I liked most about Stars Uncharted was that we have two strong, capable, and mature female lead characters, with very different and interesting histories. The male lead characters, Royston and Snow are a bit less developed but still fine characters, forming a loyal core. On the other hand, some of the secondary characters feel like they are little more than names for most of the story. (Qiang, for instance.) The villains of the story, Alejandro and Wickmore, are also pretty thinly rendered and feel flat as characters. The world-building felt as if it could have been far richer to me. I felt like some of their ports of call were little more than a name. In spite of these issues, it was still an enjoyable read. I received a Digital Review Copy of this book from First to Read, along with a paper review copy, in exchange for an honest review.

Stars: 5/5 I was so pleasantly surprised by Stars Uncharted! This was a really fun, fast-paced sci-fi novel. You've got your classic cast of rogue misfits running away from the evil corporations through space. Think The Lunar Chronicles meets Guardians of the Galaxy. What really sets this book apart for me was the super fascinating way the authors wrote about body-modding. Nika Rik Terri, one of the protagonists, is a famous body modder and she's so into it that she make me like so excited to read about her like weirdly altering people's bodies in a vat of plasma?? I honestly enjoyed the scenes when Nika was working on mods sometimes even more than the high-action spaceship chase scenes. Overall, the characters were so appealing. There are four main characters and I loved them all so much! While I could definitely predict how some of their relationships would play out from the very beginning, I enjoyed watching it all unfold. This is technically an "adult" book, I can see it appealing to slightly older YA readers as well as sci-fi fans. This was such a refreshing read for me that now I'm looking forward to reading S.K. Dunstall's other works. Comparable Titles: Zenith by Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cummings Invictus by Ryan Graudin Cinder by Marissa Meyer Starflight by Melissa Landers Artemis by Andy Weir

This is a very creative world -- showing the vast human capacity for both creative technology and corruptive power. This world feature both machines with nearly infinite capacity to heal and modify bodies (let alone space travel and stations!) and also fierce power consolidation by corporations with vicious thugs and creative weapons. There are two main characters -- a woman on the hunt for lost treasure and a woman who treats the body as an artistic canvas using those modding machines. They are thrown together with some other ragtag crew and face insurmountable odds, numerous pursuers (some ruthless, some much-feared but quickly disposed of). There were a few major plot holes, like what happened to the corporation they did the deal with that was supposed to be coming, and some aspects of the technology that could have been explained better, especially some of the loopholes of modding and mind swapping. Also, it would be interesting to see more about the psychology of people where body fluidity is so easy -- do people object? how do they adjust? how do they recognize each other). Other setups paid off very well, such as some of the Goberling myth, the captain's tricky diet, etc. The bonds of the crew and personalities were fun.

If you enjoy fast moving space operas, you will enjoy this book. The main characters include Nika, one of the best body modders in the universe and Josune, an engineer that has her sights set on exploring. But both have some skeletons in their closets and end up on the run with someone else that isn't who he seems, Roystan. We follow these characters on an adventure to piece together what they know with pieces of the past. If you like a little mystery and "fighting the man" with some great characters, pick up this book.

I have a soft spot for sci-fi stories with rag-tag crews and old spaceships; unsurprisingly, this is the kind of story that will get my attention. The story revolves around two main female characters: Nika, a body modder on the run from her abusive-slash-mafioso boyfriend, and Josune, undercover engineer on board a ship known as “The Road” (these aren’t spoilers: you learn about it in the very first chapters). As they both have to face their own brand of trouble, their paths converge towards The Road, always underlined by the shadow of a man named Goberling, who almost a century ago came back from an expedition with precious metals… but never revealed where he had found them. This is space opera through and through, with a dash of transhumanism. It’s a world where humanity obviously colonised many worlds, and where people regularly reinvent themselves through body modding—which offers pleznty of possibilities, too, considering how many characters in the book aren’t who they claim to be. It’s also a world of commercial ships, of big corporations that no one dares to cross, and of exploration and legends: The Road’s full name is “The Road to the Goberlings”, and another ship, the Hassim, is renowned through the whole galaxy as an exploration ship whose crew has dedicated itself to finding Goberling’s lost world. In general, I quite liked the characters, and the relationships developing between them. They’re all their own kind of badass, even the ones, like Nika, who’re not crew that learnt to fight on a ship. There’s a slight dash of hinted romance, but never enough to interfere with the story. The budding friendship between Nika and Josune never veers towards that annoying trope of “female friendships always tinged with interest for A Man”. The Road’s crew sticks together, bound with a loyalty that keeps growing with each trip. And the regular quibbles between Nika and Snow (another modder), was overall fun enough, also because you can feel the nascent respect underneath. Other things I liked less, though. First, the pacing was sometimes weird, carried in places by short sentences and paragraphs that felt too abrupt; the characters are constantly on the run, and at times it felt that not much happened, that everything was mainly their running away, with bits of story in between. Another problematic aspect was Nika’s obsession with modding. I enjoyed the more technical side of it (I wish we had such machines, hah!), but she too often went about imagining how she’d reinvent the people around her, from their hair to judging them too fat, which was definitely obnoxious (and motivated much more by aesthetic judgements than by health reasons). For a character who prides herself on being a trend-setter, her trends were somewhat quite… conservative, a.k.a. everybody has to be slim and trim. Somehow, I’m not convinced that if our future does hold such body modding in store, everyone will want the same. Finally, I wasn’t fully on board (look what I did there) with some of the plot twists, because they were too easy to guess, and I could see them coming a parsec away, to the point that I couldn’t understand how the characters didn’t see it sooner. Maybe it’s just me, or maybe it was made too obvious, too soon? I don’t know. And we don’t get to learn that much about Snow, which is a shame, because I suspect he also has his closet full. Conclusion: 3 to 3.5 stars (out of 5). In the end, some parts I had trouble with, others kept me hooked, so while it wasn’t the best book I read this year, it was nonetheless very entertaining, and set in a world that I wouldn’t mind revisiting, because a single book can’t possibly reveal all there is to know about it.

The concept of this book was really cool and reminded me a lot of Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan. I loved the body modding, that was so interesting!! I found myself pretty bored bouncing between the two POVs. I didn't care about Josune and I really liked Nika Rik Terri. I thought (hoped) Josune was a robot/AI. I don't know exactly what I didn't like about this book but the flow was off. I just didn't find myself caring enough about the situations and the running from the company, etc. But I could see this being #1 in a series?

The book expired 8 days before my review was due, so I didn’t get to finish it.

I love all things to do with space, astronomy, and science. The cover immediately caught my eye and I am glad I requested this book. This was an awesome read and so different from what I’ve been reading. There is a lot of "tech talk" scattered throughout but it doesn't get boring or overwhelming. The beginning of the book has a lot of world building and explaining. You need a background on the characters, especially the two POV characters Nika and Josune. This is a great extended introduction to a completely different worlds and galaxies and topics that don’t exist today. It’s essential for this in the beginning because once it starts going the story is on. The second half of the book flew for me and I couldn’t resist picking this up during my work day, sorry boss! I really enjoyed seeing the group through two different points of view. Their interactions and feelings were comical at times. Snow’s exasperation and shock with Nika was my favorite and I found myself laughing out loud. If there are any other books it would be awesome to see his POV. My first ever advanced copy, thank you Penguin! Reviews are my own and receiving brief early access in no way affected my thoughts or review.

S.K. Dunstall’s “Stars Uncharted” was a fabulous read. I don’t usually read science fiction, but this story had me hooked from the first page. I couldn’t put it down. I can’t wait for a follow up novel set in this world.

Written by two sisters (S.K. Dunstall is actually S. & K. Dunstall), this is a classic space opera, science fiction adventure. It reminds me of Anne Leckie's Imperial Radch trilogy, starting with _Ancillary Justice_, and also with the "Guardians of the Galaxy" movies. _Stars Uncharted_ is a standalone novel, with chapters alternating between the perspectives of two different female characters, Josune Arriola and Nika Rik Terri. Transition between chapters and perspectives is seamless, but I still wonder if each Dunstall sister focuses on one character when they write. Just curious. In any case, the action, plot, and character development are fluid within this fast-paced narrative involving spaceships, unexplored worlds, space gangsters, renegades, sympathetic heroines and heroes on the run, secret identities, and genetic modification. I recommend it to space opera science fiction fans.

Unfortunately, I did not care for this book. There might be some adventure in this book eventually, but it certainly didn't appear in the first third of the book. I gave up at that point. Up until then, I had learned more than I wanted to about body modification. It's a very prevalent technique for curing defects and creating new identities. That might have been interesting as an incidental feature in this world, but it felt like it was the only unique feature. If this is the start of a series, I will definitely not be continuing with it. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.

I hadn't realized that "space opera" was a type of science fiction story, so this was new for me. To be honest, I tend to be more drawn to the fantasy genre and shy away from science fiction (I usually like magic more than science). That said, Stars Uncharted looked like a fun adventure and it did not disappoint. The setting reminded me of the Guardians of the Galaxy movies. Lots of different worlds and space travel. The characters were all human. The creativity was really entertaining. One of the main characters, Nika, is a body-modification artist (modder) and we learn a lot about that field- super interesting and shows great imagination by the author team! The characters meshed together well and there was a lot of engaging action. I enjoyed the story and hope there will be a sequel!

Disclaimer: I received a free advance review copy of this book from the publisher. I liked this one a lot. It was a fun space romp with interesting world building and likable characters. I did see the “twist” coming ten miles away, but I still enjoyed it. Would love to see more of this universe!

Vivid imagery, I will definitely recommend to my friends who like sci-fi. Amazing read and engrossing story line. Love Nika! Hoping for a second even though this is a stand alone book.

This was an absolute delight and I am sick to death of my own boring old body.

I grew up reading science fiction and still like to take the plunge from time to time. Dunstall takes us to a future with ships racing through space, worlds to be discovered and fortunes to be made. Ships can nullspace, reminding me of Kirk's Enterprise zipping from one location to another. There are plasma canons, havoc bombs, ionizers, and all kinds of futuristic weapons. There is the hunt for an elusive treasure, something for which a huge company is willing to kill to find. The futuristic machines I found most interesting and ones forming an essential part of the plot were those modifying human bodies. Modders are people trained to use the machines. Nika, a main character, is an expert in the field. I was fascinated by the possibilities, a new nose, fat removed, remaking damaged body parts, even a change in gender. That concept brought an interesting aspect to this sci-fi adventure and made me wonder what the future might be like with DNA manipulation. I recommend this novel to readers who like a good shoot 'em up science fiction adventure. I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

Stars Uncharted, by S.K. Dunstall, opens in the studio of Nika Terri. Nika is a body modder, a technician who alters the physical appearance of her clients via genetic manipulation. In Nika’s world, many alter their appearance as easily as people change their hair color today. Since Nika’s DNA manipulations usually cause sterility, one might wonder how anyone would consider such body modifications. An over-the-top aspect of the process is the fact that the modding machines can also switch minds from one body to another. This aspect strains the ability to suspend disbelief. Nika is obsessed with her science—she constantly connects every aspect of the story to her craft. Late one night, she opens her door to an injured man who knows too much about her equipment and skills, information he could only have learned from the mysterious and dangerous Alejandro. Soon, the plot jumps ahead to introduce a huge cast of characters who operate a commercial space ship and plan to transverse the universe in search of treasure. Both plot trajectories cross creating complexity and complications for all. Readers new to the genre may find the first few chapters challenging. However, understanding will come once the modding procedure becomes clear. Nika can do more than simply change the style of a person’s appearance; she can also save lives by repairing damage caused by knives and blasters. Once all the actors come together, the plot combines Nika’s need to distance herself from Alejandro and the crew’s need to reach their goal of financial gain. The hunt for treasure is certainly not a new theme but combing it with Nika’s abilities makes for a more original adventure. The setting of Stars Uncharted offers a vague version of what the future will look like. Perhaps if the descriptions offered a bit more detail, the setting could be more interesting. As it stands, readers must extend maximum effort to picture this fictional world. Most of the main characters are likeable, and all appear to be humanoid. Readers will meet no fascinating or frightening alien creatures. The main antagonists are employees of the Eaglehawk Company, an organization with nebulous motives. The large cast of characters becomes unwieldly, and with a few exceptions, their identities may not be easy to differentiate. Their dialogue sometimes includes anachronistic terminology. It is hard to believe that people many generations in the future will continue to use words like boyfriend or skank. Nika, arguably the main character, is so intensely focused on modding that she appears one-dimensional, and her actions become repetitive and predictable. The lack of a personal backstory augments her one dimensional nature. It would be interesting to know exactly what Alejandro did to earn his reputation. The text is written in everyday, understandable language, but the content often becomes confusing, which leads to the need for authorial intrusion to explain complex issues. The resulting explanations would be better handled with meaningful dialogue. The ending seems somehow unfinished and lacks a takeaway. Perhaps the authors plan a sequel that will continue the adventure and tie up loose ends. Stars Uncharted is likely to be enjoyed by readers who appreciate extended tales that recount the adventures of a large group of daring, resourceful characters and do not require a takeaway message at the end. Hard-core Sci-Fi fans will opt for a novel with a more defensible version of a future structured on technology that is based on a comparatively plausible scientific foundation and support.

What first got me in this book was the world building - even before I was deeply invested in the characters, I was fascinated by and drawn into the world created by SK Dunstall. The plot developed in an engaging way and kept the reader moving. I would say that an enjoyment of sci fi is a requirement for this book! As a fan of the genre, however, I absolutely loved it and have already recommended it to several friends.

The book "Stars Uncharted" is the first book I read by S.K Dunstall. The beginning chapters had an interesting take on body swapping or modifications. I read a few chapters but could not maintain my interest to the end. With so many books available if my interest is not held I tend to move on to something more enticing.

I really tried my best but I just couldn’t get into it. There is way too much info dump in the beginning and we are basically thrown in the world unawares. The writing was also not something that I like. I DNF’d it.

First things first..I really enjoyed this book. I admit that I was rather confused in the beginning on who all of the characters were, and then keeping track of them as the book progressed. And just as I was about to give up on the book it reeled me back in and from there I read it every chance I got. The storyline itself was really interesting, and I enjoyed how just when you thought you knew how something was going to turn out the authored put in a twist and you got a totally different result. I do hope that there is a sequel as I really wasn't ready for the book to end when it did. To me that's the sign of a good book!

3.5 stars. Stars Uncharted is a standalone novel (though I really hope that the authors write a sequel). There is violence. This is an interesting book that follows Roystan and a mismatched crew. I really liked that there are two main female characters, Josune and Nika, which really enhanced the storyline. Mix in a ship mystery, mobsters (oops...Company Men), and secrets and you have the makings of a good book. It starts off slowly but stick with it and you will enjoy how the story finishes.

Stars Uncharted releases on August 14th, 2018. I garnered the opportunity to read an Advanced Review Copy thanks to Penguin's First to Read program. Written by the Australian sister duo of Sherylyn and Karen Dunstall, under the pseudonym of S.K. Dunstall, this sci-fi space opera is set a bit further out into the future, but has enough references to our modern-day Earth to make you realize that our planet is still in the memories of the characters. Stars Uncharted started slowly for me, as we were thrown right in the middle of this universe without any real world-building. However, once the storylines of the different POVs converged that's where the real action began and made it so I couldn't put this book down without knowing what happened. There are quite a few cool technologies that the sisters Dunstall explore here. Body modification and the modders who are trained to use the machines can explore endless possibilities in the field from basic plastic surgery (nose job, lipo, etc), reforming a highly damaged body (think burn victims or broken bones), and even changing someone's gender. They can actually do DNA modification in this universe, which brings up a whole wealth of questions for me. I do appreciate the exploration of the healing that body modders do, as well as just general body modification for appearance only. In addition to body modification, there's some cool engineering on the universe's spaceships including calibration, nullspacing, which read to me like faster-than-light technology, and interesting weaponry like plasma cannons, havoc bombs, ionizers, and sparkers. This story is told from the point of view of two strong female characters - Nika Rik Terri, a universe renowned body modder on the run from her abusive ex-boyfriend, and Josune Arriola, who has been aboard ship on The Road as a spy for her crew on the ship, Hassim. The rest of the cast of characters are an eclectic crew of found family whose fates inevitably entwine, as they face the Big Bads - Company Men. I caught onto a few plot twists quite a bit before their reveals, but all in all, Stars Uncharted is a great and easy summer read once you push past the opening chapters. I would definitely recommend this book to those who love exploratory science fiction alongside their space opera. Basically, if Firefly/Serenity is your thing, you'll dig this book.

This was an intriguing book, full of twists and turns! I was hooked from the first page!!

I LOVED THIS BOOK! I was never one to be into space operas but this book was a game changer. I was instantly pulled into the story as it started of with the body modder Nika Rik Terri and from there I was slowly introduced to all my future favorite characters. When a rag tag group of people find themselves in danger and kind of just happen upon one another, they realize by working together they not only make an awesome crew but also stand a chance of living another day. This book did not only have an intensely interesting story line but the characters were so very...satisfying to read about. The author made sure to put a lot of heart and soul into her characters and it shows. No one was special in this interesting group of people and everyone brought some unique perspective or skill to the table. By the end of the book I felt like my friends were going away without me. I really hope there will be a series of these books because this was definitely something i can see myself getting into. Overall its a really good space opera, lots of intense moments, technical talk but author does a great job of helping the reader understand and immersing them into his world. I would highly recommend you give it a shot although if you don't already like Sci-Fi novels this may be a hard one to get into.

This book was riveting! I admit that I would get confused with which of the characters was getting injured, due to the machinations of Nika Rik Terri in body modding. Add in double crossing star ship mates, corrupt police force and politicians, plus regular old fashioned low life thugs. Stars Uncharted was action packed, which made for a quick read since I was unable to put down the book and neglected my real life until I finished. This was a perfect summer read. Stars Uncharted provides an escape from our real world, and yet it delivers plenty of social norms to ponder. I have seen other reviewers comment that Nika concentrates too much on physical beauty in her body modding activities, and I agree with those reviewers that this aspect was something I considered detrimental. On the other hand, this gave me an opportunity to mull over why it was an issue for me; it's never a bad thing to work through our prejudices. Now I'm off to explore the Linesman series by S. K. Dunstall!

A riveting science fiction fantastic story that is slow to start but once it takes off you be immersed in the action.

Oh my God, this book was a DELIGHT. It's such a great sci-fi space opera from start to finish. I hadn't realized how much I missed this genre until reading this book! The worldbuilding is super fun, and the pacing of the plot works perfectly. (These sorts of books need exposition, so just grin and bear it through those moments.) Nika, the book's heroine, is a body-modder; that is, she helps people alter their appearances by adjusting their DNA. It's a fascinating concept that brings critical thought bear on our own obsession with looks—one need only turn on the TV to see celebrities (young and old) doing much the same thing. Body modding adds the needed thematic meat to what is otherwise just pure, shoot-em-up sci-fi fun. I STRONGLY recommend this book to any sci-fi fans, and I think people unfamiliar but interested in the genre would love it, too.

An engrossing space opera that is a high octane fight for survival set in space with vibes from Firely and a bit of Undercover Boss. Buckle in and get ready for an adventure! Stars Uncharted is written by S.K. Dunstall, a pseudonym for a writing team of two sisters, which is so cool! This is a slow burn story that reminds me of how Joss Whedon's television shows build up, and fans of Firefly will indeed get some nostalgia feels! (I certainly envision Roystan as Nathan Fillian.) This is a world where no one is who they seem to be, where people can change their appearances, and every character has a backstory to hide. The premise of this book is a simple one: the crew aboard The Road comes across an abandoned ship within the legal zone on a supply run and board to claim it and its contents based on salvage laws... and uncovers a clue to a highly prized mystery. Before they can set off in search of their riches, members from one of the Big 27 Companies try to take the secret by force. Can they outrun the Big Bad and lay claim to the treasure? Stars Uncharted is told in the alternating and disparate perspectives in the same universe: ?? Nika Rik Terri is one of the best body modifiers there is, but danger knocks on her door frequently due to her abusive ex-boyfriend Alejandro and his connections. As she flees her own issues, she brings along rookie modder Snow to protect him from his own troubles. ?? Josune Arriola is a brilliant engineer and explorer that has learned to fight through her years working as a space explorer. She is strong and badass and I admire her so much. In addition to our two female main characters we have Hammond Roystan, captain of The Road. For the last six weeks Josune has served as Roystan's junior engineer and after the crew finds trouble following their salvage their paths cross with Nika. The first 100 pages or so I was wondering how and when the storylines would converge, but when they finally do it is satisfying to read. The worldbuilding to describe the world our characters inhabit is vast and detailed, and I really enjoyed learning about these technologies as well as the "fashion patterns" of modifications. Unfortunately I did find the discussions of the technology and science involved in modifications a bit too much at times. While it is accessible and not written like it is an academic paper written by an expert in the field, I found it sometimes to be excessive and detracting from the overall plot. I know this will come as no surprise given that I love a good backstory, but I do wish that there was some sort of worldbuilding in the way of how humanity got to this point in history. I would almost think that this is a different world if not for brief references to Earth and the cost of importing foods "out here." Did humanity branch out to the stars and spread across the universe? Do they live on planets or spaceships? Who are these companies really? A central theme of the book is body and gene modification, largely in part because Nika is one of our POVs. Her inner monologue often drifts to how she will fix things, both critical to health and cosmetic. Nika's obsession with modding (which appears to be kind of advanced cosmetic surgery that can completely change one's appearance as well as heal) can be overwhelming and inescapable. While it is fine to be really into your work, it was a bit difficult to read Nika's thoughts about people's imperfections and what she would fix if given the chance - from insinuating that red hair should be changed to trimming the fat from another character. This is a character-driven story and I adore each of them barring Nika, whose obsession with modding can be overwhelming and inescapable because she is one of our POVs. I cared more about the characters and the mess they were in than with Nika's near constant obsession with her profession. I would have like to see more character development as the story progressed, each of them are essentially the same as when they started on their adventure but with their backstories mostly exposed to the group (except for Snow, boo hiss!). I like my characters a little dark and twisty with a bit more conflict that just being chased by Bad Guys, but that didn't stop my overall enjoyment of the story. Reflecting a bit on the book to write this review, I do think that the writing was a bit repetitive at times and certain clues I feel like were hammered home. I love a good mystery but prefer to be have the clues be more subtle so that the reveal smacks me unexpected. I guessed what was being built up to about 50 pages before the characters figured it out, but I knew it was something along those lines well before I finally pieced it together. Overall this is an enjoyable space opera adventure with good pacing for a slow-building character driven story. There's conflict with The Big Bad, the sting of betrayal, the mystery of who each of the characters really are and unravelling what they are each running from/hiding. There are aspects of this book that remind me of Firefly: the ragtag team, space exploration, supply runs, and the love of an old ship with outdated features that save the day. To be honest, this would make an excellent movie or television show and something I would love to see adapted. The end is mostly wrapped up in a way that leaves it open for more stories with these characters and their found family, and I would love to see where they end up next.

I loved this story. The characters were great, the storyline intriguing and interesting, loved the dialogue, and the action keeps you on the edge of your seat. It has everything going for it, especially if you love space opera, gene engineering thrown in just to keep things interesting. The story flows so fast that you are finished with the book before you know it. I can't wait to read the next book in the series. I have found a new favorite author/authors.

S.K Dunstall is rapidly becoming one of my favorite authors in the SF Realm. I was looking for a continuation of the Linesman series, but was pleasantly surprised to discover a new world. One of gene engineering and corporate mafias. I burned through the book in a few days thriving on its action and subterfuge. My only regret is that it's over too soon. Looking forward to the next work from them. Write faster!

If you like space opera, you will find "Stars Uncharted" fun and fascinating. All the characters on board at The Hassim and The Road spaceships are all well rounded, including my favorite, Captain Hammond Rostand. The plot is easy to follow and full of action,and the reader is transported to a race to find a lost world. Definitively a good read for a Science Fiction fan.

I've always liked stories about spaceships and life in other planets, so I was obviously drawn to this book. Since the very beginning I was caught in the story, I wanted to continue reading to find out each character's mysterious past. Overall, I enjoyed the story a lot, specially when the stories get intertwined. My rating: 4 stars out of 5, because I DO want to know more about The Road's crew adventures.

Stars Uncharted reminded me of Firefly, Chris Wooding's Ketty Jay series, and even Star Wars: A New Hope. A motley crew full of secrets inadvertently steps into the middle of dangerous schemes run by powerful players who want them captured or killed. Probably killed. I really enjoyed reading the story from Josune's and Nika's perspectives. They're very different people, but they're both driven by an obsession, and they're both struggling to find their way after their lives are turned upside down and those obsessions have to take backseat to survival. I liked them both, but Nika was a real surprise. At first, she seemed too "special" and I was prepared to dislike her. But then she was so horrible and crazy and flawed in so many ways, it balanced out the specialness and made her a more interesting character. I liked the rest of the main cast too, and they helped balance out Josune and Nika's extremes. I saw a few twists coming, but overall I was in suspense. It's not non-stop action, but there is tension throughout and I was always curious enough to continue. Verdict: Stars Uncharted is a fun space adventure, and I'd like to see where these guys go next.

Awesome. This book has a Firefly feel of found family and scrapes that require blowing things up. There was just enough action throughout the story for it never to get slow. Also, enough character to building to feel invested. The end left felt satisfying but left enough loose threads for a series.

Nika Rik Terri runs a successful body-modification practice, where she heals people and changes their appearance if they need it. But she’s always looking over her shoulder, certain that her abusive ex-boyfriend will catch up to her and make her pay for leaving him. Then it happens, and she’s on the run again. This time she finds herself aboard a spaceship that’s targeted by everyone in space. Josune Arriola has been aboard the ship The Road as a spy, more or less, for the ship Hassim. She’s looking for information about Goberling’s Lode. Rumor has it that Goberling had found a huge haul of transurides—a very valuable commodity in space. And she’s certain the captain, Hammond Roystan knows where it is. When the crew of the Hassim is brutally murdered, Josune joins forces with Roystan and tries to outrun those who are chasing them. Enemies who will do anything do get their hands on information only the Hassim carried, which now belongs to Roystan. Hammond Roystan has a secret, a very big secret, but his loyalty lies with those who fight by his side, and he’s a fair and just man. With the help of Nika Rik Terri, Josune Arriola, and his crew, he stays ahead of his enemies as they look for treasures beyond imaginable. But for how long? I’m not crazy about space adventures, but I enjoyed Stars Uncharted. In fact, I had a hard time putting it down once I started it. Usually, the characters in a space adventure come off as cold and unlikeable, but these characters all had warmth and endearing traits that you can’t help but admire. The plot is solid and interesting, immediately pulling you into a web of secrets. With moments of hold-your-breath suspense and intrigue, set against a mystery that crosses space, Stars Uncharted is a delectable read worthy of a stay-up-all-nighter.

I was relatively excited for Stars Uncharted by S.K. Dunstall. It sounded like a fascinating story with interesting characters. I gave this one the first hundred pages and it quickly became apparent that Stars Uncharted wasn’t for me. There wasn’t anything inherently wrong with it. The writing was good, but I didn’t connect with the story and kept setting the book aside. This copy of the book was provided by first to read for this review, thank you!

2/5 starts: I'm a big fan of sci-fi movies and shows and yet, I don't why, I typically don't pick up sci-fi books so I was really excited to read this one, but unfortunately it wasn't for me. This book follows two main female characters which I actually really liked. Their stories were well thought out and complex but I didn't connect much with them. I felt no real emotions while reading their stories and I think that was actually my main problem with this book: it just didn't make me feel anything. I wasn't nervous while reading it, or happy, or sad. I didn't dislike the characters but I also wasn't actively rooting for them. The best thing about this book was definitely the world-building explanations. The first couple of chapters were confusing because of the names of professions, worlds, materials... But the authors did a very good job of explaining things as they were introduced and that was at least something to be very grateful for. But apart from that there wasn't much else I liked. I was confused at times by the use of time/temperature/measurements because they mention Earth as a planet of course but the story is not set on Earth so how and why are these constructs that are entirely self-fabricated by humans and not real used by other civilizations/worlds that are much more technologically advanced? Especially the time thing because our time is really something that only makes sense while on Earth because of its rotation so... I don't know maybe I'm looking way too much into things. My main two issues with this book were the casual transphobia and fatphobia that are spread throughout the book. It's not something big but it was something that really bugged me especially because in the case of the transphobia I don't really think the authors were even aware that their writing was being transphobic. (Disclaimer: I am a cis woman so my opinion on this issue is not the be all end all and I'm sorry if my opinion may also have some problems.) There are a couple times throughout the book when, talking about the work of modders (professionals that modify people's appearance throughout working on their genes and their molecule-structure) they mention having changed people's "sexes" and they way they do so was pretty offensive in my opinion. There are sentences like "she was formerly male" or "he'd once been a she" that felt pretty terrible and made me very uncomfortable. And in the case of transphobia it was a pretty similar thing were one of the main female characters that was a modder kept thinking that if she had a chance to "modify" someone or like work on them that she'd make them look thinner and she even thinks of a fat man as someone who is obviously "fond of his food" (pg 143) in a very demeaning way. I'm also sad because I thought this book also had a lot of potential on the "found families" department (one of my favorite tropes of all time) and I only could glimpse it towards the end and I think that had it been a thing more towards the middle of the story I could have perhaps enjoyed the story more. I was initially going to give this story a 2.5 stars but then by the middle of it I figured out what the "plot twist" of the story was going to be and I swore to myself that if I had it figured out I would take out half a star out of the rating because it was just too easy and predictable and sure enough, it was. Overall I just wasn't very attracted and engaged by the overarching plot of the book. It was supposed to read as a fast-paced story and every single chapter there were things happening but I felt like every single one of these things didn't move the story along. It was always "we have to escape, we encounter someone who is attacking us, we escape, and repeat again". I'm saddened I couldn't enjoy this story more but it has at least given me the desire to reach towards more sci-fi books to find ones I can love.

Stars Uncharted is a science fiction story set in a world filled with body modification machines, all-powerful corporations, and some intrepid explorers. When a body mod on the run joins forces with an explorer on the run, they become a ragtag band of adventurers trying to stay one step ahead of their foes. A decent read, but not spectacular.

I really love this book! It is a good fun read. It was hard to put it down. It has plenty of action, crazy characters that at minimum make you smile. The bad guys are bad, not all, and good ones are a good mix of everything, one of them a saint. I like the story is told from the point of view of two females, with totally different backgrounds. The males in the story are important to the plot, but don't take over. There is science and it is clearly explained. Plenty of fiction, and plenty of space. And Earth is not important to the plot, there are no aliens either.

I am a huge fan now! I could hardly put the book down and was sad to see it end. You will be endeared to the crew that ends up together and looking forward to more of their future endeavors. I am really impressed with the Australian sister's (S.K. Dunstall) style of writing, character development and imagination, it all came together perfectly with just the right touch of horrific bad guys to boot! What an adventure! oooh, and maybe next time we can get some of Jacques' recipes like his famous Cinnamon Buns but just not the recipes he specialized for Roystan.

The book seemed an interesting combination of 2 stories from the same universe which eventually made sense. Unfortunately, Digital Editions lost my bookmark and I couldn't find my place somewhere around the middle of the book. I did read the end tho and can safely say it's worth it. The book has good spelling and grammar and the formatting was easy to read. Technology was explained well and was quite interesting as well.

This review unfortunately is not a review. I tried to get my copy of the book, read the instructions and downloaded the URL. However, I could never get the book to load into Digital Editions. I tried it several times and eventually gave up. I have received galleys before that have worked just fine, but this one I could no load. I've really sorry, I was looking forward to reading the book.

A fun and fast book that is great for summer reading. The characters are an eclectic bunch thrown together by circumstances and end up bonding through some harrowing and exciting adventures. The tech processes were peppered throughout, but that is the gist of science fiction. Caught onto the main twists in character reveals, but great fun for the end to find out. The main characters are fleshed out, but the heavies were pretty standard bad guys, great for this type of fare. Snow was a favorite with his hero worship and the twist for him in the ending with his fellow runaway. Recommend.

 


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