The Lost Star episode one by Odette. C. Bell book review
Decent prose, characters, and pacing. I very much enjoyed the concept of the ship being a deathtrap and it was well utilized throughout the story. I also enjoyed Ava as a character, but some of her motivations lacked explanation; the core root of her character being someone who wants to avoid responsibility is effective and relatable to some extent, but it never gets explored either to explain it’s origin or to meaningfully differentiate it from laziness. The narrative implies that it comes more from a place of fear than laziness, which is what makes it an appealing trait for her to have. But she also overcomes it at the end of book for a poorly constructed reason: no trial, no experience, nothing tangible, she more or less just does.
Hunter as a the secondary main character is difficult to like; he is given several dislikable traits and scenes throughout the course of the book, but fails to display his positive qualities to the reader. Most of those positive qualities as exposited by another character to Hunter in mental dialogue. He also comes across as more incompetent than not, with several failures over the first half of the book (in a variety of situations) and only a couple half successes in the second half. This is in contrast to Ava who overcomes several situational challenges with creative solutions despite significant physical impediments (which are generally well employed throughout the book, but do take a step back when the plots needs them to, such as when she walks to a med bay alone after suffering significant blood loss.) Hunter is not entirely bereft of good moments, they’re just small in comparison to his negative ones.
The world/galaxy building is good and manifests in the story in heritage, items, history, and plot elements. As said above, the plot is generally pretty good but it does reuse the same plot point once (which wouldn’t be an issue except it’s a decently meaningful plot point.)
The secondary characters are decent but not much time is devoted to them. The main romance is poorly handled; it doesn’t actually progress to romance but the seeds are evidently present in both characters, it’s just those seeds aren’t from any meaningful, non-plot related interactions.