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I don't review books I don't like!

*****= An all-time favorite
****  = Outstanding
***    = Above average
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*        = Good, with reservations


*****Children of the Star Trilogy

by Sylvia Louise Engdahl

Reviewed February 17, 2003.
Meisha Merlin Publishing, Atlanta, Georgia, 2000.  721 pages. 
This Star Shall Abide was originally published in 1972.
Beyond the Tomorrow Mountains was originally published in 1973.
The Doors of the Universe was originally published in 1981.
A Sonderbooks’ Stand-out of 2003:  #1, Science Fiction and Fantasy

Children of the Star is a one-volume collection of the three books This Star Shall Abide, Beyond the Tomorrow Mountains, and The Doors of the Universe.  When I read the first book, I loved it, and already wrote a glowing review.

I can’t say too much about the last two books, because the plot builds, and I don’t want to give away the ending of the first book.  They are science fiction, and like the best science fiction, they explore intriguing ideas.  However, she also includes the personal element and makes you care deeply about Noren and the future of his planet.

I didn’t like the second book as much as the first.  I didn’t quite buy into Noren’s motivation for some of his actions.  The book does talk about ideas, in an other-worldly setting.  In this book, she talked about faith.  It seemed to imply that faith is when you just believe in something regardless of the facts.  I disagree with that idea.  I think that faith should be based on factual evidence.  (For example, I am a Christian because there is historical evidence that a person named Jesus existed and did, in fact, rise from the dead.  His followers would never have suffered martyrdom if they were not the eyewitnesses to his resurrection that they claimed to be.)  In Noren’s situation in the second book, he was trying to have faith when there was no factual basis for faith, and it didn’t work very well.

However, in Book Three, Sylvia Louise Engdahl devises an ingenious way for Noren to regain his faith that their planet can survive.  She confesses in the Afterword that she didn’t think there was any solution for Noren and his people.  Then technology of the times gave her an idea, and it all comes together beautifully.  The Doors of the Universe is a riveting book.  I enjoyed it so much that I will probably read it again in the next month or two, just to experience it again.

These books explore big ideas about mankind and faith and survival.  They also tell a wonderful story of a young man trying to save his people and trying to live for Truth.

These books are really for adults and older teenagers.  The author states that she doesn’t think they ever really found their audience because the first book showed Noren as a young adult, so all three books were placed in young adult sections of libraries, even though the third book deals with Noren as an adult.  This is why I reviewed the first book as Young Adult Fiction, but am reviewing the trilogy as Fiction.

I highly recommend this trilogy for anyone who likes science fiction even a little bit.

Other reviews of books by Sylvia Louise Engdahl:
This Star Shall Abide
Defender of the Flame
Enchantress From the Stars
Enchantress From the Stars
The Far Side of Evil
Journey Between Worlds

Copyright © 2003 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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