Science Fiction Young Adult

SPSFC2 Semifinalist Review: Dim Stars by Brian P. Rubin

As the semifinalist round of the 2023 SPSFC comes to a close, here is another full review from me. If you haven’t been following along, I’m a member of team At Boundary’s Edge and have been posting my individual reviews and scores. These opinions are mine alone and don’t reflect those of the team nor anyone else in the competition. Anyway, let’s look at the book and then you can see my 5th review out of six to come before the end of April!

Bookish Quick Facts:
  • Title: Dim Stars
  • Series: N/A
  • Author: Brian P. Rubin
  • Release: Self Published, 2020
  • Length: 353 pages
  • SPSFC Rating: 7.5/10
here’s the synopsis via Am*zon:

Kenzie Washington, fourteen-year-old girl genius, signs up for a two-week tour as a cadet on the spaceship of her idol, Captain Dash Drake. Too bad Dash, who once saved the galaxy from the evil Forgers, is a broke loser and much less than meets the eye. But when an intergalactic evil appears and launches an attack, Dash, Kenzie, and the ship’s crew escape, making them the next target. On the run and low on gas, Dash and Kenzie encounter cannibal space-pirates, catastrophic equipment failure, and a cyborg who’s kind of a jerk. Kenzie is determined to discover the bad guys’ secret plan. But for her to succeed, Dash needs to keep his brilliant, annoying cadet from getting killed …which is a lot harder than it sounds.

My thoughts:

Dim Stars: A Novel of Outer-Space Shenanigans is full of humor and, yes,  shenanigans. There’s an octopus first mate and a 14 year old super hacker genius girl who saves the day. A pasta obsessed commander. A captain who’s kind of an idiot. A snarky robot ship doctor. These are just some of the characters you’ll meet and together they make a mildly exasperating crew.

I think Dim Stars is totally appropriate for middle grade or younger teens. I mostly found it silly but there are good themes for teens.  What do you do when your hero isn’t actually that heroic? Believe in yourself. Make the best out of, and do your best in every situation.  Be brave. I would hand this off to a middle grader for sure.

Plot wise Dim Stars definitely wasn’t slow or boring.  There’s a plot to steal planets and wreak havoc in the galaxy. There’s a cranky not-heroic-at-all captain who’s heart grows about three sizes as he admits he has responsibility to the galaxy and his crew. 

And…an octopus. I already said that but come on, there’s an octopus crew member. I love when alien biology and different races comes into the plot.  There’s a hilarious exchange where one alien thinks the octopus is a human and says they all look alike 🤣

Anyway, I don’t have a ton to say about the book but again, I like it for the recommended age group. I think he hit all the boxes for YA and am coming in at 7.5 to indicate a fairly strong book.

Thanks for checking out my book review of Dim Stars by Brian P Rubin. I found my copy through Kindle Unlimited and as always, all opinions are my own 🚀 Stay tuned for one final SPSFC2 Semifinalist Review as we wrap up this month!

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