Adrienne Martini Reviews Sisters of the Forsaken Stars by Lina Rather

Sisters of the Forsaken Stars, Lina Rather (Tordotcom 978-1-250-78214-4, $16.99, 192pp, tp) February 2022.

The events in Sisters of the Vast Black, Lina Rather’s first novella in her ‘‘space nuns’’ series, have caught up with said space nuns in Sisters of the Forsaken Stars, at least those who remain in the Order of Saint Rita. The Central Governance, which sprung from Old Earth and intends to rule across the four solar systems in Rather’s world, is aware of how this order thwarted the Central Governance’s plans for dominance over a colony world. In Sisters of the Forsaken Stars, the sisters now need to figure out if they want to lead the revolution that feels like its kicking off, or high-tail it to someplace safe. But, increasingly, it looks like there is no safety to be found.

Rather’s world – one where humans grow living spaceships around engineered materials and the Catholic Church funds missions across galaxies – is an interesting one. While the first story felt murky and not-quite fleshed out, in this installment, the supporting characters like Sister Ewostatewos are given backstories and agency. This story also makes it clear that these Sisters would deeply prefer to not get involved in interstellar politics and aren’t just rebels for the sake of rebellion. Their path to wanting to fight the powers-that-be is a long, slow burn.

Some stories lend themselves well to longer short fiction, mind, but there’s so much to explore in Rather’s world that these two stories could have made a rich novel, especially if there is another novella-or-longer lurking in the pipeline. Of course, it’s great to spend time with these Sisters in whatever form Rather prefers, but it would be interesting to see what she could do if she had the desire to really fall into the path she’s making for the Order of Saint Rita, and where the boundaries might be.

Adrienne Martini has been reading or writing about science fiction for decades and has had two non-fiction, non-genre books published by Simon and Schuster. She lives in Upstate New York with one husband, two kids, and one corgi. She also runs a lot.

This review and more like it in the February 2022 issue of Locus.

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One thought on “Adrienne Martini Reviews Sisters of the Forsaken Stars by Lina Rather

  • March 26, 2022 at 10:10 am

    I enjoyed the first one and have this one on my TBR. I’m glad to hear its even stronger than the first.

    Being raised protestant makes the “Nun” part of the “Space Nun” about as out there as the “Space” part.


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