The Blue, Beautiful World

A Novel

256 pages

English language

Published June 8, 2023 by Random House Worlds, Del Rey.

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2 stars (4 reviews)

As first contact transforms Earth, a team of gifted visionaries race to create a new future in this wondrous science fiction novel from the award-winning author of The Best of All Possible Worlds.

2 editions

The Blue, Beautiful World

2 stars

This book just... didn't work for me.

A good part of the book is sort of a Agent to the Stars meets Ender's Game setup where a group of student diplomats doing a first contact training exercise turn out to be working on a real scenario. It's also about the pop star Owen, who is secretly an empath(?) alien trying to bring the world together, for reasons.

My grumps here are mostly that the characters were flat and universally good-natured, and most of the action proceeded by telling via dialogue instead of showing, and the combination of this left most of the book feeling quite dry. What little tension and politics existed seemed to happen off page and in a not particularly threatening manner.

One minor example of all of this is that Owen is admonished quite a bit to be "glue not god" with his powers, and there's a …

A complex first contact story

No rating

Owen appears to be a beloved pop star with a number of interests—from football teams to virtual reality. As he tours the world enchanting audiences, he is also putting together a team that will help deal with a new reality: one in which the Earth is not alone in the universe.

The Blue, Beautiful World goes well beyond most stories of first contact. The people on Owen’s team encounter not one civilization, but many, with histories, government and allegiances as complex as any culture found on Earth. Navigating Earth’s entry into this galactic community is anything but simple. Even Earth itself is not as straightforward as many had assumed, with a civilization hidden in the depths of the ocean.

I was engaged from the beginning and would love to return to this world that Karen Lord has created.

Review of 'The Blue, Beautiful World' on 'Goodreads'

No rating

No rating since I’m DNFing.

I didn’t realize when I picked this up that it’s connected to the Best of All Possible Worlds and The Galaxy Game. I read the first one and gave it 3.5 stars, but I never read The Galaxy Game. Since I liked Best of All Possible Worlds okay, I thought I’d give Lord another try, but I felt very disengaged here. There’s something cozy about it which I think will appeal to some readers, but not as much me.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC.

avatar for bobkopp

rated it

3 stars