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Stars Uncharted  By  cover art

Stars Uncharted

By: S. K. Dunstall
Narrated by: Emily Woo Zeller
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Publisher's summary

In this rip-roaring space opera, a ragtag band of explorers are out to make the biggest score in the galaxy.

On this space jump, no one is who they seem....

Captain Hammond Roystan is a simple cargo runner who has stumbled across the find of a lifetime: the Hassim, a disabled exploration ship - and its valuable record of unexplored worlds.

His junior engineer, Josune Arriola, said her last assignment was in the uncharted rim. But she is decked out in high-level bioware that belies her humble backstory.

A renowned body-modification artist, Nika Rik Terri has run afoul of clients who will not take no for an answer. She has to flee off-world, and she is dragging along a rookie modder, who seems all too experienced in weapons and war....

Together this mismatched crew will end up on one ship, hurtling through the lawless reaches of deep space with Roystan at the helm. Trailed by nefarious company men, they will race to find the most famous lost world of all - and riches beyond their wildest dreams....

©2018 S. K. Dunstall (P)2018 Penguin Audio

Critic reviews

"A fun adventure novel with an irresistible ragtag crew." (The Washington Post)

"An absorbing space opera, in the tradition of The Expanse and The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet." (Charles Stross, award-winning author of The Delirium Brief

"[A] brilliant female-driven tale...Readers of Asimov, Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan saga, or Anne McCaffey's Pern series will enjoy this story." (Booklist, starred review) 

What listeners say about Stars Uncharted

Average customer ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Slow start but great ending

I enjoyed Stars Uncharted and hope there's a sequel. But, for me, it had a rough beginning. The story begins with Nika and a long extremely detailed description of body modding including all the different ingredients and equipment and how and when they're used. If I hadn't loved the Linesman series so much I might have quit listening. I'm glad I didn't because as soon as the story got to the starship and Josune and Captain Roystan were introduced I was hooked. The character development was great. I did like Nika, the other body modder and the rest of the crew. Their backstories were well developed and interesting. The action and intensity just kept building to a very satisfying conclusion.

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27 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Hoping for more set in this universe!

Stars Uncharted carefully balances the crafting of an original universe while keeping the action fast paced.

One of the aspects I really enjoyed was how S. K. Dunstall wove a universe in which technology and space exploration were relatively advanced, but also left the plot with plenty of potential paths it could take. I found myself licking my mental chops with anticipation to see which direction things would go in.

I also appreciated how, despite the sci-fi scenario, the action was consistent and fast paced.

In terms of hard science, this isn't it, but the concepts were intriguing enough in their own right that this barely registered. In terms of short-commings, there were two places where I thought the story could have been trimmed down slightly. Also, you'll probably be able to guess how the main segments will come together pretty early on. Even having said that, I thoroughly enjoyed this audiobook, and really hope that we get either a sequel or another one set in this universe.

If you've enjoyed S. K. Dunstall's previous work, then this is a safe bet!

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17 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Well-Delivered Character-Focused On-The-Run Story

I wanted to leave a positive review because this story was really satisfying. I liked the characters, though I did not identify well with any of them, except maybe Jacque. I liked the balance between action, character interaction, descriptions of the universe, and the imaginative problems they encountered that tied the characters together. The pace was smooth and comfortable, making this one of those books that you wonder how it reached the end so fast despite the book being 13 hours long. The book felt like it should have been no longer nor any shorter. More details follow.

The characters are the main strength of Starts Uncharted. The author, Dunstall, does a very good job making them believable as people inside the frame of this universe and the challenges they encounter, while also making them shine as unique and spectacular within their element. The main protagonists are Jo Sun and Nika. Jo Sun is a combat-experienced space explorer/engineer, and Nika is a "body modder", which is a genetics specialist whose expertise is using specialized equipment to change the bodies of people for cosmetic, medical, or other reasons. The characters are both strong in their own way, and also female, but not in the way of the overdone "strong female character" that puts a macho man's brain into a female body (though Jo Sun comes close at one point). The other characters are also mostly believable, although more of their respective mysteries remain at the end of the story.

The story included descriptions of some graphic events, and thankfully leaves gory details up to the listener's imagination, rather than spelling out just how far the blood sprayed or how many times a body shuddered under the sparker's bolt, or how bad an interrogation was, etc. The tension cycle of the story was well-managed; the book included relaxed and/or humorous events in addition to tense or high-action events. Technical description was good enough to sell the story and explain what was going on, and the result was an almost believable possible future universe, as long as one did not look too closely.

The narration was very good, I thought. I did not have any trouble figuring out who was talking, and also did not notice any aspects that I did not appreciate. The speed of speech was good and the dialogue sounded natural. The voice actor did treat screaming/shouting very mildly, but that is not a big enough deal to take a star off.

It is hard to describe other reasons why, but this story was really satisfying. I would definitely take a look at other books by this author. The audiobook experience of Stars Uncharted as a whole felt smooth and polished.

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13 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Empty Circle

This story went literally no where. The locations were flat and almost identical. Was this story about body moding or treasure hunting? The characters one trait obsessing was terribly annoying. The narrator did not have the vocal range to narrate multiple characters. The book was not fulfilling.

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10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Pretty Good

It has a Firefly as written by Jane Austin kind of vibe. The story was good - classic band of urchins on the run from the evil corporation trope - but the narration was irritating. Way overacted. And why all the unnecessary ethnic voices? "Carlos" particularly grated. It discredited the already cutesy-in-places story. I would have preferred this book if I had read the hard copy.

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10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Too much drama, too little story :-(

I was skipping two chapters at a time, few elements of the story changed in the skips. The book is a long and slow chase where the protagonists get to have darker and darker days.

Characters well built, but they take way too much space.

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8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Phenomenal story, frankly, lousy narration

I counld not stop listening to this book, despite the droning, half whispering narration. The story, and characters are exceptionally crafted. I can not wait for the sequel!
(with a different narrator)

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7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Far short of the Linesman series

Having enjoyed all three books in the "Linesman" series immensely, I was really looking forward to this book. "Linesman" drew me into its world and its characters immediately. This book was a huge disappointment - I did not bother to finish it. S.K. Dunstall is a two person writing team and perhaps they traded roles for this novel. I only hope they will write more in the Linesman series or go back to that winning formula again.

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4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

falls short of Linesman

When I found a new book by the author of Linesman I bought it right away but I could only get about two hours in before dropping the whole book.

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3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Flawed but not terrible

This one was just okay. The story was full of inconsistent and suspect technology, and the plot was kind of incomprehensible. It had good moments but then it also had parts that had me aching to fast forward. The narration also had issues, primarily stemming from a general tone that was whisper-quiet and hard to hear, which then became much too loud during dialogue or "exciting parts."

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2 people found this helpful