The Brighter the Stars

The Brighter the Stars
Publisher Name
CamCat Publishing
Age Range
Release Date
November 10, 2020
Earth crashed into interstellar politics as a lightweight, lagging so far behind other planetary weapons systems everyone feared they wouldn’t survive first contact with other worlds without quick action. By 2185, Earth had united itself into five geographic sectors and developed a defense system powerful enough to keep aggressors at bay—for now, at least. Jake Saunders became a Legion soldier to honor the memory of his war hero uncle, who was brutally murdered in front of him when he was still a young teen. Fast forward a few years, and Jake and his best friend Cal have been tasked with escorting Cal’s older sister Diane to become Earth’s ambassador on a far-off planet. It’s the opportunity of Diane’s career, very likely a lifetime post. But for Jake, that could mean a lifetime’s heartbreak. He has loved Diane since they were kids, and every step closer to that ambassador assignment is a step closer to goodbye. But somebody is after more than Earth’s defense, and Jake, Cal, and Diane are on a trajectory to crash headlong into that dangerous plot. Somebody wants to play Earth against its most immediate threat, Craton, and convince both to develop super weapons—and he’s working with the person who killed Jake’s uncle all those years ago. When he reappears on Jake, Cal, and Diane’s journey to the ambassadorship, Jake is faced with difficult choices to look out for his friends and honor his uncle’s memory. 

Editor review

1 review
A fun, fast-paced Space Western
(Updated: December 28, 2023)
Overall rating
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The "Brighter the Stars" by Bryan Prosek is a delightful ‘space western’ that offers an exhilarating and brisk read. This inaugural installment in Bryan Prosek’s "Earth United" duology explores a future in which Earth tries to maintain the delicate peace among the diverse sentient species scattered throughout the galaxy. Of critical import is the equitable distribution of hilaetite, a rare resource needed by all galactic residents to power both weapons and medicines.

When a large hilaetite deposit is discovered in secret, Earth’s leaders are faced with trying to balance their ideological virtues against the realpolitik of the galaxy. Legion soldiers and long-time friends Jack and Cal find themselves ensnared in a web of conspiracy as powerful forces wrestle for control of the precious resource.

At just shy of 250 pages (Hardcover edition), this story is a refreshingly quick read. The length makes it longer than a novella, but very short compared to a typical novel – particularly in the Sci-Fi genre. I personally was a fan of this length as it allowed me to consume the book in a single evening over several hours, and I’d like to see more works of this length. Fast-paced and fun, this book would be perfect to enjoy on a flight or a relaxing night at home.

I was impressed with the world-building Prosek was able to accomplish in a book of this length. Considerable thought was clearly given to the politics, peoples, and technologies for the "Earth United" series. Sci-Fi books often reveal their worlds to readers rather slowly, but "The Brighter the Stars" is straightforward and direct as it relates the history and background that sets up the story. This was a positive in my opinion, as it allowed more focus on the present story arc. The one element that suffered from this approach was the development of romantic relationship between Diane and Jack. The book wasn’t quite long enough to fully delve into this love story, as there simply wasn’t enough space for more scenes in which Jack and Diane interact. Even so, this didn’t lessen my enjoyment of the book, and I suspect the sequel, "The Darker the Skies", will have more time to explore this romance.

I highly recommend Bryan Prosek’s "The Brighter the Stars" to any Sci-Fi fan interested in a fun, quick read, and I eagerly anticipate diving into the next chapter of the "Earth United" series and further exploring its intriguing universe.
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