REVIEW: The Stark Divide – J. Scott Coatsworth

The Stark Divide Book Cover The Stark Divide
Liminal Sky: The Ariadne Cycle Book 1
J. Scott Coatsworth
Science Fiction, Fantasy, LGBT
Other Worlds Ink
July 10, 2020

Some stories are epic.

The Earth is in a state of collapse, with wars breaking out over resources and an environment pushed to the edge by human greed.

Three living generation ships have been built with a combination of genetic mastery, artificial intelligence, technology, and raw materials harvested from the asteroid belt. This is the story of one of them—43 Ariadne, or Forever, as her inhabitants call her—a living world that carries the remaining hopes of humanity, and the three generations of scientists, engineers, and explorers working to colonize her.

From her humble beginnings as a seedling saved from disaster to the start of her journey across the void of space toward a new home for the human race, The Stark Divide tells the tales of the world, the people who made her, and the few who will become something altogether beyond human.

Humankind has just taken its first step toward the stars.

Reviewed by Xanthe

Member pf the Paranormal Romance Guild Review Team

This was something very different for me to read and I really enjoyed it. It took a chapter or so to draw me in but the way in which the author has written the POV’s brings you right into the story from three different people’s perspectives along with their own thoughts and dramas. That’s not even including the creation of a new world for humanity to escape to as earth clicks on self destruction with war and extreme climate change.

There is a lot going on across three parts that the book is split into and though it’s with different characters each time, it follows a story arc and keeps you thinking as to what is going to happen to the characters themselves but also to the world that they are striving to create for humans to be able to live on permanently. The Stark Divide is split into three sections, each set in a different time period with characters that are important to the future of 43 Ariadne.

Part one – Seedling 2135AD – tells the story of a three man crew transporting a seed been built/grown to enable a world to be created. Part two – Colony 2145AD – We see how far 43 Ariadne has come in building a sustainable and livable world for humans whilst we reunite two characters and meet the son of another. Part three – Refugee 2165AD – Slightly different as we follow two men on their escape from earth to 43 Ariandne and see how the new world is coping with the influx of people from a rapidly declining earth with help from the original captain and the daughter of the new one.

It makes for hard reading as the author writes the troubles that earth is having and rather than it being fantasy and out of the realm of possibility, it’s something that I can completely imagining being in the future of our planet. Wars, to try and gain control of reduced resources, floods due to higher sea levels, crazy weather across the globe. It all leads to the invention of a combination of genetic mastery, artificial intelligence, technology, and raw materials harvested from the asteroid belt. They are basically a living ship that humans can interact with whilst the AI is working to keep everything growing, flowing and in working order. We occasionally get to read from the POV of the AI and it’s interesting to read the way they think of themselves in relation to their role and place within the system and what they can grow to be.

There is a great mix of characters that we meet across the book. Captain Colin McAvery is the ship captain who is the only character we hear from in all three sections. His journey is full of drama, challenges but also hope as he helps to build this new world that is the hope for a lot of people. I think it’s fitting that we have at least one person who is there from the start of trying to build this new home that, hopefully, will one day be a safe place from people to relocate to from earth. It means we get to read the struggles that they face but also the possibilities and things that they have been able to do from the moment the seed is transported to its new home in the Void.

Three characters we have are related and three generations of the same family. Part one is Jackson Hammond, two is Aaron and three is Andy. Their physical abilities are amazing as they develop a connection with the AI and technology that is integrated with the biological matter that makes up 43 Ariadne.

This is classed as an LGBT book and whilst we have two men in a relationship and a trans man comes into the story in Part three, I wouldn’t class this as a romance. The community is represented well and as we only hear from three or four characters per part, I think it would be a misrepresentation to have just LGBTQIA+ characters as the leads. Absolutely having more in the community would be a huge plus and as the series goes on, definitely introduce more characters who have different genders, religions, orientations, abilities etc.

It’s exciting to think of where this series could go, especially with how the book ended. There is absolutely hope for those that are living on 43 Ariadne though they will all have to think about the challenges that they face at the moment. There is also a little bit of fear for what one or two characters may be capable of in what they want to do for themselves and not the future of those on the world.

Leave a Comment