Dim Stars by Brian P Rubin: Review

This debut story by Brian P Rubin is a wonderful entry into the ever-growing popular genre, space opera. A story that has lovable characters, friendships, a talking octopus, a vengeful cyborg and of course, saving the galaxy.

Some information about this book:

  • Release date: October 20th 2020
  • Published by: Self published
  • Pages: 336
  • Genre: Sci-fi
  • Series: Outer-Space Shenanigans #1 (Or a standalone story currently)


Kenzie Washington, fourteen-year-old girl genius, signs up for a two-week tour as a cadet on the spaceship of her idol, Captain Dash Drake. Too bad Dash, who once saved the galaxy from the evil Forgers, is a broke loser and much less than meets the eye.

But when an intergalactic evil appears and launches an attack, Dash, Kenzie, and the ship’s crew escape, making them the next target. On the run and low on gas, Dash and Kenzie encounter cannibal space-pirates, catastrophic equipment failure, and a cyborg who’s kind of a jerk.

Kenzie is determined to discover the bad guys’ secret plan. But for her to succeed, Dash needs to keep his brilliant, annoying cadet from getting killed …which is a lot harder than it sounds.

Book Cover

Firstly this is my stop on the Storytellers on Tour (SoT) event for Dim Stars and you should check them out on Twitter following that link because they’re good people and lots of others will also be reading/reviewing Dim Stars. Secondly, while I did get a free eBook from SoT I had actually purchased a paperback copy of this book earlier this year when I stumbled across Brian on Twitter.

The magic of reading self published books is that you are helping a writer who is out there on their own, fighting the good fight and you never know what you’re going to get. You might get something that is not very well put together or you might get something that is amazing and really should be published with a publishing house, like this story here.

Dim Stars follows the story of fourteen year old Kenzie Washington. A girl who signs up for a two week tour with her hero Captain Dash Drake. Only once she gets into the two week tour she realises why people say you should never meet your heroes… chased across the galaxy by a murderous enemy, with a bumbling idiot for a captain and some weird and wonderful crew mates, Kenzie has to rely on her smarts to survive and help her hero save the galaxy from impending doom (and himself).

“You should’ve listened to your captain, kid,” he said. Then he turned to Dash. “And you should’ve shot me when you had the chance.”

This is a space opera story so if you have enjoyed Becky Chamber’s Wayfarer series then you need to read Dim Stars. This has slightly more comedy and more danger but is equally fun.

Brian has created a wonderful story here with characters who feel real. Kenzie is a young black girl with hopes of following in her hero’s footsteps and Dash Drake is a cowardly white man with hopes of making it somewhere. The two of them go well together and the shift between Kenzie and Drake is well written so that as Kenzie becomes more self sufficient, she takes over the leadership role subliminally which reads super natural on paper.

The other characters form the crew from Squix the octopus to Vor and Jo, other recruits to Doctor Bill who is a talking computer, Twince who is a menacing cyborg and more. They are all well written with their own personalities which can’t be easy when writing characters in like an octopus and a cyborg but Brian does a stellar job.

The worldbuilding is well put together and gives the feeling of space without overloading your brain with planets and star systems. There are different factions, an overarching plot to end the galaxy as our heroes know it and a bit of mystery as the heroes try to unravel what is actually happening.

“Sometimes you just have to blow stuff up,” she said. “Washington, page one.”

Brian has written a good story here with everything coming together nicely by the end of the book. There are no loose ends except for the one that is explored at the end – this could lead to a sequel so fingers crossed because I absolutely loved this story.

Rating 5/5 – Dim Stars is an exciting sci-fi space opera story perfect for sci-fi fans everywhere. The characters feel open and warm, their relationships with each other real and emotional. The worldbuilding is exciting and the ship is a location on its own within the universe. The whole story is a page turner which feels like it has been written by someone with a lot more writing experience. You will not be taking a gamble if you choose to pick up this brilliant space opera.

If you like science fiction and fantasy books then consider joining The Oasis Discord here – it’s free and has a great community, buddy reads, community reads and much more!

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