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For fans of Lower Decks, the Expanse, and a found family time travel adventure with humor, snark, and lots of heart.

One kickass immortal sailship captain.

Captain Karenna Yilmaz of the Earth Union Fleet has it all. Adoring husband? Check. The enduring loyalty of her crew? Check. Transformation into a beautiful ageless immortal? Check. Check. Check. But when a dimensional rift brings her low-down, dust-sniffing, no-good younger self hurtling into the present, Karenna’s carefully-constructed life wavers.

One snarky dust-addicted loser.

Flight Officer Ren Yilmaz is pretty sick of the hand she’s been dealt. Her supervisor is an idiot. Her ex-husband is vindictive and has ruined her career. And now, here’s her perfect future self, who everyone fawns over, while Ren is still ignored and alone.

They’re the same person, 60 years apart

Both their ships are one in space, one in time. Karenna needs to get her crew home safe and sound. And Ren has to get back to her reality and out of Karenna’s shadow. Working together would mean literally facing their past–including old traumas and transgressions best kept hidden. But if they don’t, they’ll be stuck with each other until the end of time.


Book Information

  • Title: Ancient as the Stars
  • Series: Standalone
  • Author: Maya Darjani
  • Page Count: 399
  • Genre: Science Fiction
  • Rating: 4.5/5.0
  • Date Read: May 26th, 2024

Opening Thoughts

A week or two into the month of May I noticed mention on Goodreads of the Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month and though there were certainly plenty of exampled provided on that Goodreads article and that my TBR was already jammed pack, I went to Twitter/X looking for recommendations of authors that fit into this celebration but on an Indie or Self Publish side of things. I also had several great recommendations including a couple that I’ve already read and enjoyed. The book I ended up going with was Ancient as the Stars which was mentioned by the author Maya Darjani. Though she attempted to be humble and hesitant to mention her own book, I had no issue with that practice.

Before I get into my usual topics, I wanted to mention that Maya and her works are new to me and I’m very glad that she seen my post and mentioned her book because I really enjoyed it. Things were going good for the first 75% of the read but at that point it got really good and I had trouble putting it down for that last quarter. I would love to see more from this world and these characters. I also believe this was her first officially published book which also gives me great hope that we will have plenty more enjoyable reads to come from this author.


The pacing was done really well. I thought we might have some sticky situations with timelines early on but once things happen, they mostly stay in current times other than just some flashbacks or memories of things. No issue with character names or places either. This book just seemed to flow really well for me and for that reason, it did seem slightly fast paced but I think that could be due to my enjoyment of the read as well as it being on the shorter side of page count compared to several of my more recent reads. I also didn’t notice much in the way of editing issues with typos either which meant this read came off as being very polished to me.

World Building

The world building was nicely done as well. As the title “A Space Opera” indicates, this story mostly takes place in a futuristic time within space. There are some different environments though whether they are on the surface of planets or moons and even the different ships. There are also a lot of different cultures and a few factions. The way this world and story were presented certainly left plenty of room to expand. I mean we are talking about space travel with faster than light technology that turns years into days of travel. The inclusion of the fleet command also made this world seem so much bigger than what we get to witness in Ancient as the Stars.

Character Development

The character development was the shining start of this read for me. I thought that maybe I didn’t like stories with continuously flawed character due to another recently read but now I realize it still comes down to how those characters are presented to the reader. It can be hit or miss with me and in this case Maya nailed it. I’m trying not to give too much in the way of spoilers. I’ll just say we have two closely connected main characters which are certainly flawed and most of this story revolves around how to work around those flaws and still achieve the outcomes need. I think I found myself connecting more with Ren than Karenna for most of this story. I’m not sure why, maybe I see some of her qualities from my much younger days as well.

The amount of excellent supporting characters in this read is what really brings this one home for me. Even these supporting characters were so complex and unique from each other. Max, Brett and Tim were all great characters that I loved, just to name a couple. Then the leadership of Hawking (Ma, Riley and the watch leader) were all characters I disliked on different levels. Ma is the only of these three that I felt at times he just wasn’t aware enough of what was happening on his ship to be a competent leader, but at the same time he still did some shady things under his nose.

Roundup & Recommendation

Just to wrap things up I want to mention that the story was just as good as the three topics I mentioned above. There was plenty of twists and turns, suspense, excitement and political intrigue to be found in this read.

I’d recommend this to just about any fans of Science Fiction that are looking for a space story with a solid plot and great characters to keep them entertained.


World Building 4/5
Pacing 4/5
Character Development 5/5

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Chad Barnard

Owner/Operator of The Hiking Reader Blog. Sharing thoughts on books and hiking trails and trying to find ways to continue to incorporate both hobbies together.

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