The Stars are Legion is a gorgeously crazy book. No matter how much speculative fiction you've read, I'll bet you've never read anything like it before. It was my first book by Hurley, and it won't be my last. The writing is gorgeous, deeply embedded with metaphor and allusion. (It's so very quotable that I'm physically pained to be unable to include any quotes at present at the publisher's request.)
If I were forced to categorize the book, I'd say it doesn't quite fit into fantasy or scifi and instead belongs to their parent genre, speculative fiction. Don't go into this book expecting hard scifi. No, the idea of jumping from planet to planet in a matter of hours wearing nothing but a sprayed-on suit and dragged around by a living shuttle doesn't exactly work in terms of Newtonian physics, nor does a planet composed of layer upon layer with an outer layer of tentacles. Just go with it. The sheer breadth of imagination is staggering, from cephalopod cannons to recycler monsters to disturbing funerary feasts to fungal forests to sentient boats to so much more.
Like Ancillary Justice, it is a story told entirely with female pronouns, but unlike the Radch, the world Hurley creates is genuinely feminine, each member of each world capable of giving birth, yet sex and procreation are entirely separated. Themes of reuse and rebirth and cannibalism and closed systems, of wombs and maternity and birth, of agency and freedom, of memory and identity, are beautifully woven into a backdrop of complex characters, dizzyingly hallucinogenic imaginings, and wild, vivid, often repulsive creativity. I can't write much because I don't want to spoil anything, but if you're looking for a genuinely unique read, look no further.
~~I received an advanced reader copy of this book through Netgalley from the publisher, Saga Press, in exchange for my honest review. Thank you!~~
Cross-posted on Goodreads.