The Shadowed Stars book series by Steven Koutz is a grand science-fiction narrative, incorporating staple genre tropes and infusing them with a novel twist.
Although Shadowed Stars is an epic science-fiction tale in the vein of Star Wars, Star Trek, and Dune, with the same general tropes, it delves into much more mature and more taboo topics than what’s in the mainstream. The universe portrayed in the Shadowed Stars series is one that is merciless, pitiless, cruel, and extremely hostile to its denizens, where entire galactic powers rise and fall. It is populated and filled with dangerous entities and creatures, from the intelligent and bloodthirsty carnivorous Derths to the despotic and authoritarian Black Guard—with plenty more threats equally dangerous or more so just skulking in the shadows of each star in the universe, simply waiting to strike. The Shadowed Stars universe is not one that pulls its punches, and it definitely shows in the worldbuilding and the wordcraft.
While the overall atmosphere and mood invoked by Steven Koutz in the Shadowed Stars series are one of violence and danger, conveying a cosmos that is riddled with horror and terror, it is not without its moments of hope, humor, and romance. It is a fairly nuanced series of books that will have moments where you will be red-faced with frustration and trepidation but, on the next page, have you teary-eyed and grasping at straws, trying to expect what will come next.
The Shadowed Stars book series, like Dune, will mainly be for a mature audience as it attempts to create a science-fiction narrative that is intimately infused with graphic language, sex, and violence.
What Makes Shadowed Stars Unique?
The universe of Shadowed Stars, its characters, and its worlds are all the product of Steven Koutz’s vast and creative imagination.
The darker tone of the works also makes them stand out in today’s era of science fiction, where the mainstream titles lean more towards the romantic and hopeful nature of discovery.
In Shadowed Stars, Koutz deliberately slants his writing into the darker and more sinister aspect of exploration, evoking the fears of the unknown and the unexpected, which harken to an older era of science fiction. This gives the books a novel and engaging take on space adventures.
When compared to other examples of the sci-fi genre, Shadowed Stars has a more dynamic and fluid story structure. Each story set in the Shadowed Stars universe, whether it is a mainline title or a short story, is part of a larger and more expansive narrative; short stories, especially, are vehicles for deeper character exploration. This means that no one story can easily be ignored. Each installment in the franchise will be entirely stand-alone, with its own themes and objectives, but if you want to fully comprehend the world and the larger story, you will have to read everything.
Steven Koutz has really created a universe where the characters have lives of their own, and planets and factions have compelling histories, each interacting accordingly and wondrously.
What is the Future of Shadowed Stars?
Steven Koutz plans on writing eight mainline books for the whole series. Although he is thinking of adding more, the eight mainline books will each be wonderfully unique in their own ways.
This is because the mainline will be structured in a very peculiar manner, with the odd-numbered titles possessing nonlinear timelines and having the characters of Prince Slade, Eva Cusping, Princess Erikai, and more as the central focus. The even-numbered titles, meanwhile, will all have a more rigid and straightforward storyline, with the characters of Josh Broody, Cody, Laylee Kalini, and Tana being under the spotlight.
ABOUT STEVEN KOUTZ
Originally from St. Paul, Minnesota, USA, Steven Koutz has been an avid writer for as far as he can remember—and he remembers far. He has an intense passion for the science fiction genre, being a fan of several franchises. He has always wanted to write a sci-fi book, and Shadowed Stars is the culmination of his preparations.