TBR Review: Starpilot’s Grave by Debra Doyle & James D. Macdonald


Starpilot’s Grave
by Debra Doyle & James D. Macdonald
Series: Mageworlds #2
Genre: Science Fiction (space opera)
Published by Tor, 1993
E-book, purchased
448 pages
Grade: B+
Synopsis: A broken and drifting ship, its long-dead captain still strapped in the command seal: that’s what free-spacers call a starpilot’s grave. When one of these derelict craft appears in the Net, the artificial barrier zone separating the Republic from the Mageworlds, the discovery is no accident. It’s a sign, a warning that the Mageworlds have not forgotten the Republic – and the Magelords make long plans.

“Still no reply from the target,” she said. “Regular starpilot’s grave over there–no emanations of any kind.”

“Starpilot’s grave?”

“What the merchant spacers call a drifting wreck,” she said.


I’m not some kind of oracle, she felt like telling them, but she knew that the outburst wouldn’t do her any good.


  • An adventure science fiction. A space opera…my favorite type of science fiction. Very good.
  • Since I read the first book in the series a year and a half ago it took me a few pages to remember all the characters and places!
  • Seven or more threads with different groups’ stories. That makes the overall story complicated. When a thread begins I have to figure out whose story is being told. However, I wanted to find out what that person was doing so once I got into the rhythm of the story it was fine.
  • One of the threads is from a Magelord’s POV. That was interesting. That introduced a more nuanced view of the Mageworlds and Magelords.
  • Lots more to happen in the next book. Not exactly a cliffhanger, but looks like more of a continuation of the story.
  • The Republic and the Mageworlds is a large area of space. Lots going on especially in this book.
  • Most of the main characters in this book are from the Rosselin-Metadi family. That was more the case in the first book. Many of the characters we met in the first book are very important in this book.
  • The Rosselin-Metadi family is famous throughout the Republic and the Mageworlds. The father–Commanding General Jos Metadi; the mother Perada Rosselin, Domina of Lost Entibor and Councilor for Entibor-in-Exile and the Colonies Beyond (assassinated in book 1); the oldest son Lieutenant Ari Rosselin-Metadi; the daughter Beka Rosselin-Metadi; the youngest son Owen Rosselin-Metadi.
  • The event which caused most of the actions and reactions in book one–the assassination of Perada Rosselin–still moves some of the action in this book.


  •  I really enjoyed the book, but it’s definitely a middle book connecting the first and third books. The first book had more of a definite ending with shadows of things to come. This end of the book isn’t an end so much–more a lull in the action. Since the third book is written and I want to read it that’s not too much of a problem.

And a few thoughts . . .

  • This is my book for the February TBR Challenge hosted by Wendy @ The Misadventures of Super Librarian. The theme this month is a book someone recommended to me. Li @  Me and My Books recommended this book to me. I read the first book in the series–The Price of the Stars–based on her recommendation. Then she recommended the second book. And it took me a year and a half to get it read [hanging my head]
  • I am going to buy the third book and hope to get to it soon.

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

Author: Jan

I love to read--especially mysteries, science fiction and fantasy. I also love blogging, photography, gardening, playing Mah Jonng, reading with a cat on my lap, throwing a ball for a dog, creating cards to send to family and friends, reading book blogs, using my computer.

6 thoughts on “TBR Review: Starpilot’s Grave by Debra Doyle & James D. Macdonald”

  1. I am not a great fantasy or science fiction reader, so I had not come across this series at all. Personally, the middle book slump in a trilogy (or the second ‘let’s set up the next five books’ in a series) can, and often does, make me abandon a series.

    Unless I absolutely adored the first book, in which case I may grit my teeth and bear it with ill-grace.


    1. I didn’t this was a middle book slump as perhaps one large book being divided into two. I won’t know for sure until I read the third one, but that’s what it felt like to me.


  2. I really loved this trilogy – I’m glad you managed to get around to reading the second book (even if a year and a half later!).

    I’ve a soft spot for space opera, and there doesn’t seem to be much of it nowadays (or I’m looking in the wrong places…) – Rachel Bach’s Paradox books probably qualify, possibly James SA Corey’s Expanse books (though they veer too much towards the horror subgenre for me, I think).


    1. Yes, Li! I know there aren’t as many space opera as I would like. What about Sharon Lee & Steve Miller’s Liaden books? I enjoy their books and checked last week to see which I still have to read and maybe re-read some. But I can’t think of others right now.


  3. Yep, they would definitely fall into that category for me. Also Catherine Asaro’s Skolian books?I read Jody Lynn Nye’s Imperium books last year (two so far, I think) – they’d probably fall under the space opera banner as well (fun, but not as strong as the other series we’ve mentioned IMO).

    Having gone to Goodreads to look that one up, I see GR has a space opera tag I should probably explore more for recs 🙂


    1. I hadn’t thought of Catherine Asaro and haven’t read Nye’s. And I’ll have to check out Goodreads…hadn’t even thought of that. I don’t put tags on my books. Guess I should think about it. Thanks, Li!


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