Eclipse by Herman Steuernagel


Django and Mikka’s paths collide as they embark on a journey that will shape the fate of a civilization built on half-truths and the backs of others. Rumors of civil war circulate through the Syndicate’s orbital empire, catching both Django and Mikka in the crossfire, where the stakes are far higher than they realize.


Eclipse is a fast-paced dystopian space opera that will keep you glued to the page the whole ride. The whole book is really a two-for-one. We get two POVs, two locations, and two distinct dystopias. I wouldn’t call it hard sci-fi but I easily recommend it to anyone who enjoys sci-fi at any level.

This book is the definition of well-known concepts executed very well. There wasn’t anything particularly “new” about the story, but all of the elements were done so well that it didn’t matter. One of the things that immediately caught my attention from this novel was the dystopian elements. We really have 2 different dystopias happening at the same time. One of our POVs, Django, is an 18 year-old working on the space station Eclipse. The people on the station believe that they are the last remnants of humanity in the solar system, working on the station to help fix the uninhabitable earth. They toil away endlessly with little freedom and restricted rations all in the name of preserving the future of humanity. But we know from the prologue of the book that this is not true. Eclipse is actually one of many space stations in earth’s orbit in a solar system where the moon and Mars are already terraformed and have civilizations living on their surfaces.

Our other POV Mikka lives in a more cyberpunk type of dystopia. A corporation known as the Syndicate rules, at least the earth and moon, with an iron fist. The Syndicate is the government, law enforcement, and sole provider of all goods. So in spite of the advanced technology available to humanity, an unbelievable amount of people, including Mikka’s mother, live in abject poverty on the surface of the moon. Mikka is hiding a secret though, she is a reformed space pirate trying to run from her past and avoid the Syndicate enforcers still looking for her. She has surgically altered her appearance and has been the legitimate captain of her new ship Redemption for 7 years, but she always has to look over her shoulder.

The character work in this novel was very good. The main POVs, as well as the side characters, were developed really well and felt realistic. The emotions felt genuine, I felt the fear, grief, and anger that the author wanted me to feel and it drove the escalating tension of the plot along nicely. Django was honestly one of the most realistic protagonists of that sort of dystopia that I’ve read. Many times while reading a dystopian novel where the true nature of the world is withheld from the people, I have felt like the protagonist goes along with the rebellion too easily. Django had to be practically smacked in the face with the truth over and over before he finally accepted it. He was in denial and rationalizing what he has seen and heard repeatedly, which is how I feel most people would react in such a scenario. Mikka’s character was also very compelling. Though a strong, cunning ex-space pirate trying to stay legit and care for her sickly mother, you could feel the desperation and fear during her chapters of trying to make it in a cruel system.

My biggest complaint about the book is I felt like it ended too soon. Which obviously means I was enjoying the book that much! If I didn’t know it was ending though, I would have guessed we had another 200 pages left. A lot of the book was set up and development, that was well earned and never boring, but it felt like right when the plot was ramping up and we were about to get into the meat of the story, the book ended. Which is sort of good and bad because obviously I want more and the ending was awesome, but at the same time it felt a bit too abrupt, and I would have liked maybe book 1 and 2 to be combined into book 1. Who knows though, I might feel differently after reading book 2, which I will absolutely be doing. I must also confess that I am a huge fan of epic fantasy where a 600 page book feel like a normal length so it might also just be a personal preference. Either way I greatly enjoyed my time with this book and I highly recommend it. I am very much looking forward to see where the converging plot lines take us in the next entry.