Review: Lifespan of Starlight by Thalia Kalkipsakis

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

24924110Lifespan of Starlight by Thalia Kalkipsakis
Series: Starlight #1
Released: 1st April 2015
Published by: Hardie Grant Egmont
Genre: YA Science Fiction
Source: Publisher
Pages: 277
My Rating: 4 of 5 stars
Goodreads | Bookworld | Dymocks
The first in a thrilling new trilogy of epic proportions from best-selling children's author Thalia Kalkipsakis. A fresh take on the time tripping genre, The Lifespan of Starlight is Gattaca meets The Time Traveler's Wife.

It already lies dormant within you: the ability to move within time.

In 2084, three teenagers discover the secret to time travel. At first their jumps cover only a few seconds, but soon they master the technique and combat their fear of jumping into the unknown. It's dangerous. It's illegal. And it's utterly worth it for the full-body bliss of each return. As their ability to time jump grows into days and weeks, the group begins to push beyond their limits, with terrifying consequences. Could they travel as far as ten years, to escape the authorities? They are desperate enough to find out. But before they jump they must be sure, because it only works in one direction.

Once you trip forwards, there's no coming back.
Thank you to Hardie Grant Egmont Australia for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

Although Lifespan of Starlight wasn't exactly what I expected, it exceeded my expectations and impressed with a diverse futuristic world that not only had the element of time travel, but a wider scope of what life could be like in seventy years' time. With a side of hacking, conspiracy and some sci-fi drama, this debut has definitely caught my attention and I'm sure it will for you too.

All our lives, we've been moving with the flow of time because that's all we know...But in truth, time isn't flowing. Reality only exists in separate moments, like frames in a movie. 

Coutlyn (aka. Scout) is our protagonist, illegally living in a city where her mother has done everything for her, from saving food rations to share, to keeping her under the radar at all costs. It's the year 2084 and society has changed dramatically. However, this is no 'dystopia' as such, and Lifespan of Starlight certainly doesn't fall into any of those cliches. Instead, what you get is an Australian setting with the landmarks Sydneysiders especially will be sure to recognise; told from a whole new creative perspective. The worldbuilding in the story as a whole is excellent, and the balance between this and the other 'time travel' aspect is perfect.

Our sense of time changes because we control the passage of time within ourselves. 

While there isn't 'time travel' in the 'traditional' sense here, where kids go and try to save the world going back to different historical periods, I liked the author's original twist on it. The fact that this wasn't always the main focus of the plot didn't bother me either, as there was so much to explore further about Scout's character and how her identity (or lack thereof) shaped her experiences. Time 'skipping' was actually really interesting to read about, and a concept which I'm sure will be explored in more detail in the next book. In terms of the romance, though there was a hint at one point, it definitely took a back seat in this case - which worked. There's a whole lot more important things to worry about here!


Lifespan of Starlight is a compulsively readable debut which Thalia Kalkipsakis has truly impressed me with. I cannot wait to read the next book after that cliffhanger! If you're looking for something different in the Aussie YA sci-fi arena, then this book is definitely worth your while.


  1. I cannot explain how excited I am about this! I mean, I never realised how badly I want Sydney dystopia before I read this review... but... I want it! I'm so used to sci fi and dystopias set anywhere but in Australia, but I'm very intrigued to see how Thalie Kalkipsakis has brought an Australian flavour to a time travel story! Thanks for the rec! :)

    1. That's great to hear Sophie! It's so fresh to have an Australian voice in the YA science fiction world writing something as good as this. I hope you get to reading it :)

  2. I'm quite curious about this one! I recently borrowed it from the library, and although I think time travel has to be done very well for me to enjoy it... I think this one looks great.

    1. Fingers crossed you enjoy it as much as I did Kara :)

  3. I need this book. You had me hooked at hacking and conspiracy. This reminds me a little of All Our Yesterdays, but a fresher take on time traveling. I haven't come across time skipping in any book I've read so far, but can't wait to see what it's all about. I love when the author doesn't feel the need to complicate the storyline by forcing a romance, but gives the reader time to immerse themselves within their created world first. And she's Victorian, so I need this even more now. If it wasn't for your wonderful review, I would have hated to think I might not have discovered this one <3

    1. It does a bit - I've read that too and can see the similarities, though I have to say I think I liked this one more. It's so refreshing to have a novel that doesn't put a massive focus on the romance to allow the other aspects to shine through. Thanks for visiting Kelly :)

  4. Wow, this book sounds brilliant Eugenia - and it's set in Sydney?! Count me in! Just saw you comment above that this book was better than All Our Yesterdays?! Omg, I loved that book so this is high praise. Must get my hands on a copy asap!

    1. It is Joy! I really loved the familiar setting and it's just so different and intriguing. I can't wait for the second book :)

  5. Ah, this book sounds totally awesome! And I've only really read one other book (well, two since it was a duology) set in Australia in the future (When We Wake and If We Run), and I LOVED it. Even though I don't live in Sydney, it's just the general Australian-ness of books set in our country that I love. It makes it so relatable, and I find myself realising how often I feel disconnected to books set in the US.

    And also, a unique twist on time travel? Hells to the YES.

    And a *hint* of romance means a slowburn, which I am 100% on board for ;D

    Lovely review, Eugenia ^.^ <3

    1. It's so great to have an Australian title that is new and impressive! Thanks for stopping by Chiara :)

  6. I saw this one in the bookstore and was wondering what others thought of it. I'm so glad you enjoyed this one, you've convinced me I need to read it!


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