Tin Star by Cecil Castellucci is the story of a girl stranded on a space station during a time of great unrest in the galaxy. There are a lot of schemes and political intrigue taking place in the universe around Tula, but she spends most of the book isolated on an out of the way space station with no way of getting off and getting revenge. Tin Star has a plot and writing style that goes back to the classic sci-fi, but with a teenage character, therefore I think it might be good for sci-fi fans that want something a little different than all the action-packed, dystopian stories they’ve read lately ;-).
Note: I received Tin Star from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I read an ARC and some things may have changed in the final version.
Tin Star by Cecil Castellucci (Tin Star #1)
Published by Roaring Brook Press on Feb 25th, 2014
Genres: Sci-fi, YA
Length: 240 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
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On their way to start a new life, Tula and her family travel on the Prairie Rose, a colony ship headed to a planet in the outer reaches of the galaxy. All is going well until the ship makes a stop at a remote space station, the Yertina Feray, and the colonist's leader, Brother Blue, beats Tula within an inch of her life. An alien, Heckleck, saves her and teaches her the ways of life on the space station.
When three humans crash land onto the station, Tula's desire for escape becomes irresistible, and her desire for companionship becomes unavoidable. But just as Tula begins to concoct a plan to get off the space station and kill Brother Blue, everything goes awry, and suddenly romance is the farthest thing from her mind.
- Tula is incredibly isolated as the only human on a space station for much of the book and Tin Star captured that feeling quite well. Tula has very few social interactions, spends a lot of her time looking down at an abandoned planet, and has to figure out all these aliens’ body language.
- Speaking of aliens, there are lots of them! And lots of different kinds! While we didn’t get quite as much description as I would have liked, it was clear that the aliens didn’t just resemble humans in weird outfits. They are described realistically, to the point where they barely have “eyes” or “arms” and Tula instead just has to guess at what the alien equivalents are.
- As I said above, Tin Star struck me as having a classic feel. It’s pretty slowly paced and was confusing at times because technology wasn’t always fully explained (why would Tula explain something that is common place to her). However, that lends to a real immersion in this life that Tula is dealing with.
- Tin Star has a crazy slow start. There is excitement right at the beginning when Tula is abandoned, but then she proceeds to spend a year just making do on the space station. Tin Star is a darn short book, but it honestly didn’t feel like it because it was a bit of struggle at times for me.
- Tula is crazy isolated (she has one sort of mentor/friend who is an alien) for much of the book and she isn’t a very social person to begin with. I didn’t realize how much this would bug me, but I really wished she could have had at least one close relationship so that I could get to know her and another character through their dialogue.
- I was happy that there wasn’t really a romance angle as I was reading and then BAM a romance was shoved in at the end. It honestly seemed to pop up out of nowhere to me. Gah, annoying.
- I kept hoping epic things would start happening and Tula would get swept up in an awesome space adventure. It just never happened. By the end of the book, I sat back and went, well, what actually happened? Apart from a couple spoilery things (that really didn’t make that much of a difference in Tula’s day to day life), nothing has really changed for Tula. Tin Star felt very much like a setup book for the sequel, so hopefully the sequel comes soon!
Tin Star is quite short, but due to it’s slow-pacing, it didn’t feel all that short. It has a classic sci-fi feel, with a very realistic portrayal of the isolation of space and the strangeness of being a human among aliens. I’m very interested to see where the series leads, but at this point I can only recommend Tin Star to those who have plenty of patience ;-).