Saturday, February 15, 2014

ARC Review: Tin Star by Cecil Castellucci

Tin Star
Author: Cecil Castellucci
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press (February 25, 2014)

Description: 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.

My Thoughts: TIN STAR was a slow-paced, introspective science fiction story about a young girl who is abandoned and left for dead on an alien space station, the Yertina Feray. The story is told in the first person as Tula tries to reconcile herself to her new life and survive. She is fourteen when she is abandoned. She has no money, no contacts, and is the only human on the station. Her first contact is Tournour who is the law on the station. He seems indifferent to her survival but keeps a distant watchful eye on her. Her closest relationship is with Heckleck who teaches her to trade both in goods and favors and who becomes her friend and mentor.

Things are going along as best they can until the galaxy is overtaken by the Imperium and three more stranded humans find themselves on the Yertina Feray. They bring back possibilities to Tula but she doesn't know if she can trust any of them. Tula has been living on the thought of revenge against Brother Blue, who is the one who abandoned her. He was supposed to be setting up human colonies on distant planets. Tula comes to believe that was only part of his agenda. In the time that Tula has been on the station, Brother Blue has moved from a fringe player to someone with a key role in Earth's place in the Imperium.

Tula was an interesting character who managed to adjust to a very difficult situation. She credits her human adaptability for her survival. But a lot of her survival comes from the skills she learned from Heckleck and the discreet help that Tournour provides.

Readers who aren't looking for action in their science fiction are the best audience for this one.

Favorite Quote:
A few hours of sobbing passed, and then there was silence. I wonder if Els had gotten bored with getting no response or if the boys had managed to calm her or if it was something else. Adaptability. Even I had grown accustomed to my lot in life once it had changed. That was a gift. It was what made the Human species strong. It was what made me strong. 
I got this ARC from Macmillan Children's Publishing Group. You can buy your copy here.

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