Thursday, July 17, 2014

Book Review: Starglass by Phoebe North

Author: Phoebe North
Series: Starglass (Book 1)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (July 23, 2013)

Description: Terra has never known anything but life aboard the Asherah, a city-within-a-spaceship that left Earth five hundred years ago in search of refuge. At sixteen, working a job that doesn't interest her, and living with a grieving father who only notices her when he's yelling, Terra is sure that there has to be more to life than what she's got.

But when she inadvertently witnesses the captain's guard murdering an innocent man, Terra is suddenly thrust into the dark world beneath her ship's idyllic surface. As she's drawn into a secret rebellion determined to restore power to the people, Terra discovers that her choices may determine life or death for the people she cares most about. With mere months to go before landing on the long-promised planet, Terra has to make the decision of a lifetime--one that will determine the fate of her people.

My Thoughts: STARGLASS was an entertaining science fiction story that takes place on a generation ship that is nearing its destination. The main character is Terra. She has lost her mother to cancer - the first cancer death in the ship's 500 year history - and has been left with her father who is so buried in grief and anger that he doesn't make a good parent. At age sixteen, Terra is given her vocation as all others her age are. While she is a talented artist, she is assigned to be a botanist.

Sixteen-year-olds on the ship also pick their life partners with girls as likely to propose as boys. Terra's father is encouraging her to pair up with his apprentice. Koen is willing but Terra senses something off about him. When he introduces her to the revolutionary underground, Terra learns secrets that move her out of her complacency and into a more active role in the fate of the voyage.

This one has lots of the familiar tropes of generation ships. The leadership has apparently lost sight of the good of the people and are most concerned with keeping their social position. I did have some problem with the science fiction. A crew of 1000, despite how clean their genes are, seems too small to make a self-sustaining colony. Even though the boys are sterilized and babies are made in artificial wombs, I have a hard time thinking that they aren't getting pretty inbred after 500 years. I was also asking myself why they had gravity when the engines were off in the ship. I thought that it was unique that the base population of this ship was Jewish. One of the aims of the people who planned this was to keep Jewish culture alive.

I didn't mention that Terra has been having odd dreams of the planet they are approaching and the love that is waiting for her there. I chose to pull this one off my TBR mountain at just the right time. A sequel - STARBREAK - was released on July 8. I am eager to see what happens when they reach the planet they have been travelling toward for so long.

Favorite Quote:
It wasn't the same place, not anymore. It no longer had the same heart. The people I loved were gone, and they'd taken my home with them.
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

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