Tin Star by Cecil Castellucci

tin star by cecil castellucci Tin Star by Cecil CastellucciBuy Tin Star
Special price $12.98 Regular price: $16.99
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Format: Hardcover
Reviewer: Melissa on February 19, 2015
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

On their way to start a new life, Tula Bane and her family travel on the Prairie Rose, a colony ship headed to a planet in the furthest reaches of the galaxy. Everything seems to be going according to plan until the ship stops at Yertina Feray, a remote space station, and Brother Blue, the colonist’s charismatic leader, beats Tula and leaves her for dead. In Tin Star by Cecil Castellucci, an alien named Heckleck saves Tula and teaches her how to survive on the space station. When three humans crash-land on the station, Tula’s desire for both companionship and escape kick into hyper drive, but when her plans for revenge fall apart, romance suddenly seems less important.

As much as I enjoy a few sci-fi and fantasy TV shows and movies, it’s rare that I pick up a novel set in space or on a space station. While I have a very wide range of literary tastes, there’s just some sticky point in my head that makes me think, “that’s not for me.” However, I’m really glad that I not only picked up Castellucci’s latest novel and first foray into pure sci-fi, but also went to an event at the Toronto Public Library to hear her talk about it. Tin Star hooked me from the very first page. I found myself become instantly sympathetic toward Tula in a way that only someone who is adept at creating believable teen characters can evoke. Initially, Castellucci presents Tula in one of the most vulnerable positions imaginable, but she uses the first chapter to meander through her MC’s relevant back-story before returning to the violent present moment and solidifying the reader’s sympathies. Every word in Castellucci’s characteristically, streamlined prose is obviously crafted to develop Tula’s character and make sure that no reader is left behind on the Yertina Feray, like Tula was. Is it any wonder that I’m highly recommending that you pick up Tin Star and get ready to run back to the bookstore when the sequel of this duology, Stone in the Sky is available on February 24th? (Or you can pre-order a copy now.)

One of the things that I – and let’s face it, the critics, too – love about Tin Star is Tula Bane. She is a strong, intelligent character, who uses her wits and observational skills to not only survive, but also thrive in a place where she is the only human being surrounded by aliens who have a great distaste for her species. In fact, she becomes so adept at interacting with the major and minor species that populate the Yertina Feray that when she finally meets Caleb, Reza, and Els – the three human teens who get stuck on the space station – two years after she herself got stuck there, she has to relearn how to interact with and read her own kind. When an author is able to make the familiar seem alien and the alien seem familiar to readers, she clearly has some special talents.

To make the world of the Yertina Feray come alive, however, Castellucci has to do more than just make Tula a believable character. She has to develop the rules and politics of her world, including the inability for humans who have left earth for either the colonies or as part of the first attempts at space travel, be unable to ever return to their home planet. She has to make the alien species that Tula interacts with distinct enough that readers can visualize them and their distinct qualities and ways of interacting with the world. She has to make the readers understand the distinction between the world of the underguts and the upper decks of the Yertina Feray clear. And she has to make the desolation of both the Yertina Feray and the closest planet, Quint, apparent, so the black market economy that allows Tula and the other inhabitants of the space station to exist make sense even when bartering is strictly prohibited under Imperium rule. When you dive into the deep space world of Tin Star, you’ll learn that the author does all this and more to build a believable world out of thin air, the kind of world that readers will want to relive over and over again.

Even if you think that sci-fi novels aren’t for you, even if you’re a contemporary YA lover through and through, take a chance on Tin Star. I guarantee that, like me, you’ll quickly realize that Cecil Castellucci is only capable of writing your new favorite books.

Buy Tin Star today and benefit from 23% off the regular price!

  10 comments for “Tin Star by Cecil Castellucci

  1. Cecelia
    February 19, 2015 at 9:18 am

    What a lovely review! I especially agree with your last note – even if you don’t think this is for you, it is. Castellucci wrote one of the most accessible sci-fi novels set in space (that didn’t heavily feature romance) that I’ve ever read. Can’t wait for book #2!

  2. Jessica
    February 23, 2015 at 7:20 am

    Great review – I def need to check this one out. I’m so in love with scifi right now!

  3. February 23, 2015 at 2:20 pm

    Thank you so much Melissa, for really getting what I was trying to do with Tula Bane. One of my hopes is that people who don’t normally read harder sci fi books would engage.

  4. February 23, 2015 at 8:50 pm

    Thanks so much, Cecelia! I’m glad you liked my review. I agree with you, too, about how accessible it is and that the setting wasn’t just a new place to put a romance. I’ve been lucky enough to already have read Stone in the Sky, and I think that you’ll be equally impressed with it. :)

  5. February 23, 2015 at 8:54 pm

    You really do need to check it out, Jessica, and I hope that when you do, you let me know what you think!

  6. February 23, 2015 at 8:56 pm

    I’m sure that for many readers, your hopes will be answered, Cecil! In fact, I think that Tin Star might be mine (and other readers’) gateway into more sci fi stories, and possibly harder sci fi books. :)

  7. March 2, 2015 at 5:16 pm

    I’ve been trying to read more widely this year, and I’m finding that the genre or category isn’t the criterion to use for a good read. I just want a good story well told.

  8. March 2, 2015 at 7:01 pm

    So true, C. Lee! I’ve come to the same conclusion. If anything, it’s our preconceived ideas of what a genre is that stop us from trying new genres. (Or at least that is my issue.) However, when I try to expand my reading to new genres, I find that I like more than I thought I would. While I already read several genres regularly, it’s always good to eliminate reading prejudice.

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