Wednesday, July 8, 2015

REVIEW: Tin Star

Title: Tin Star
Author: Cecil Castellucci
Publisher: Square Fish
Genre: Science Fiction / Young Adult
Price: $9.99 (paperback) $7.09 (ebook)
Point of Purchase: Amazon
Reviewed by: Chris Gerrib

I think I found out about Cecil Castellucci's novel Tin Star from John Scalzi's The Big Idea section of his blog.  I find that part of his blog dangerous for my wallet - I keep buying books from it!

In any event, what caused me to buy the book was the premise.  Humanity has made contact with other alien species, but we are very much a Minor Species in the grand scheme of things.  Since, when the story starts, the galaxy is more-or-less at peace, that's not the worst place for humanity to land.  Our heroine and narrator, 14-year-old Tula, is traveling on a human ship to found a new colony when she gets abandoned on an alien space station.  As the only human and member of a Minor Species, she's very much on her own.

As it turns out, the galaxy is changing, in unpleasant ways, and Tula's somewhat precarious position on the station will have to change as well.  Tin Star, although quite readable for adults, is aimed at age 12-17, and so has a discussion section after the book.  In it, Castellucci calls the book "Casablanca in Space" after the 1942 film.  I saw the parallels as I was reading it, but since I enjoyed the movie I went along.

Our lead character, Tula, progresses very believably from scared 14-year-old to confident semi-adult, which was quite enjoyable.  As a semi-adult, Tula is forced to make some difficult decisions, and the final part of the book goes from just Tula's problems to issues that cover all of humanity.  In short, I found Tin Star very enjoyable indeed.

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