Monday, February 24, 2014

Release Day Review & Giveaway: Tin Star by Cecil Castellucci

Release date: February 25, 2014
Published by: Roaring Brook Press
Page Count: 240 pgs
Author Links: Blog | Twitter | Facebook
Buy Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble 

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. 

Tin Star was fantastic! It's unlike any other YA story I've read. I found myself finished with the entire novel in one sitting. I honestly can't remember the last time I've done that.

When reading the synopsis, I was a bit worried that there may be too much focus on the romance. I come across this quite often when reading young adult novels. In science fiction stories I'm more interested in learning about new worlds, space politics, and the various alien creatures. 
I didn't want too much romance development to get in the way of that. Fortunately, Tin Star does not disappoint in this area. The romance plays a minor role and fits in fine with the story, but would have been just as great without it.

The story focuses on a young girl left for dead on a space station in a remote location. She works to earn her place in a society that has no love for humans. She must learn how this society functions, learn the moods and body language of the various creatures she encounters, and learn to keep to herself when she's not working. It's a lonely existence, but she eventually becomes content with the life that she has created. Everything is running as smoothly as possible until a few years later when humans finally arrive and her life is turned upside down.

I really enjoyed Tula Bane's character. She was smart, capable, resilient and had no problems doing what she had to in order to survive. She was able to adapt and to earn respect even though other beings considered humans to be beneath them. Also, her vengeance against Brother Blue for what he did to her family and for beating her and leaving her at Yertina Feray became a goal that she was determined to achieve no matter how comfortable she became in her new life.

I also enjoyed Tula's non-human acquaintances, Heckleck and Tournour. There were twists with both of these characters in the second half of the story that were shocking and unexpected in very different ways.

I was hooked on Tin Star from the very first page and would recommend it to any YA fan looking for something original to read.

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