Monday, January 27, 2014

Review: Tin Star by Cecil Castellucci

Tin Star
Cecil Castellucci

There was a lot about Tin Star that I really enjoyed. It was a unique tale that didn’t always go in the cliché ways I predicted it would. There was so much about it that I really did like but alas I just needed more. So be prepared to hear that a lot in this review.

Tin Star begins with our amiable protagonist, Tula Bane, being beaten to near death just for being perceptive and daring to question Brother Blue. She is then left for dead on an out of the way space station where there are no other humans. She manages to survive with the help of a lovable yet mischievous alien, Heckleck. He not only helps her survive but he teaches her how to thrive in this alien environment. Everything is going relatively smoothly until three humans arrive on the space station.

I liked Tula but I had a hard time emotionally connecting to her. And everybody knows I am ultimately an emotional reader. She really became more alien-like after years being the only human and I really think that was why I had such a tough time connecting with her. It was fascinating to watch her struggle to connect with the other humans after being around aliens for so long but if you’re an emotional reader like me it may make it a struggle for you to fully invest in her.

I loved the aliens and the differences between each species’ behavior was well thought out. I was weary of Heckleck initially since he’s quite manipulative and cunning but he ended up being my favorite character of the entire book. I also enjoyed the other main alien character, Tourdar. He is a Loor and one of the leaders on the space station. He wasn’t the most forthcoming but I loved his protective nature.

The humans were a big disappointment for me. I didn’t feel like I got to know any of them very well and they were all rather bland. I just needed more depth from them so I could understand why they did the things they did.

Brother Blue was the big villain of the book but he wasn’t around enough for me to truly begin to understand him either. When he was around he was horrible but I needed to see more of him and his motivations to make him truly terrifying. I like the set-up with him but I’m really hoping that he gets fleshed out more in the next book.

The romance argh- where to even begin? The blurb is really misdirecting on this. There is a little romance but it’s very rushed and glossed over and not at all one of those that will give you a major case of the feels. Unless maybe “huh?” counts as a feel.

Life onboard the space station was really the most fascinating part of this book. There is an upstairs/downstairs class division between the aliens that was an awesome concept that I hope we get to see more of. The differences in the cultures and mannerisms of the various species definitely held my interest.

Ultimately, while I did like this book I didn’t love it. I think it’s definitely worth giving a shot and a lot of you may like it even more than I did. There was some interesting civil unrest and political intrigue elements toward the end that pretty much guarantee I will be reading the next one. Here’s to hoping it goes more in-depth and hooks me.

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