Tin Star by Cecil Castellucci

January 16, 2014 Reviews 9

I received this book for free from ARC in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Tin Star by Cecil Castellucci
Tin Star
by Cecil Castellucci
Series: Tin Star #1
Published by Farrar Straus Giroux
on February 25th, 2014
Genres: Sci-Fi, YA


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.

Bah, Bah black sheep!

We, as book nerds, often find ourselves in a situation where we don’t love a book as much as our fellow book nerds did. It happened with me and The Archived by Victoria Schwab. Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke. Shoot even Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan! And every single time I’m left feeling like a broken typewriter! Being the black sheep sucks…typically. Today, however, being the black sheep feels fabulous. Tin Star is a book that a few of my bookish friends didn’t really enjoy, and guess what? I totally loved this book!

proud of myself

Seriously! I’ve never been so proud to be the black sheep before! I know that not everyone will love the same books, so being the black sheep every so often is inevitable. But how often are you the reverse black sheep?!

Tin Star isn’t the “space opera” we’ve been getting extra doses of lately, or the sci-fi we know and love. Tin Star is something different entirely and I’m telling you now it’s not a book that everyone will appreciate. The pace is slow, the action is rare and there is no real (in my opinion) romance. What there is though, is a story about a girl you can’t help but root for and the perfect start to what will be an amazing series.

Tula (our MC) is the kind of character that is not only easy to relate to (even though she’s stuck in space) but the kind of character that makes you remember the joys of reading about a MC who isn’t guilt ridden or spineless or dependent upon others. She was such an amazing and well needed breath of fresh air to me and while she grew so much in Tin Star I can’t wait to see where her hard work and determination takes her in the series. We are all so accustomed to books where the men come to save the day and the men are the sun that the story revolves around, and while the book was filled with mostly men Tula shined so much brighter than them.

Left for dead on an alien space station, in the middle of  nowhere (literally), surrounded by aliens that hate her kind she had to fight to stay alive. To stay feed. To earn respect! She wasn’t the strongest person, or the most intimidating but she was smart and she learned quickly! And even though she was stranded and plotting revenge on the douchebag that beat her and left her there I felt like it never overshadowed the story to the point of overkill. And you know what I mean. We’ve all read a story where the MC’s revenge is the focal point of the story. The only thing keeping the story going! That revenge IS the “big picture”, even when we know it really can’t be. Revenge is one aspect of a larger plan and I think Castellucci perfectly captured this.

It’s like bad guys who want to destroy the world. In their mind the “big picture” is destroying the world, but for someone with an actual brain the “big picture” is “how are you going to destroy the world and you live here?!”. I hate reading a book and the MC is so consumed by the thought of revenge they can’t look past it to see what will happen once they win. What will they do when their enemy is dead? When justice is served? When the fight is over? Tula may have been consumed by her need for revenge at one point but she grew into a person who wanted that revenge but also wanted to look at the grand scheme of things. And I absolutely ADORED this about her.

But a great book can’t be just one character. Even though Tula was my favorite and (in my opinion) the strongest she was surrounded by amazing supporting characters. Heckleck, Tournour and Thado were the oddest bunch of alien friends ever and I absolutely enjoyed every page they were on. Even though their respective species despised humans somehow they all came to care for Tula and look out for her in a place where she was nothing. I could have done without Reza View Spoiler » but all in all the characters (even the jerks) were great additions that made the story well-rounded for me.

It isn’t fast paced or action packed or even swoon inducing. But it is an amazing start to what I hope will be an intense and totally unique series.

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9 Responses to “Tin Star by Cecil Castellucci”

  1. Jessica @ Fly to Fiction

    Hahaha, I do have to admit that I’m with the majority.

    I agree that there was hardly any real romance, but I didn’t mind that. The plot was a bit of roller coaster for me, but in the end, it’s what kept me from DNFing it. What really got me, though, was that I didn’t like Tula and just didn’t care a lot about her, or at least, not enough to like the story and stick with it.

    (I’d also be interested to know who you ship. 😉 )
    Jessica @ Fly to Fiction recently posted…Characterize It (#2): The Wicked Witch of the West (Favorite Villain)My Profile

  2. Allie @ Little Birdie Books

    There is a gif … of Dylan O’Brien … *stares* … Oh, sorry, right, the review. Hehe.

    I’m so glad you liked this one! It’s really nice to go into a book not expecting much and to be blown away (rather than the other way round, which happens to me too often!).

    I haven’t heard of this but I’m loving that cover!!
    Allie @ Little Birdie Books recently posted…Review: Cinder {Marissa Meyer}My Profile

    • Jessica

      I loved it and can’t wait for the next installment. Refreshing to read a story without the intense swooning and props for the original and creative space/alien culture that made the plot exciting to read.

  3. La La in the LiBrArY

    From your description of Tin Star, I feel you would fall in love with Orleans by Sherri L. Smith because it is all of the things you liked about Tin Star, plus more action. The female main character is the strong one of a mismatched pairing. There is no love triangle in the story and, in fact, there is only a small amount of romance between some secondary characters. I in turn think I will pick up Tin Star because of those similarities.
    La La in the LiBrArY recently posted…Happy BiRtHdAy EDGAR ALLAN POE…My Profile

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