A copy of this novel was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
After escaping death a second time, Tula Bane is now even thirstier for revenge. She spends much of her time in the Tin Star Café on the Yertina Feray—the space station she calls home. But when it’s discovered that the desolate and abandoned planet near the station has high quantities of a precious resource, the once sleepy space station becomes a major player in intergalactic politics. In the spirit of the Gold Rush, aliens from all over the galaxy race to cash in—including Tula’s worst enemy.
Stone in the Sky picked up with Tula on Yertina Feray- she is well acclimated to her environment though she is living with a good amount of guilt over the events in the last novel, Tin Star. The first book was slow paced and focused a great amount of how Tula’s life had developed on this lonely space station. In this novel the action picks up and there was less time on her interactions with others though that was still a main theme. We got to travel off of Yertina Feray and see other planets which I thought was done beautifully.
Castellucci knows how to create a vivid and realistic otherworldly environment. Her alien races were well thought out and easy to visualize as being a real entity in the universe. Because we are traveling around other planets and experiencing more action on Tula’s journey the pacing was faster in this novel than the first and it felt slightly more science fiction based. I thought all the details (like a space elevator) were wonderfully approached and seemingly based on research.
The writing style was still quiet yet powerful and loaded with emotion. I was impressed with how easily Castellucci was able to jump from Tula’s internal dialog to an action sequence. My only complaint with this novel (and I think ending to the series) was that the ending felt very rushed to me. I could have read another book dedicated to the last third of this book and been much happier. I wanted more depth and detail. The ending felt a bit too wrapped up nicely.
Tula was still the central theme of the novel and we get to experience her growth even more in this novel. I adored Tula in the first book and even more in this sequel. I felt her character arc was beautifully executed. I feel that my main draw to these two book was my appreciation for the author’s ability to create such a well rounded, relatable character in an otherworldly environment.
Tula was still close to her special alien, Tournour. I adored their relationship and how each character brought out strengths in the other. We get to learn more about Tournour’s past which I loved. My only issue was that I read the first book so long ago I had trouble recalling what he looked like so while reading I had a blank spot for him in my mind’s eye. I plan on doing a reread of the two novels back to back and figure I’ll have an even more intense emotional response.
Of course Brother Blue was prominent in this novel and once again I loathed him…though I was able to maybe, just maybe see the tiniest bit of why he was the way he was. As much as I can’t stand him I would love to read a novella focused on him in his earlier years. I think that could be very interesting.
I am so impressed with both Tin Star and Stone in the Sky. I think that Castellucci is a very talented writer and that fans of character driven stories and science fiction will enjoy these books.