Review of Tin Star by Cecil Castellucci

Tin StarTin Star
By: Cecil Castellucci
Release Date: February 25th 2014
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

A copy was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

My Rating:

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.

The Story:
I think that Tin Star is going to be hit or miss with readers. I personally really enjoyed it but I can see elements that will turn off some other people–most obviously the pacing.  Castellucci’s writing doesn’t have a sense of urgency for the majority of the book; some people might find this story with it’s slow pace to be dull. I, on the other hand, loved it. I felt the build up was slow yet really kept me captivated with the focus on interpersonal relationships and character growth. This quiet writing style felt dream like to me and truly mesmerized me from start to finish.

This book is science fiction though it really reads realistically. I felt that it could be a plausible future for our society and that the problems encountered could happen. Fans of action packed sci-fi will be disappointed if they walk into reading this expecting explosions. Tin Star’s strength is in the survival story and adaptability of the main character. Tula is the only human on an isolated space station; we explore this station with her and watch as she learns to incorporate herself with other species that automatically think poorly of humans.

The Characters:
I loved and connected with the cast of characters. Tula, the main character, was so easy for me to see in my mind and I had a very real grasp of her personality and life. She really reminded me of an older Newt from Aliens. Her sadness and desire for revenge permeated her actions as did her persistence and adaptability. Even though she found herself in situations that she had no knowledge of her instincts allowed her to survive under hostile conditions. I felt that she had a great head on her shoulders and her decisions were always made with thought.

The secondary characters were explored with depth and I felt that they had very unique personalities and dialog. No one felt side-lined to me, even the space station was detailed and felt like another character.

There is very little time spent on romance though I felt it was very well done. I felt the friendships were the really outstanding relationships; one of my favorites being between Tula and Heckleck (who I immediately adored). Their easy banter and unspoken understanding was very touching to me.

Final Thoughts:
Tin Star was slow paced and focused on character development, personal motivations and relationships. I found Castellucci’s writing to be beautifully executed, her world vivid and characters endearing and realistic. Though I don’t think that this book will appeal to all science fiction readers I do think that anyone that can appreciate a survival story and growth of a realistic main character will enjoy it.


  1. says

    I’m glad you enjoyed it . I just received my arc today and haven’t had a chance to get into it yet but I’m hoping that I will love it!

    • says

      I hope you do too! I’ve seen some early reviews that are pretty negative but I really enjoyed it. I think a lot of your enjoyment will be based on your expectations of what the story is like going into it. I’ll be curious to hear what you think!

  2. says

    I’m not big on slow plots and character development taking front and center, but this book does sound interesting. I just might give it a shot. Great review!

  3. says

    I’m so glad you enjoyed this one, Kristen! It didn’t really work for me, sadly. The plot was just a bit too slow (and I am impatient :p). I also felt like the human love interest was just hastily written in for the sake of having *some* romantic plot. Does that make sense? Like, it seemed to me like there was barely any real interaction with him and it seemed kind of instalove-y. But, again, that’s just me! Super glad you liked it. 🙂

    • says

      I thought the friendships were done much better than the romantic one but I didn’t mind it I totally see your point though and can agree. Sorry this one didn’t work for you but thank you for stopping by to read my review 🙂 I know this one is going to have mixed reviews.

  4. says

    Great review Kristen 🙂 I’m so glad you mostly loved this book. <3 I'm not sure if it is for me.. but it is great that you loved the writing and the characters 🙂

  5. says

    A good friend complained a ton about the pacing of this one, but this is the same friend who didn’t enjoy These Broken Stars for the same reason, so I’m inclined to think that I’d still really enjoy this one. Especially since the characters were such a hit with you. =)

    • says

      I hope you enjoy when you get around to it. I was really in the mood for exactly this when I started. I know some folks thought TBS was slow but I loved the pacing. I guess it depends on taste and mood. If you ever want to borrow it let me know 🙂

  6. says

    Hmmm, I think I’d enjoy this one a lot! I have nothing against slow books if they have great characters and other plot elements developing, and this sounds just like that.
    Great review, Kristen!

  7. says

    I’m not sure I’d handle the slow pace very well, but I do love it when the characters are awesome! Especially when authors take the time to develop the secondary characters. They are SO underrated sometimes!


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