Summary: Tula Bane is headed for a new home among the stars when she and her family board the Children of Earth colony space ship with leader Brother Blue guiding the way. Troubles with the ship cause them to stop at Yertina Ferary space station where Tula is left for dead after she figures out Brother Blue is not all he appears to be. Abandoned on the alien station watching her ride slingshot around the local star without her, Tula finds herself without a clue of how to survive. Fortunately, aliens Tournour and Heckleck show her kindness and help her carve a new life for herself. Driven by plans to get revenge on Brother Blue at all costs, Tula finds her opportunity after three humans arrive unexpectedly at the station.
Number of Pages: 233
Age Range: 13-15
Review: Finishing Tin Star by Cecil Castellucci makes me want to read it all over again because I was so surprised by the ending that I feel like I need to give it a second read to see if there were clues that I missed.
I’m left with questions though. Is Castellucci setting up a sequel? Even though Brother Blue is clearly portrayed as the bad guy of the story, I’m not sure I understand what makes Tula so different from him. She starts out naïve and outspoken and it gets her into serious trouble, but by the end of the book she can con others like the best of them. The only difference seems to be that Brother Blue does it on a much larger scale.
I did like Tula and her grit in the face of losing everything she’d known, and her thoughts into what it actually means to be human were insightful. I also loved Castellucci’s exploration of what Earth would do if humans were able to achieve long-term space travel and colonization of other worlds. I’m an avid Star Trek fan, and never really thought about the possibility of Earth becoming an isolated planet on purpose. Anyone who leaves is branded a traitor and forbidden to return in Tin Star. Could we really develop the technology to live in space and then refuse to use it? It would be kind of like Jacques Cartier discovering Canada but then having no settlers move into the new world.
Okay, I suppose that’s not the best example considering Canada was already inhabited by Native Americans and the settlers did more harm than good in a lot of ways, but you get the idea.
I loved the idea of major and minor species depending on how many settlements they have across the galaxy and I wasn’t overwhelmed by the introduction of new species in the story although there were quite a few. I enjoyed the mentor relationship Hacklock had with Tula, taking her under his literal wing at a time when she was lost and alone. He was my favourite character.
All in all, I am hoping this is the start of a series because I want to know more about the universe Castellucci has created and what happens to Tula. I’d recommend this book for early to mid teen science fiction enthusiasts.
“If they were staying on the station, I still wasn’t ready to talk to them. I wasn’t sure that I wanted to associate with them. They were rude and loud and made me embarrassed to be a Human. No. It was more than that. They made me feel as though I were skinless, and that hurt.
It’s all right, I thought. Just because we’re the same species didn’t mean we had to be friends.” – Tula from Tin Star by Cecil Castellucci, page 84
“A few hours of sobbing passed, and then there was silence. I wonder if Els had gotten bored with getting no response or if the boys had managed to calm her or if it was something else. Adaptability. Even I had grown accustomed to my lot in life once it had changed. That was a gift. It was what made the Human species strong. It was what had made me strong.” – Tula from Tin Star by Cecil Castellucci, pages 137-138
“I had gone hungry at times during my time here, but truly I had been ravenous for touch. I knew that I would not be able to survive without it anymore. It was nourishing, intoxicating, and addictive. I would have to go with him. Or at least to where Human touch would be possible, and that left me only a few options.” – Tula from Tin Star by Cecil Castellucci, page 176