Rating: 4 / 5
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Mystery, Thriller
Release date: July 23, 2013 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Number of pages: 448
Source: eARC from Edelweiss
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Terra has never known anything but life aboard the Asherah, a city-within-a-spaceship that left Earth five hundred years ago in search of refuge. At sixteen, working a job that doesn’t interest her, and living with a grieving father who only notices her when he’s yelling, Terra is sure that there has to be more to life than what she’s got.
But when she inadvertently witnesses the captain’s guard murdering an innocent man, Terra is suddenly thrust into the dark world beneath her ship’s idyllic surface. As she’s drawn into a secret rebellion determined to restore power to the people, Terra discovers that her choices may determine life or death for the people she cares most about. With mere months to go before landing on the long-promised planet, Terra has to make the decision of a lifetime–one that will determine the fate of her people.
Starglass has a premise that we’ve all seen before – a community thriving in a spaceship, traveling the vastness of empty space in search for a new home. One notable book that’s similar is Beth Ravis Across the Universe series, which I adore and hold close to my heart. And just like aforementioned series, this one also has conspiracies and plots going on behind the scenes, in which a rebellion is brewing and is about to lose control. Because this has been used over and over again in literature, be it in a spaceship or in a dystopian setting, I was especially wary, but surprisingly, while the premise wasn’t original, the execution and delivery of it were well done, making the read a refreshing experience.
For a book that spans 448 pages, the plot didn’t feel dragging at all. I loved how in this setting, you really can’t trust anyone. Everyone’s so suspicious! One moment you’d think they’re on the good side, later on, you’ll see that their actions are very inconsistent. All sides have their fair share of good and bad apples, and like the heroine, the reader can’t really tell who to believe until the very last page. But that doesn’t mean it’s a linear good versus evil… I think it’s more of people who believe they’re right and have valid reasons for feeling so versus people who are the same. In other words, it’s a kind of scenario where one doesn’t really trump the other, a scenario that can only be resolved not by dominating the other but by negotiating and comprising. I appreciated it wasn’t all black and white, there were some gray zones as well.
There are also some sub plots scattered throughout that will make you sad with grief. However, there were times that it felt like there were too many things that was going on, so there were instances in the middle part that were just so exhausting. But otherwise, the overall plot was really good, and I loved how the rebellion and the hidden motives and agendas of certain individuals unfolded.
I also appreciated the diversity of the cast of characters here. There were a lot of neat people that you don’t really see much in Young Adult literature. I won’t really spoil it for you guys, so I’ll say just this: expect the unexpected! Haha. Terra, on the other hand… well, I liked her, most of the time. I shared with her pain of losing her mom and the trials and tribulations she went through in the book, but there were times she made some decisions and said some words that I don’t really condone. Her weak character became her disadvantage as it made her vulnerable to manipulation, but I really liked how she broke the chains weighing her down and finally decided for herself. By the end, you’ll feel proud of her as she finally stood on her own two feet. That part where she ultimately determined what feels right for her was such a monumental moment. You’ll truly appreciate the Coming-of-Age aspect here.
Overall, this book was really good. There were some things that I didn’t like, but generally, I found it well-done with the right pacing and enough scenes that would make you drool for more. Even though the premise is not original, Phoebe North still gave us content that provided something new tà the genre. I am definitely looking forward to book two!
About the author
Phoebe North spent the first twenty-two years of her life in New Jersey, where she lugged countless library books home to read in the bathtub, at the dinner table, in front of the television, and under the blankets with a flashlight when she should have been asleep. After college, Phoebe went south, enrolling in the University of Florida’s MFA program to study poetry. But after studying children’s literature with kidlit scholars (and geniuses) Kenneth Kidd and John Cech, she started writing books about magic, robots and aliens for teenagers. And realized she loved it almost as much as she loved Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. Now, Phoebe lives in New York State with her husband, and many licensed novels. She likes to cook, watch Degrassi, sew, take her cat for walks, and, of course, write. Despite many soaked pages, she still loves to read in the bath.
www.phoebenorth.com | twitter.
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