Rating: Unrated | 384 pages | Lyrical Shine | Scholastic Press| 10/15/2019
Tarnished Are The Stars is one of those rare standalone fantasy young adult novels–something I am always here for. In this futuristic Sci-fi tale three teens on opposite sides of the political spectrum of Earth Adjacent; a new Luddite Victorianesque planet settled after technology destroyed Earth. The queen rules from above in a space station where Eliza serves as the queen’s personal spy, down below on Earth Adjacent the commissioner rules with one iron rule. No tech. a decree that stands even-while though his son Nathaniel’s life depends on his illegal clockwork heart. Living on the outside is Anna Thatcher known as “The Mechanic” a young mechanic and tech smuggler living in a secret village where everyone needs a clockwork hearts to survive. Anna is an outlaw and when Nathaniel decides to prove himself to his father by capturing her Nathaniel finds himself mixed up in a rebellion that will reveal deep family secrets.
This book is an easy comp to the Cinder by Marissa Meyer because as the three teens are brought together by circumstance, they have an easy banter and humorous back and forth like the Lunar Chronicles, all while they lead a rebellion against space-dwelling overlords.
This book packs a lot and while I admire Thor’s ability to tell a complete story and the representation of queer characters just having adventures; I feel like there wasn’t time to get immersed in this world, plus the instalove (I know there was a whole conversation about this was on Book Twitter) was so instant it gave me whiplash. The books gets off to a solid start and while I was invested in the characters and their separate stories but it was once they converged that the pace suddenly took off. I’m just..not sure I 100% understood the ending and it felt like the story was working backward trying to explain the world.
I found Nathaniel to be a standout male protagonist I’ve read in a while. So many times in fantasy the male characters are these bastons to strength and decisiveness but he really had to go through it to come into his own, a role that is oftentimes delegated to female characters. Because this is a standaloneI’m excited to see what Thor does next.