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Tin Star  - Cecil Castellucci

The beginning of Tin Star was fascinating. Tula Bane is stranded upon a remote space station by the leader of their colonizing cult, Brother Blue. She survives his brutal attack and abandonment only to find that she’s living in a universe where humans are not thought highly of. Their prejudice runs deep. She’s forced to survive by proving to everyone else on the space station that she can adapt and respect their customs while supporting herself.

Her footing gathered, she lives a relatively functional existence. This changes when a new group of humans, rescued from a crash, show up on the station. The tone of the book changes dramatically after this point. While there is plenty of drama involving Tula trying to retain her position with the aliens while the newcomers attempt to undermine it by living up to the alien stereotypes, there are also added layers of attraction and reluctant comradery.

At this point, Tula seems to be in love (though, I would more describe it as lust) with both of the male humans aboard the ship. Only one of these relationships moves any farther than awkward glances and descriptions of tight muscles. Even that one stays pretty chaste, remaining at the making out stage. She never becomes too attached to any of the humans, preferring to remain alone and trusting in her alien neighbors.

The other human, Els, is a backstabbing schemer. This fact and Els’ actions culminate into the climax of the story, forcing Tula to make a lot of hard decisions and revealing a romantic ally that she should have been more aware of.

Overall, I enjoyed the book. I would have liked it more if the book retained the dark and gritty survivalist aspect instead of traversing upon a romantic detour. Still, Tula is a tenacious, bright protagonist with plenty of promise. The overarching demand for satisfaction and revenge on her part was neither forgotten or overbearing. I can’t wait to see what path her story takes in the next installment.