Mini-reviews: Dark Eden by Chris Beckett and Tin Star by Cecil Castellucci

darkedenTitle: Dark Eden
Author: Chris Beckett
Genre: Science fiction
Publisher: Broadway Books
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: ARC from the publisher
Number of pages: 448
First line: Thud, thud, thud. Old Roger was banging a stick on our group log to get us up and out of our shelters.

Goodreads blurb: On the alien, sunless planet they call Eden, the 532 members of the Family shelter beneath the light and warmth of the Forest’s lantern trees. Beyond the Forest lie the mountains of the Snowy Dark and a cold so bitter and a night so profound that no man has ever crossed it.

The Oldest among the Family recount legends of a world where light came from the sky, where men and women made boats that could cross the stars. These ships brought us here, the Oldest say—and the Family must only wait for the travelers to return.

But young John Redlantern will break the laws of Eden, shatter the Family and change history. He will abandon the old ways, venture into the Dark…and discover the truth about their world.

This is a truly unique book. In fact, the language is so unusual and different that I wasn’t sure I could even read it. It only took a few pages, however, for me to get sucked into the world. The fact that the world of Eden and the Family has its own vocabulary makes it seem even more real, and pulled me into the story. The civilization on Eden is intriguing, in that it more like a native population – very primitive. Their ancestors were technologically-advanced humans, but because they were stranded on Eden without resources, the civilization that sprung up from their descendants is like you would expect in an indigenous population. They are hunter/gatherers, and have not developed technologically or intellectually at all. John wants to change that, and change is frowned upon by the elders, who think that the Family must stay in their area, waiting to be rescued by people from Earth. John’s actions are sometimes – often – rash, but he is motivated by a drive to explore, to expand, to leave the borders of Circle Forest behind. His actions, and the events that follow, show how human nature is essentially the same, no matter the world. While this is the first book in an expected series, the ending was satisfying. This is a must-read for science fiction fans.

tinstarTitle: Tin Star
Author: Cecil Castellucci
Genre: YA science fiction
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: ARC from the publisher
Number of pages: 240
First line: There are few things colder than the blackness of space.

Goodreads blurb: 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.

It has been a great month for science fiction! This is a completely different book than Dark Eden, and yet was very enjoyable in its own right. Tula’s story isn’t a horror story, but I found the idea of being left behind on a space station, the only human for light years around, truly terrifying. She shows her ingenuity and resilience, though, and creates a niche for herself. She is working hard, saving money in order to someday get off the station and seek her revenge on the man who left her there, when some other human teens show up. She is suddenly left questioning everything she was told about Earth Government and the colonies, one of which her family was supposed to be heading for. Tin Star deals with ideas of revenge, loneliness, relationships, and betrayal. There is a bit of a love triangle, but one that has a completely unique – and unexpected – twist. I am looking forward to the second book in the series.

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10 Responses to Mini-reviews: Dark Eden by Chris Beckett and Tin Star by Cecil Castellucci

  1. bermudaonion (Kathy)
    Twitter: bermudaonion

    I think my sister would like Dark Eden.

  2. I’ve been thinking about trying to read more science fiction. It’s a genre I haven’t explored very much. Both of these sound good.

  3. Kailana says:

    I started Dark Eden and it just didn’t grab me. I plan to try again!

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies

      Kelly – the different language can take a while to get used to, but I think you would end up liking it.

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  6. Melissa's Eclectic Bookshelf
    Twitter: myeclecticbooks

    I read both of these recently too. While I loved Dark Eden, Tin Star want as much of a sooner for me. Great !