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Thursday, July 18, 2013

Blog Tour Review + Giveaway: Starglass by Phoebe North

Publication Date: July 23, 2013
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Series: Starglass #1
Young Adult
Pages: 448
Genre: Science Fiction

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.
*Digital galley was provided by Simon & Schuster for the blog tour and an honest review*

Jews in space.

If you wanted me to sum up Starglass in three words, there you have it folks. I can tell you, from the synopsis, I never would have guessed I'd be reading about a spaceship filled with an entire Jewish colony looking for a new planet to live on. Nevertheless, Starglass had its charm and it's quirk along with the weirdly strange.

The roughest patch of the novel had to be the pacing. It was dreary in the beginning, painfully slow with much to be told about the customs and the history. Between the Hebrew words that I did not know the meaning to as well as the customs that were tossed around from character to character, all I can say is that whenever I saw bar mitzva and maezl tov I finally felt like I knew what was being said. Now, like I said, that was the rough patch of the novel. If you really aren't accustom to the Jewish customs, like me, then it will be a bit of a challenge to want to keep at Starglass in the beginning.

Once the world on the Asherah carefully forms itself, Starglass gets heavily entertaining. The world building does not disappoint. At all. It will probably be one of your favorite things about the novel as it was mine.

In most YA novels of late, the society that the characters live in like to pick and choose the lives of those living within their jurisdiction. Sort of like in Matched by Ally Condie. It is typical in their society to be a full fledged by the age of like sixteen and married around the same year. Unlike the typical dystopianish novel out there, each couple is allowed one boy and one girl to keep the gender balance on the ship. And those babies are incubated not the natural way that mommies and daddies made you and me. No, they are made inside eggs, as I had mentioned before. Unlike Matched, at least the characters can pick who they want to marry as long as they go through all the precautions and such. Only the higher powers of the spaceship city deem what each newly adult will be working as for the rest of their lives up until they land on the planet they've been racing towards for almost 500 years.

Terra's vocation happens to be an extremely interesting one to read into and watch flourish. Botany. What I thought was going to be a rather dull addition to the slow cranking novel actually was rather insightful and fun. Following Terra's piqued interest in her new line of work, even after her debauched dream of being an artist, really brought the flow back for the book. Whenever Terra was working I found that kept on wanting to read Starglass.

Character-wise? Terra had her ups and downs. She grows much stronger as a character during the books slow progression. She starts to inherit realistic, moral qualities. She has lived a life where her mother died from a disease after she had been told that all the diseases had been eradicated. Her father, a violent man whose eye is directly locked on authority and honor through status, I felt impassive with, but the remorse and pity did leak away for his character during some scenes. Her brother had left her behind to start a family of his own. There is so much diversity in this novel than I was even expecting. North does a fantastic job at keeping the norm of most YA from really seeping into her characters.

Final Summation: Though STARGLASS really was a fascinating read towards the latter of the novel, I found it to have so much really going on all at once for one book that it can get a little confusing at times. I was, indeed, happy with how the book progressed. The second books is welcomed to my reading stack. Even though STARGLASS doesn't necessarily take precedence as a remarkable sci-fi YA novel compared to it's spaceship counterparts, it does have qualities that I hadn't expected it to really hone in on, like the heavy incorporation of  Judaism. STARGLASS makes for a slow-paced, informational, snowball effect read. Fans of the Across the Universe  or Inside Out series are welcome to take a crack at another trek through the starry abyss of space.

Story: A
Cover: S

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.