Review: Starglass by Phoebe North

book coverFormat: e-ARC
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Release Date: July 23, 2013
ISBN: 9781442459557
Source of my copy: publisher via Edelweiss
Series: Starglass #1
Synopsis (from Goodreads)

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.

Mind. Blown.

That was my reaction after I finished reading Starglass

But when I actually began to read it, I wasn't sure what I got myself into. The main character, Terra, was very blah, had no personality in the beginning and we were thrust into this new world (the space ship Asherah) with very little explanation. I had a lot of questions, like how it came about that the passengers were ruled by a sort of bastardized version of Judaism (it felt like a random choice on the author's part at first), among others. And since I basically know nothing about the Jewish culture and a lot of the Jewish terms were strewn about, I was very confused.

But I plodded through it and I was very glad I did not give up on Starglass. It took more than a quarter of the book for things to happen, for the action to start and for Terra's character to get more interesting but I was rewarded for my patience because Starglass ended up being quite an original, exciting read.

So, basically, Starglass was a dystopian novel set in space. But while the set up was familiar--a girl who yearns for more than what her society dictates for its people may just get her wish when she learns that there's a rebellion brewing beneath its seemingly idyllic surface--by the last fourth of the novel everything was turned on its ear.

I was literally at the edge of my seat by the time I reached the end. There were a lot of unexpected twists and turns, especially in the last quarter of the novel. The things I thought I had figured out, I didn't and I loved being surprised like that. Starglass doesn't quite follow the usual YA formula, particularly when it came to the romance part. Some readers might not like that and I myself I was like, what? Is Phoebe North really going to take the story to the realm of Avatar (the movie)? I'm still unconvinced about that unexpected turn in the romance but Phoebe North might just pull it off in the next book. Either way, I'm dying to know what will happen next.

Starglass deserves high props for originality and world building (though you don't really get a full picture of the world until you finish the novel). Unfortunately, I expect some readers may be put off by the slow and confusing beginning or the unconventional turn in the romance. Overall, though, I ended up enjoying it a lot and I'm very eager to read book two.


  1. Wooow, sounds awesome!! So glad you enjoyed it, because we "know" Phoebe North through her very thorough and thoughtful GoodReads reviews (which we don't always *agree* with, but which always give us good food for thought). So we've been looking forward to reading her work, and we're happy to hear that it was so enjoyable and unexpected!

  2. Slow beginnings are always hard, but it's great when they pay off! I'm not sure how I feel about being thrust into the culture, especially since I'm not very familiar with Judaism either, but the fact that it's unpredictable is pretty intriguing. Lovely review, Michelle!


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