Series: Starglass #1
When Earth died, the Asherah, a spaceship dedicated to preserving the Jewish culture, set sail across the stars to find its inhabitants a new home. Now they are finally approaching the planet Zehava. But fifteen-year-old Terra is starting to realize that all is not well aboard the ship. A secret group of rebels plots to overthrow the Council so they can have more freedoms–the freedom to marry, to choose their own jobs, to have their own babies. But Terra is torn. Is she willing to do what it takes to have the rebels accept her as one of their own?
I was excited to read a young adult sci-fi that featured a Jewish community in space since I have not before seen a similar premise. However, though I wanted to love Starglass, I ultimately found myself disappointed. Though the book is over 400 pages, it reads like half a story.
The characters are sufficiently likable with fifteen-year-old Terra showing independence and spunk, her boss Mara coming across as a grumpy yet caring and intelligent mentor, and her friend Rachel being just about the best supportive friend ever. There are also the standard two love interests–friendly but awkward Koen and the handsome and rich Silvan (he hasn’t much else to recommend him). However, the character development sometimes felt wanting. Rachel just disappears for the bulk of the book as Terra forgets about her to pursue boys and deal with her own problems. And for some reason Koen and Terra seem to like each other and maybe have a little chemistry–until they get serious. Then suddenly Terra isn’t feeling it anymore and suddenly the author begins dropping hints about his sexuality that weren’t present until the plot needed more drama.
The plot is uneven, with the bulk of the book being about Terra’s apparent desire to join the rebels despite indications that they are probably not much better than the current Council. Then at the end things start to pick up and we get random twists that don’t always make a lot of sense apparently just to amp up the drama again. Just when you think you’ve reached the part where the book is finally about something, it ends. For dramatic purposes. A random cliffhanger to keep things “interesting.”
Unfortunately, I don’t enjoy reading books that do nothing more than set up the real plot that will then (hopefully) appear in the next installment of the series. I don’t have current plans to read the sequel.