My Rating: 1 heart
Thoughts on the Novel: Though I’m not a big fan of sci-fi novels, I was pretty interested in reading Phoebe North’s debut, Starglass, because of North’s presence on Goodreads and in the blogosphere. Unfortunately, I struggled to finish Starglass due to several reasons.
First, I found it incredibly hard to believe in the worldbuilding. Having discussed the challenges of traveling to another planet in an astronomy course I took, I just didn’t find the existence of the Asherah very realistic. I might have been able to put aside my skepticism if the Asherah were a spaceship consisting of a few people traveling to a planet nearby, but North made it almost like a miniature city. There were a few hundred people, pets, crops being grown on fields, babies being born in a hatchery … all on a spaceship engaging in interstellar travel!
Another thing I was constantly focused on was the strong incorporation of Judaism in Starglass. It was very unexpected, and left me wondering why there weren’t any people of other religions present on the Asherah. Midway through the book, I finally learned that the Asherah is owned by the Post-terrestrial Jewish Preservation Society. Had this been explained earlier, I think it wouldn’t have been nagging me so much, allowing me to concentrate more fully on the plot.
Speaking of the plot, Starglass’ is really slow and meandering. For the first third of the book or so, there isn’t much going on other than Terra going to work, wanting to be kissed, and planning her marriage. Later on, she joins a rebel group and is chosen to assassinate somebody but is too busy making out with them.
As a character, I did not like Terra! Aside from the fact that she’s a bad friend, I thought that Terra seemed very desperate for romantic love since she’s constantly thinking about kissing guys. I hate when girls appear needy in that sense. I also didn’t find her to be a strong character – she does quite a bit of crying – which was too bad because she sometimes found herself in the wrong place at the wrong time and then would get involved in things I thought she probably had no business getting involved in.
Finally, I didn’t know what to make of the absurd ending. Spoiler alert: While the Asherah has been in space, Terra – for reasons unknown – has not only been dreaming about Zehava (the planet the Asherati plan on colonizing) being inhabited but also of a particular Zehavan guy. (The Asherati don't know that Zehava is inhabited until the Asherah gets near and a team is sent to scope out the planet.) After witnessing something dangerous, Terra realizes she’ll no longer be safe on the Asherah and so decides to seek safety with the Zehevan guy she has been dreaming about, a guy who happens to be a total stranger!
Starglass was released in July 2013 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.
Comments About the Cover: I really like the pretty cover, and think it relates well to the story because it has a girl looking through a window at a planet. She is surrounded by leaves, which symbolize Terra’s occupation as a botanist.
In exchange for an honest review, this book was received from the publisher (Simon & Schuster) for free via Edelweiss.