Stone in the Sky: Tin Star, Book 2

Book review by
Michael Berry, Common Sense Media
Stone in the Sky: Tin Star, Book 2 Book Poster Image
Exciting sci-fi saga expands scope, adds depth to Tula.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Stone in the Sky is set on various spaceships and space stations, which are presented with as much scientific realism as possible. The diverse cast of aliens is well conceived.

Positive Messages

Individuals from very different backgrounds can work together and achieve goals that might be unreachable were they on their own. Deciding who you love is not always rational.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Tula Bane is an especially strong female protagonist. She survives by her wits on a space station but tries to play fairly by everyone with whom she trades goods and services. Although she doesn't think of herself as a leader, she can inspire others and make them see new ways of dealing with adversity.

Violence

Stone in the Sky contains a few violent scenes, but they're generally understated and not particularly bloody. A battle between slavers, pirates, and captive humans results in many deaths. Supporting characters are shot and electrocuted.

Sex

Tula is attracted to Reza, a fellow Human, and they share some kind of romantic relationship, the physical details of which are obscured beyond hugging and kissing. But the individual who knows Tula best may be an alien, Tournour, and they share an odd but affecting devotion to each other.

Language

One or two instances of "hell."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Cecil Castellucci's Stone in the Sky is a sequel to Tin Star. It's an exciting, well-written coming-of-age science-fiction novel set on a space station and on a planet that's home to a wide mix of aliens. It features a compelling, complex female protagonist, as well as an intriguing supporting cast. There's some violence, including a fatal shooting and a deadly electrocution, but the scenes aren't graphic. There's no strong language or drug use. Minimal sexual content consists of mostly hugging and kissing, although it should be noted that one of the participants is a humanoid alien with antennae on his head.

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What's the story?

Having been beaten and left for dead on a space station by the treacherous Brother Blue, Tula Bane has found a way to survive in relative contentment. But when a fortune-making resource is discovered on the abandoned planet beneath the station, Tula finds herself again unmoored. She has to leave her allies and search for a new way to bring down Brother Blue, even if it means her own death.

Is it any good?

STONE IN THE SKY proves to be a satisfying follow-up to Tin Star, expanding the first book's scope and deepening the characterization of protagonist Tula Bane. The world building is well thought-out, and the mix of alien species provides plenty of conflict. Sometimes it seems a little convenient that, with an entire galaxy in which to wander, characters are able to reunite so easily. Most readers won't notice, though, as they'll be engrossed in the exciting plot and compelling character moments.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about charismatic leaders. How can they convince their followers to believe things that aren't true?

  • How does Stone in the Sky compare with other science-fiction books you've read? How is it different? How is it similar?

  • How can people (and aliens) find ways to communicate effectively with each other? What are some of the barriers that keep individuals from understanding each other?

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