Tarnished are the Stars by Rosiee Thor

Physical ARC received from the author and publisher at Yallfest. All opinions are my own.

Anna Thatcher has a secret and its one that could kill her: her heart is illegal clockwork machinery. But that doesn’t stop her from supplying the black market with medical technology desperately needed by the people of her village. As the Technician, Anna is one of the most wanted criminals in the Commissioner’s society.

Nathaniel Fremont, the Commissioner’s son, has always feared the weight of his father’s disapproval. But he’s determined to prove to his father that he can be the next Commissioner and he’ll do that by capturing the Technician. Eliza is a spy and assassin for the Queen. When she arrives and entangles herself in Nathaniel and Anna’s lives, things get complicated. Eliza is here after the Commissioner’s secret and she’s determined to find them regardless of the cost.

Agh I loved this!!! It was amazing! Also, an aromantic main character, specifically aroace!! Almost unheard of in YA, but wow I freaking loved it so much. This book was so delightfully gay and I need more books like this. Also the word “aromantic” actually appears in the text, which is a breath of fresh air! So many times there’s LGBTQ+ rep in YA sci-fi and fantasy, but you never see the actual rep labeled so blatantly. And I hope that changes. There’s no reason different worlds wouldn’t have this vocabulary.

This sci-fi story is all about terraforming the planet Anna and Nathaniel live on and the secrets that have been hidden. The fledgling relationship that bloom and flourish between the three friends made me so happy. This book just completely melted my heart. I loved the plot, even though for some reason I thought it was going to be set in a space ship. Why?? I have no idea.

A great #OwnVoices YA sci-fi. I can’t wait for Thor’s next book!

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