This is part of the book blog tour for Starglass by Phoebe North, organized by Shane at Itching for Books.
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.
A story about power and greed, loyalty and honor, duty and purpose, Starglass gives us a glimpse of what living in the moment really means when one chooses to never give up even when things are tough and miserable. As a blog tour host today, I’m going to share an excerpt from the book with you. I hope you’ll enjoy reading it.
Excerpt from Starglass
By Phoebe North
from Part One
We spoke less and less. After dark, my father disappeared to the pubs or into his room with a glass and a bottle. I avoided home as best I could. Every night, I took off for the dome. I stayed there until it was too dark to see, filling my sketchbook with rough images of the flowers that occupied my daylight hours. It was better outside, even in the cold. Because within the gray walls of our quarters, silence had become a constant companion. It sat beside us at breakfast and laid itself down between me and Pepper late at night.
But not when Koen was around. He stopped by for supper at least once a week, filling the empty chasm of our lives with his broadlipped smile, his awkward laughter, his questions for my father, his jokes for me. Abba was a different person when Koen was there. He sat straighter and spoke in a tone that was almost mild. He rarely angered and when he did, it was only ever at me and quick to pass. But I did my best to give him few reasons to be mad. Usually, I just listened while he and Koen discussed their duties.
They talked about how to turn the seasons and how to transition us into the coming frost. The way they talked about it made it sound more like an art than a science. Like how a painter layers one color over another so that the depth contained in all that pigment could show through. I said that once over supper, blurted the words between bites of boiled potatoes. My father watched me for a moment, then calmly set down his fork.
“It’s nothing so soft as an art,” he said. I was surprised, too, by how patient he sounded. Like my old dad was back and ready to teach me all about being a proper Asherati. “We’re forcing our bodies — your body too,Terra — into new patterns. Why do you think we take these pills every day with supper?” He gestured to the little white dish of capsules that sat on the edge of his plate. “You wouldn’t sleep otherwise. Humans weren’t made for twenty-seven-hour days, for fortysix-week years, with two seasons. Everything must be factored in. It’s no art.” He paused, eying me for a moment. “I’d think as Mara Stone’s talmid, you’d know that. What’s that woman teaching you, anyway?”
It wasn’t a question I was meant to answer. He laughed at me, taking a hearty gulp of wine. But inside, I recoiled. What had I learned from Mara so far, on all those days when she shipped me off to the greenhouses to keep me out of her hair? The names of plants, sure — I could identify a clipping of almost anything in the main greenhouse. But otherwise she hardly spoke to me, giving me only terse commands.
“Oh, I don’t know that it’s not an art,” Koen interjected. He was blushing fiercely, bright red mottling his throat and ears. But his wide gaze was sharp, challenging my father. I braced myself. It was the kind of thoughtless comment that always led to an argument for me — but my father tilted his bald head toward Koen, listening.
“W-with all due respect, sir,” he began, stammering at first though his words grew firmer as he went on, “I think Terra was speaking metaphorically. And I think she meant it as a compliment. She’s not so far off, anyway, right? Like good art, our work is the sort that looks effortless if you don’t know any better. It’s part of the background of everyone’s lives. It doesn’t call attention to itself.To most of them, I’m sure we’re nothing more than bell ringers. And frankly, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Let them think less of us. If our work went around announcing itself, it would mean that we’d done something wrong.”
My father gave a sort of grunt of agreement. He stared down at his meal. I could feel the grin spread across my face.
“Thank you,” I mouthed soundlessly to Koen. His brown eyes shone.
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