Author: Shaun Young
Publisher: Harmony Ink Press
Length: 230 Pages
Category: Teen Fiction, Sci-Fi
At a Glance: While the world-building was well done in this book, the story fell short for me.
Reviewed By: Taz
Blurb: Sixteen-year-old James Fisher lives on the distant planet of Castor where he toils for the ruling classes as an indentured servant. He’s a “Half-Adapt”—one of thousands like him who were shipped to Castor from Earth and biologically altered so they could breathe the planet’s atmosphere unaided. As Earth fades in his memory, James resigns himself to life under Castor’s strict social hierarchy. But then he meets his master’s nephew, Vidal Centa, and their strong attraction for each other begins to transcend Castor’s rigid class stratums.
Encouraged by his friend, Femi, to join the defiant Independence Society, which seeks to overthrow Castro’s punishing oligarchy, James faces a difficult choice. As his feelings for Vidal intensify each day, he must wrestle with loving the young man who represents everything the Society hates and fighting for justice. As the civil war threatens to erupt, James fears if he continues to fight he’ll destroy his relationship with Vidal, and perhaps the entire planet.
Review: Castor, by Shaun Young, follows James, who’d been transported from Earth to the planet Castor. Because the atmosphere on Castor is unsuitable for breathing for pure humans, those who are transported are adapted while in stasis on a spaceship so that their bodies can tolerate the new environment. As such, he’s considered a half-adapt and, therefore, immediately finds himself in a lower social class than humans who arrived on Castor unadapted. A renegade group of half- and full-adapts has been working for years to overthrow the caste system, and James finds himself torn between the two worlds. On the one hand, the unadapted humans destroyed his family and his life. On the other, the person he falls in love with is an unadapted human.
While the world-building was well done in this book, the story fell short for me. Written in first person present tense, we are able to see inside James’s head and know his every thought and feeling. Along the way, we watch his relationship with the various characters develop. The problem I encountered with this book is that no event or relationship was ever fully developed. Falling in love, dealing with the Independence Society, reconciling his warring feelings about his friend Femi. All of these, had they been better developed, could have packed a bigger emotional punch than I experienced. Perhaps it was that in writing the book in first person, the author gave away a bit too much of what James was thinking and feeling. Had he allowed the reader to figure out and infer a bit more, instead of telling us things, the journey may have been more powerful.
You can buy Castor here: