A secret beats inside Anna Thatcher’s chest: an illegal clockwork heart. Anna works cog by cog — donning the moniker Technician — to supply black market medical technology to the sick and injured, against the Commissioner’s tyrannical laws.
Nathaniel Fremont, the Commissioner’s son, has never had to fear the law. Determined to earn his father’s respect, Nathaniel sets out to capture the Technician. But the more he learns about the outlaw, the more he questions whether his father’s elusive affection is worth chasing at all.
Their game of cat and mouse takes an abrupt turn when Eliza, a skilled assassin and spy, arrives. Her mission is to learn the Commissioner’s secrets at any cost — even if it means betraying her own heart.
When these uneasy allies discover the most dangerous secret of all, they must work together despite their differences and put an end to a deadly epidemic — before the Commissioner ends them first.
Tarnished Are the Stars is a story that follows Anna (also known as ‘The Technician’). She is a mechanic that secretly helps people with illegal medical technology. At the beginning of the story, the Commissioner has put out a new law in hopes of finding the Technician. Anna knows what she does is dangerous, but she thinks the risk is worth it because she gets to help people. But when Nathaniel, the Commissioner’s son, finds her booth and gets one of her riddles, her life changes. There’s entirely too much about this world for me to explain. This book takes place on a planet named Earth Adjacent. Earth is no longer habitable due to technology. So, the people that live on Earth Adjacent have technology very heavily controlled. There’s also a sickness on this planet. Anna lives outside of the Settlement and many people in her town are sick for unknown reasons.
When Nathaniel figures out Anna’s riddle and they meet, she realizes that he has the same lifesaving technology that she does. She was told she’s the only one that has this specific tech, as it has evolved since it was put in her. She needs to see him again so she can get to the bottom of it, but she’s realized that he’s the commissioner’s son and that it will be very dangerous for her. When she finds him again, someone very dear to her dies. (I literally sobbed.) This is when the story really gets exciting. There is a third character I need to mention before I get into my thoughts. Eliza, she is the Queen’s Eye (aka her spy). She is engaged to Nathaniel and is sent down to Earth Adjacent on a mission from the Queen.
Okay, my thoughts. I really liked Anna. She’s a smart girl that really cares. She struggles with failing at training to be a surgeon, but she excels at being a mechanic. This is a point of tension between her and her grandfather, Thatcher. I really enjoyed how their relationship developed and improved before the story’s conclusion. Once Anna, Eliza, and Nathaniel finally agree to work together the story gets even more interesting. I liked that they were unlikely allies. They were all working toward the same goal for their own reasons. Eliza and Anna have feelings for one another that they’re trying to deny. I loved this part of the story. I loved Eliza’s struggle between completing her mission for the Queen and helping Anna. Nathaniel is struggling between overthrowing his father and being the child his father has tried to make him.
Overall, I loved this book. If you liked the Lunar Chronicles, you’ll probably love this one. The relationships were complex and interesting. The secrets were surprising and suspenseful. We learn that things are not what we thought they were. I think the world was fascinating. I just loved everything about this story. There are mystery and suspense, romance and betrayal, great worldbuilding, and loveable characters. What else do you need?
“We are made or unmade by our choices.”
“We do not have to use the same words or share the same definitions to be similar, to understand one another.”
“Some secrets are like a blade, their vengeance swift and concentrated. Others are like a pestilence, spreading without prejudice, and I fear not everyone it touches will deserve the affliction.”
“But that was the thing about loss: Death could rip love from life, but those memories stayed behind, burning a hole through the heart.”
Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.