Since the pandemic hit, I’ve been trapped in a rut for a whole year. With things winding down (hopefully), I can finally get back into the swing of things and support the blog some more. And that means reading. It used to take me a while to finish a book, at least a month or so. I’ve always been a slow reader, too distracted without finding a good writing spot for myself.
This book I’m reviewing? I finished it in three days.
So today, we’re looking at Trouble In The Stars by Sarah Prineas. You can buy it here. I have specific tastes when it comes to science fiction and fantasy, especially for younger audiences. I’ve always been fond of the strange and fantastic, and not to mention subtle interests of my own. This book checks every box and is just a joy to read. I think this might be a comfort book when I feel down.
So let’s see what’s in store.
Looking for Trouble
Trouble isn’t your average everyday kid in space. He’s actually a green blob that can change shape and become anything. An uneventful voyage in space puts him at the center of a conflict between a ragtag group of traders, and the biggest military force in the whole universe.
This is a fun and brilliant story of mystery, friendship, trust, and finding oneself within them. Trouble doesn’t have a concrete identity, so when he assumes the form of a young human boy, he’s forced to act like the other humans. It gives the sense of “who am I,” and really sends a powerful message about identity and self worth. Are you who you truly are.
Throughout the story, identity becomes the central conflict in the form of Trouble, who struggles to find out who he is as he assumes his human shape. He’s also greeted by a number of shipmates who have their own thoughts on their identity, even gender. Amby, for example, is part of a humanoid race that are basically genderfluid in a literal sense. It’s subtle enough that kids unfamiliar with the term wouldn’t think twice about it. An alien race that can change genders and go by they/them pronouns. Good thing all of the space-faring people are friendly enough.
Speaking of aliens and diversity, there’s a very big selection of races in this book with their own unique personality and quirks. Amby, for example, is very tall and tends to pause in between their sentences. There’s also Shkkka, who are three insectoid beings that share a hivemind. Though they consist of three separate beings, they all operate under the same name. Electra, who’s part of the galactic military force, StarLeague, has hair that acts as a mood ring. Not only are they basically tentacles, they change color.
There’s a notable amount of diversity not just with humans but with other alien races. It would have been nice to know a bit more of who they are, their culture, how they interact with the universe as a whole. I hope there’s a continuation of this cause I’d love to see this universe grow.
The only issue I had was that, for a story about transformation and identity, there wasn’t a lot of transforming going on. At the very least not a lot of variation. Trouble usually stays in his human form, but it would have been true to his name if he had little control over his transformation.
Also, given the nature of the story, I would have loved to see more unorthodox transformations. Maybe he turns into a box, a lamp, or even a tool. That said, Trouble DOES turn into a dragon, so I approve.
Trouble’s major form, a Hunter alien, felt too powerful and gave the enemies no chance to fight back. He does lose control a number of times, though. Even with the more lighthearted nature, the threat should still be present in the form of StarLeague.
Overall, I really enjoyed this story and would definitely consider this a comfort story in spite of the issues I’ve mentioned. Regardless, this is a fantastic story that I very strongly recommend to anyone looking for a fun, hilarious space adventure.
That’s all for today. Take care, stay out of trouble, and remember, the inn is always open.