An #ownvoices queer science fiction story with mechanical hearts? Tarnished Are the Stars came for my emotions.
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 lyrical book that discusses right and wrong, the ethics of technology, and loyalty. Told in a multiple POV style, it’s electric when they finally come together. They represent a possibility at redemption, a potential escape, and a chance to become something more. As their lives and destinies interact, we are asked what is the price of community? Of family? Secrets are being kept and a dangerous game is being played in the clouds.
Featuring queer character (lesbian and aro/ace) Tarnished Are the Stars is ultimately a story about choices. About whether we will keep giving up pieces of ourselves for the people we love. Whether we can ever gain the acceptance and love we deserve. There are lines that will make your heart flutter and sentences that demand to be spoken aloud. Discussions about power, ethics, and technology circulate in Tarnished Are the Stars. Technology can be dangerous in the wrong hands, but so can power, the law, and words themselves.
There are toxic relationship wrapped in sense of love and loytaty. And we are asked if we will repeat our past mistakes or grow to surpass them? To atone for our trespasses and betrayals. If out duty requires the absolute sacrifice, when will we stop living for other people, to take our destiny into our own hands.