Review: The 5th Gender (Tinkered Stars #1) by GL Carriger

This review will be quick, because the book itself was quite short, as was the time it took to read itI purchased this book myself, but I am a longtime fan of Gail Carriger/GL Carriger.

I’m not a huge fan of the cover, it doesn’t relate to a specific scene, or really reflect the mood of the novel. I feel like some kind of cartoon depiction of Tristol or Detective Hastion, in significantly coloured suits may have been a better cover, but I suppose this is more eye-catching

A species that has no word for murder, has a murderer aboard their spaceship.


Tristol lives in exile. But he’s built a life for himself aboard a human space station. He’s even begun to understand the complex nuances of human courting rituals.

Detective Hastion is finally flirting back!


Except that Tristol’s beloved space station is unexpectedly contacted by the galoi – a xenophobic species with five genders, purple skin, and serious attitude. They need the help of a human detective because there’s a murderer aboard their spaceship. Murder is so rare, the galoi don’t even have a word for it.

Tristol knows this because he is galoi.


Which means that he and Detective Hastion are on the case… together.

Delicate Sensibilities?

Contains men who love other men in graphic detail, regardless of gender, biology, or skin color… and lots of emotively sexy tentacle hair.

New York Times best selling author Gail Carriger (writing as G.L. Carriger) brings you a light-hearted romantic cozy mystery featuring an adorable lavender alien and his human crush

This book was fun, I read it on my birthday as a self-indulgent, relaxing read, as a break from some of the more serious books and topics that I’d been reading, and it was perfect. There are serious issues included in The Fifth Gender, and if you’re sensitive to mentions of death, discrimination or self-harm you may wish to read something else, but that makes the book sound far darker than it truly is. While the central plot of the book is driven by a murder investigation, the story is ultimately a romance. The GL Carriger name is used for her works (as far as I can tell) with explicit sex, and LGBTAIQ+ characters (there is still representation in the Gail Carriger novels, but minus the sex).

The characters GL Carriger writes were as endearing and entertaining as ever, and I was happy that her sci-fi is just as well-written as her steampunk LINK? and urban fantasy novels.  The world-building was interesting, and I loved learning about an alien race through comparisons to other cultures and the courtship process, rather than through info-dumps or dull exposition.

The mystery of the book tied in well with the storyline, and I liked seeing Tristol and Detective Hastion navigate cats, Triston’s culture, a murder investigation, and their own growing feelings for each other.

I’d recommend this book to anyone who enjoys lighthearted romance, Gail Carriger’s other work and funny, cute stories about aliens.  

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