Review: The 5th Gender (Tinkered Stars Mystery) by Gail Carriger

As many of you know, I have been a long time fan of Gail Carriger. She is a consistently accomplished writer with unique and interesting books that I always seem to find myself burning the midnight oil to read.

I am not a huge sci-fi fan. I don’t read a lot of it nor do I watch any sci fi. I mean I liked the idea of it, but it’s just not my genre at all. So when Carriger asked if I wanted to review this one…..I hesitated.

But I did agree to read it based on the fact that she has always seemed to win me over no matter what genre or theme she is writing about. But I was admittedly skeptical….I mean aliens? Space? Definitely not my thing, but again, I was willing to give it a go.


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 (summary from Goodreads).


Carriger does such a fantastic job with her world building and this book is no exception. The world is richly described and interesting, but it’s the mystery/plot that really push this one forward. Her mysteries are always what makes me eager to read her books—regardless if they are sci-fi, steampunk, LGBTQ, or paranormal. I love how there is always something to discover and solve in each book.

Tris and Drey were a dynamic pair and I loved watching their relationship evolve on the pages of this book. This book does have LGBTQ content which I think is exceptionally well done, smart, and beautiful. It is Pride month so this would be a great book to pick up and read for that! At the heart of their relationship is love—regardless of gender etc and I think that’s a beautiful thing to see in this book. One of the major themes in this book is acceptance and I think the author does an outstanding job weaving that in this book.

The dialogue is also smartly written with snappy little phrases and charm. I felt that the writing (as with many of her other books) is often the star of the show and really highlights her signature style. I found myself giggling at some of the phrases and conversations which was endearing to me as a reader.

I was impressed as always but Carriger’s ability to bring to light significant issues in the LGBTQ community to readers without being our the top. She has the velvet touch when it comes to writing and incorporating gender issues in her novels and I absolutely love her for it.

This was a wonderful read and I can’t wait to see how this series evolves in the future! Even if I am not a sci-fi fan, the story, characters, and writing were a pleasure to read.

Book Info and Rating

ebook, 346 pages
Published May 18th 2019 by GAIL CARRIGER LLC
ISBN13 9781944751265
Free review copy provided by author, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and in no way influenced.
Rating: 4.5 stars
Genre: sci-fi, pararomance, mystery, LGBTQ



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