Friday, October 22, 2010

Star Crossed

I love it when I find a new book (particularly advance reader's copies) from an author I've read and enjoyed. That's what happened when I found Elizabeth C. Bunces's new young adult novel Star Crossed. I'd read A Curse Dark as Gold, an adaptation of the fairytale Rumplestiltskin, which was rich in its re-imagination and full of fascinating characters and vivid description.

Star Crossed is not a fairytale but a new fantasy world of the author's own, and I was slightly disappointed at first because Bunce had done so well reinventing a fairytale the first time and I was looking forward to more of the same. They are definitely not the same, but that's not to say her newest novel is an unworthy addition to her name.

I admit, I had a hard time getting sucked into the story. It unfolded a world of religion versus magic, of seven moons and the seven gods and goddesses built upon them. The author had to introduce me to her main character, a thief for hire named Digger (but she's a girl), as well as create a sense of the world she lived in, and I was getting bogged down in history and weird fantasy names. I've found that most young adult fantasy isn't hardcore fantasy with all the detailed world-building, and even this story probably wouldn't be classified as hardcore fantasy, but it was somewhere in between and almost losing first. But the characters were enjoyable, and once Digger changed her role and name and became a lady in waiting named Celyn, uncovering forbidden magical mysteries for a blackmailing aristocrat, then I was hooked.

Surprisingly, this is not a romance. The romantic interest supposedly dies at the beginning of the story. I kept expecting something else to develop (actually, I'm a sucker for that stuff, and I was hoping), but nothing did and, honestly, it didn't matter. Now, if the author ends her series without even one hint of romance, I might be kind of sad. Yes, it's a series. Star Crossed is the first book, newly released, so fans will have to wait awhile to read Liar's Moon.

Three and a half stars out of five for a story of adventure and intrigue that ended up being interesting after all. I, for one, am looking forward to the sequel.

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