Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!
Here we have the next victim of my neverending trawling of the annals of available (quality) YA on Libby…
I was semi-hesitant to start reading this one–I was somewhat compelled, but for a while, not enough to have a go at it. Out of desperation, I checked it out on the Kindle library, and to my surprise, Even the Darkest Stars was far more multilayered and intriguing than I thought!
Enjoy this week’s review!
Even the Darkest Stars (Even the Darkest Stars, #1)
For as long as she can remember, Kamzin has longed to be among the Royal Explorers of the Empire, traveling to faraway lands and discovering places and things beyond the human imagination. She knows her fantasy may be nothing more than a pipe dream, but she can’t help holding onto it.
To her surprise, River Shara, one of the Empire’s most famed explorers, and his crew arrive in her mountain village. What’s more, they demand that she be part of their mission to uncover an enchanted artifact hidden at the peak of Raksha, the tallest and most deadly mountain for miles. Kamzin gladly accepts his offer, but soon finds that River–along with the motives of his expedition–are far from what they seem…
Even the Darkest Stars stands out in the midst of YA fantasy, utilizing the concept of mountaineering–inspired by the early Everest expeditions–to make for a twisty, unique adventure!
My favorite part had to be all of the mythological lore surrounding Raksha, and all of the magical creatures in and around it. Witches? Ghosts? Demonic familiars? Mildly terrifying human-bird hybrid…things? (And a certain adorable fox?) You want it, Even the Darkest Stars has it all.
The lush writing made for a beautifully atmospheric novel, one that made you feel the chill of the night wind, the palpable terror of the characters, and the awe of seeing and scaling a formidable mountain. I’m glad to say that the cover most definitely does the novel justice–the imagery is beautiful in both respects! (And I’m a sucker for anything teal, so there’s that.)
For the most part, I liked the characters. Kamzin was fairly likable, as was Tem (though the latter didn’t have as big a role in the novel). Although it was very predictable that something was up with River from the beginning, I still liked seeing his character evolve (devolve?) throughout the course of the journey. And then…ehhh, we got another love triangle…
The more well-executed parts of the novel made it slightly more bearable, but did we really have to do that again? Did we? I mean, as much as I liked Tem, I don’t think there was even any need for him in the story, in the first place. His actions with Kamzin did further the story a bit, they didn’t serve for much character development. Sigh…
And the ENDING. Even the Darkest Stars was absolutely PACKED with exciting twists at the end, and now I’m so excited to read the sequel! And no spoilers, but I did get a bit choked up…
Overall, a lushly written YA fantasy, though slightly dampened by a love triangle, that set itself apart in the vast subgenre. 3.75 stars for me, rounded up to 4!
Even the Darkest Stars is the first in a duology, ending with All the Wandering Light. Aaaaaaand of course, it’s not available on the Kindle library…[incoherent screaming]
The melody of this one just popped into my head at random today…oh, and happy birthday, Win Butler! 🙂
That’s it for this week’s Book Review Tuesday! Have a wonderful day, and take care of yourselves!