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Friday, 11 February 2011

Read, Review, Recommend (5)

PhotobucketThis week Emi from Oktopus Ink will be posting a guest review on my blog. I adore her. We have fabulous book chats and moan about school/college life :) She is just the sweetest thing. She will be reviewing Starcrossed by Elizabeth C. Bunce. Enjoy!


Title: StarCrossed (ARC) 
StarCrossed (Thief Errant, #1)Author: Elizabeth C. Bunce
Series: Thief Errant #1
Release Date: Oct. 1, 2010
Pages: 359 (hardcover)

The summary:
High in the snow-covered mountains of Llyvraneth, in a castle full of the country’s elite, Celyn Contrare serves as a lady-in-waiting to shy young Merista Nemair. Her days are spent dressing in velvet and brocade, attending Lady Merista, navigating court gossip, and charming noblemen over lavish feasts.

And at night, she picks locks, steals jewels, forges documents, and collects secrets. Because Celyn isn’t really a lady-in-waiting; she’s not even really Celyn Contrare. She’s Digger, a sneak-thief on the run from the king’s Inquisition, desperate to escape its cruel instruments and hatred of magic. If she’s discovered, it will mean certain death…

…But life as a lady-in-waiting isn’t safe either. The devious Lord Daul knows her secret, and he’s black mailing her to serve as his personal spy in the castle. What she discovers—about Daul, about Nemair, even about her own Lady Merista—could signal civil war in Llyvraneth. And for a thief trained never to get involved, taking sides could be the most dangerous job yet. 

And my review:
My initial feelings about this book were actually quite mixed. Names, places, gods, and customs in StarCrossed were flung around without much explanation in the beginning, and as a result made slipping into the world difficult. So difficult even, that I was prepared to walk away from this book and tell Alice that I would recommend something else for this week’s Read, Review, Recommend. But in the end, I stuck with it, and I’m glad that I did. The ending was worth the culture shock I felt for the first 40 pages, and now I’m more than happy to recommend the book to all of you--especially those of you who enjoy a good high fantasy or political mystery set in a royal court.

Despite my complaint above, Bunce really does do a superb job constructing the environment and weaving together the details that push the plot along. Secret letters with death warrants, castles with secret passages, and acts of forbidden magic are abundant in this world, and the political navigations of its characters are complex. Digger’s search to uncover the truth about the Nemair family was full of surprises, and there is absolutely no way in Tiboran’s luck that I could have guessed that the novel would unfold the way that it did. It was exciting—so exciting that I swear my palms were actually sweating towards the end of the book. In addition, the magic system in this world was refreshingly original with its own rules and history—an automatic plus in my book.

As for Digger, at first I didn’t care all that much for her. As an admitted thief, forger, and professional liar, she proved true to her profession and was a very unreliable narrator, lying at just about every opportunity to share something about herself worth sharing. Her alliances were always shifting to meet the needs of her survival, and as a result it was difficult to outline her true personality. But her sharp tongue and itchy curiosity were fun to watch, and by the time she realized that she was too caught up in political scandal to make her escape, she began to change, becoming a character worth cheering for. She’s quite clever (sort of a given, since you need some amount of smarts to survive as a thief), caring, and more heroic than she cares to admit. Without her nobody would have…well, I guess I don’t want to spoil that for you, do I?! Just know that despite her previous track record, Digger does the right thing in the end. In addition, the way Digger interacts with the secondary characters as she fishes for information gives them depth and importance. It’s always nice to see that the names we’re forced to remember play a vital role towards the end of the book.

Overall, StarCrossed was a book that I really enjoyed. Do I wish some things were different? Yes, especially in the beginning. But the plot was easy enough to get wrapped up in, and Bunce did a great job setting things up for us in book two. As the characters lean forward on the precipice of chaos, I’m leaning out of my seat in anticipation. And if the sequel is anything like StarCrossed, then it should be an exciting read! This will be a book that I reread for years to come. 


What a fabulous review. Make sure you check out Emi's blog Oktopus Ink. You won't regret it!


  1. I love the names the author used for characters and places.

  2. Oooh, the review looks great posted on your blog, Alice! Thanks so much for letting me come onto your blog and guest post! <3

  3. Cozy in Texas: Aren't they great?

    Emi: Thanks Emi :) No, thank you for agreeing to take part <3

  4. I LOVE this book! I also didn't love it in the beginning. I had a hard time connecting with Digger and I was a little confused as to where everything was going to go. But then, oh wow, I really started getting wrapped up in all the intrigue and Digger became a much more likable character. Great, great review!

  5. Didn't she do a fabulous job? I love the amount of detail she included. I can't wait to read this.

  6. I love hearing this. It's great when suddenly you get totally hooked after being just about to put the book down :)

  7. Isn't it a great feeling? You feel so thankful that you didn't give up!

  8. It reminds me of The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner, only with a girl protagonist. I'll have to check this one out.

  9. I think I will have to check out The Thief now, if it sounds as good as this!


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