Even the Darkest Stars
By Heather Fawcett
“The days had been grueling, certainly – but they had also brought moments of exquisite wonder unlike anything I had ever experienced, a wonder so complete I felt like an ember stoked to life by a gust of wind.”
SYNOPSIS: Kamzin and her family live in a small village, high up in the mountainous region of Azmiri. She has always dreamed of becoming a royal explorer, charting and exploring the unknown wilderness on the outskirts of the empire. So when River Shara, the most renowned explorer in the empire, arrives in her village seeking her sister Lusha as a guide, Kamzin dedicates herself to impressing River enough to take her along. When an unexpected chain of events leads Kamzin to embark on the journey of a lifetime, she must battle the elements in a desperate race to the summit of Raksha, a peak no mortal has ever reached, with the fate of an empire in her hands.
WHAT I LIKED:
-THE IMAGERY – BE STILL MY BEATING HEART
“We emerged…just as the sun was setting behind the mountains, stepping into the early twilight. The clouds that clung to the horizon, dark and threatening, had split like ice into smaller fragments, which were stained now with orange and gold.”
I’m still in shock over the sheer beauty of this book. I can’t recall a single other novel that has made me feel so incredibly immersed in the setting. It doesn’t hurt that I’m in love with mountains, and that this books happens to be set in a mountainous region. Everything from the peaks to the valleys to the stars were described in such exquisite detail that I felt as though I were with Kamzin every step of her journey.
-THE WRITING STYLE
I am a lover of words – what can I say? Fawcett’s writing style was poetic without being too convoluted. I occasionally had to stop and reread sentences, just because I was amazed by how smooth and lyrical they were. This gave the story an enchanted feel, which helped immerse me in the truly spectacular, otherworldly setting.
-AN ADVENTUROUS QUEST
Why don’t books have epic quests anymore? I love a good old-fashioned adventure! Kamzin has a serious case of wanderlust, and it was absolutely contagious. I was riveted by the characters’ journey, and I appreciated Fawcett’s attention to detail when it came to describing supplies, climbing gear, and climate. Overall, this book left me itching to go climb a mountain.
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE:
-A COUPLE UNFORTUNATE TROPES
Okay, so while I adored everything about this book, a few of the characters fell into some familiar YA tropes. Handsome, mysterious love interest? Check! Sisterly rivalry? Check! A Very Special™ main character? Check! HOWEVER, this hardly brought down my rating. Why? There are certain things I can’t mention because ~spoilers~ but I can say that some of these tropes, in my opinion, were played with and subverted in interesting ways. I love when authors do this. It made certain events in the novel seem shocking and unexpected, because familiar tropes trick us into reading with a particular set of expectations. While this might not be for everyone, I found it added another dimension to the story.
This book captured me, plain and simple. I found myself racing to finish it at 3 am, dying to know how it ended. There were plenty of clever plot twists; some I predicted, and some took me completely by surprise. The romance was compelling, but didn’t, in my opinion, dominate the story. Kamzin was a relatable, realistic protagonist, and I admired her strength – a strength that didn’t come from being unfeeling, sarcastic, or confrontational, as most “strong” female characters in fantasy are. I have never read anything that comes close to the unique setting, and overall, it gave me a feeling of wonder and magic that completely enraptured me. Also, it has miniature, household dragons. What could be better than that?
NOTE: If you read this book, fall in love, and, like me, NEED more, I have good news! The sequel, All the Wandering Light, is coming December of 2018!
IF YOU LIKED…
If you’re a fan of quest novels, like The Hobbit, or gorgeously realized fantasy worlds, like Strange the Dreamer, Even the Darkest Stars is for you!