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Saturday, April 5, 2014

♠ SATURDAY RECOLLECTION - STAR CROSSED by Elizabeth Bunce (Thief Errant #1): A Warrior Fairy review

Digger thrives as a spy and sneak-thief among the feuding religious factions of Gerse, dodging the Greenmen who have banned all magic. But when a routine job goes horribly wrong and her partner and lover Tegen is killed, she has to get out of the city, fast, and hides herself in a merry group of nobles to do so.

Accepted as a lady's maid to shy young Merista Nemair, Digger finds new peace and friendship at the Nemair stronghold--as well as plenty of jewels for the taking.

But after the devious Lord Daul catches her in the act of thievery, he blackmails her into becoming his personal spy in the castle, and Digger soon realizes that her noble hosts aren't as apolitical as she thought... that indeed, she may be at the heart of a magical rebellion.

Originally reviewed on December 2011

Rating: 4 out of 5

When I read the book summary, I was reminded of another series I absolutely loved - The Queen's Thief by Megan Whalen Turner. (I've included it in my recommendations post here.) I've been looking for a book or series similar to it so imagine my excitement when I found Star Crossed. It sounded promising, a story full secrets, lies, mystery and political intrigue.

It started out confusing out first, with all the characters being thrown in there at once. It took a while to associate the names to the characters in my head, or maybe that was just me. There was no trouble after that. The characters were well fleshed out, and didn't fall flat. Bunce had the tendency to forget about a character once in a while, only to have them reappear again later in some kind of twist. It kept things interesting, because when you thought that particular character was inconsequential, it turns out they played a big role in the story after all. Each of the characters here had a purpose, and they weren't merely thrown in there for the sake of it.

The main thing I loved was the mystery. Nothing is what it seems here, not even Digger herself. There are a lot of twists and turns, and hints that make you want to keep turning the page, waiting to discover what it all means. I find political intrigue fascinating, and was glad that it was present in this book. It was good to see that the author didn't dumb it all down.

The prose was excellent. I found myself reading the same sentences again, just because I liked the way the words flowed into one another. This was told in first person as well, so it felt like I understood Digger more than I would have if this was written in third. I also loved the world building here. I could picture Gerse - with Hanivard Palace, Seventh Circle and etc, Bryn Shaer with all the snow surrounding it and more. It also had its own religion which imo, was quite well thought-out. I could actually believe it.

However, some things I didn't like. For one, if Digger's survival depended upon not being found, why is she always joined by someone whenever she goes to hide? There were also some things that were not that plausible. The main thing I didn't like though was that at the end, all of Digger's secrets came spilling out. I know secrets aren't good for anyone, but this was part of the intrigue the book held for me. How quickly she revealed herself turned me off a bit.

I had to knock off points for that, I'm sorry. I like my secrets just fine, especially in novels. It keeps things interesting. Despite all that though, it was an excellent read. I will definitely be following this series closely.

This review first appeared on Goodreads.



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