Thank you so much to HarperCollins/Balzer+Bray for sending me a copy of EVEN THE DARKEST STARS for review!
Kamzin has always dreamed of becoming one of the Emperor’s royal explorers, the elite climbers tasked with mapping the wintry, mountainous Empire and spying on its enemies. She knows she could be the best in the world, if only someone would give her a chance.
But everything changes when the mysterious and eccentric River Shara, the greatest explorer ever known, arrives in her village and demands to hire Kamzin—not her older sister Lusha, as everyone had expected—for his next expedition. This is Kamzin’s chance to prove herself—even though River’s mission to retrieve a rare talisman for the emperor means climbing Raksha, the tallest and deadliest mountain in the Aryas. Then Lusha sets off on her own mission to Raksha with a rival explorer who is determined to best River, and Kamzin must decide what’s most important to her: protecting her sister from the countless perils of the climb or beating her to the summit.
The challenges of climbing Raksha are unlike anything Kamzin expected—or prepared for—with avalanches, ice chasms, ghosts, and even worse at every turn. And as dark secrets are revealed, Kamzin must unravel the truth of their mission and of her companions—while surviving the deadliest climb she has ever faced.
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I was first drawn to EVEN THE DARKEST STARS because it seemed...different. A main character who wasn't a warrior, wasn't the next best magician, wasn’t the smartest bookworm in the realm...but was a cartographer. An aspiring traveler. A through and through adventurer. Um, yes please.
Kamzin’s story is fantastic. From the first chapter I was drawn to her character, to how rough but lovable she is, to how just plain fun she was to read about. She's an imperfect character that I couldn't help but love and sympathize with, and as her adventure unfolded I was drawn deeper and deeper into the story until I found myself sitting in a hot car because I couldn't possibly move until I'd finished the book.
Even the Darkest Stars is easily one of my favorite reads of the year, and it's a truly unique fantasy experience. It did put me in mind of the Grisha trilogy at certain points, so I highly recommend it for fans of Leigh Bardugo, but really I think it would be a great addition to any fantasy/adventure-lover’s shelf, and it really stands on its own. The writing is strong, the characters are compelling and never felt cookie-cutter to me, and the story is one whirlwind after another.
I have to say, my favorite part was the ending. Throughout the entire book I just felt like something was up. And something was TOTALLY up. I love twisty endings and this one delivered so hard- like I said, I couldn't get out of the car until I'd finished it. AND THEN. There was another twist right at the very end that I never saw coming but ooooooh man. So. Good. And I just know that the sequel is going to be even better.
Heather Fawcett has crafted a brilliant adventure in EVEN THE DARKEST STARS. She's an author I think everyone should keep an eye on, and this book is one that you want to read as soon as you can.
EVEN THE DARKEST STARS hits shelves Sept. 5! Preorder your copy now:
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