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Fantasy Celebration: Review: Starcrossed by Elizabeth Bunce

Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books
Where did you get the book: Purchased
Release date: Out now

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.

*blurb taken from Goodreads*

It’s been a while since I read a fantasy YA that I really enjoyed, so when Has sent me this blurb, I liked the look of it right off the bat. I always like protagonists who are thieves and I’m pretty sureit stems from my love of the character, Jimmy the Hand, from Raymond E Feist’s Riftwar novels from when I was a teen.

The beginning of the story starts off slow, and it starts off with Digger losing her lover and partner, Tegan, who was also a thief. At first I found it hard to get into Starcrossed because I didn’t know the world building and it wasn’t explained, so it was more of learning as you read along type of thing and even then I struggled, and after reading the book, I’m still not sure of how the world is built. There are gods and goddesses and they are somehow based upon the moons. Even now, I’m still hazy. Magic is not allowed and any hint of it has been beaten down, tortured and killed. But there are people who still use magic, and these people are either in hiding or have been driven out. Digger doesn’t have magic per say, but she can sense and see people with magic.

I didn’t really enjoy the book because of the world building which is a strange thing to say for a fantasy book, but what I enjoyed the most was the heroine, Digger. She’s no ‘I only steal from the rich to give to the poor type of thief’. Digger and Tegan were paid and did spy for those who wanted information, and one of their motto’s was never get involved, do the job and don’t wonder about the politics or how it will affect people. And it was refreshing having a heroine who kept on thieving throughout the book — for her own good reasons — without feeling guilt.

After Digger meets these young noble women and men (nobs as she fondly calls them) she ends up being a maid to Merista, and once she is taken to her home, Digger is once again spying and thieving. And she ends up in this role because she tries to pick the man who blackmails her, Daul, who is foster brother to Merista’s Father. Digger doesn’t feel comfortable spying and thieving from the family who has taken her in, but she has no choice. This time the stakes are much higher and as she becomes friends with Merista and her family, it soon becomes apparent that this family is more than just nice people. There’s a magic rebellion in the air, and Digger soon realises she’s in the middle of it.

Starcrossed is not a fast paced story, but it does pick up halfway through and there’s no romance in the first book. Digger has to learn to grieve for Tegan and she has to come to terms with his death. I think I know who her love interest will be in future books, and I like who he is. He’s not the classic handsome hero, but someone with mousy hair which was super refreshing. Digger also has a secret past, but don’t worry, she doesn’t turn out to be a long lost princess!

The magic is also very weak, and we don’t see a lot of it. The characters are the strongest points in this book, and Digger does make for a compelling heroine. All in all, I quite enjoyed Starcrossed but I so wish the world building had been stronger and better explained because it let the story down. But I look forward to seeing more of Digger and what the magic rebellion will do.

I give Starcrossed a B-.

 

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