You Read What? Book Reviews: Starling

Author(s): Lesley Livingston

Publisher: HarperCollins

  • Imprint: HarperTeen

Date Published: August 28th 2012

Synopsis:

Mason Starling is a champion fencer on the Gosforth Academy team, but she’s never had to fight for her life. Not until the night a ferocious, otherworldly storm rips through Manhattan, trapping Mason and her teammates inside the school. Mason is besieged by nightmarish creatures more terrifying than the thunder and lightning as the raging tempest also brings a dangerous stranger into her life: a young man who remembers nothing but his name–the Fennrys Wolf. His arrival tears Mason’s world apart, even as she feels an undeniable connection to him. Together, they seek to unravel the secrets of Fenn’s identity as strange and supernatural forces gather around them. When they discover Mason’s family–with its dark allegiance to ancient Norse gods–is at the heart of the mystery, Fennrys and Mason are suddenly faced with a terrifying future.

Set against the gritty, shadowed back-drop of New York City, this first novel in award-winning author Lesley Livingston’s epic Starling Saga is an intoxicating blend of sweeping romance and pulse-pounding action.

Number of Days It Took to Read: 4

Cover: I love this cover. The way the title reflects off the water. The model wading through the water with a striking look and surrounded by fog. The coloring is great as well (various blues such as indigo, light blue, dark etc). Most importantly, I love the title itself. I personally have issues thinking up of a decent title for any of my creative pieces at school and this one is memorable especially when trying to hunt it down at a bookstore or library.

The Writing Score: 4 out of 5

Recommendation: A Casual Perusal that became a Must Read.

Memorable or Forgettable: Memorable

Rating: 4 out of 5

Review:

I can’t wait for the next book!

Now, I’d like to start off by saying that, yes, it took me four days to read this book but it had nothing to do with the book itself. I just happen to be really busy with other things while reading it.

As you can see on my recommendation, I was going to brand this a casual perusal half way through the book because the middle of it got a bit slow for me. Especially since it started off with fast pacing. It was slow but not any less interesting and it rewarded readers with quickened pace at the end along with a painstaking cliff hanger that has me crying out “WHYYYYYY????”.

The story itself is an interesting one. This series is connected to Livingston’s previous series, Wondrous Strange, and the best part is that even if you haven’t read that series, you’ll still understand what’s going on (I’ve read the first book in the series in high school and didn’t get a chance to read the other two) and if you did read the series, you’ll appreciate the references given in it. This story weaves in many different mythologies from around the world (Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Celtic etc) but focus’ mainly on the Norse mythology. The world building and the mythology is done effortlessly and having it set in modern New York City just adds to it. It’s similar to many other urban fantasies in that it places fantastical stuff in an urban setting but the uniqueness lies in the use of the mythology itself (Norse Mythology) especially one that isn’t done as often as say the Olympians.

The writing overall was alright and that’s because there wasn’t anything that jumped out at me as particularly poetic BUT it did shine in the actions sequences. Specifically the fencing which, as a reader who loves learning about new things in the books I read, I really loved. I could picture the stances, the thrusting of swords and, more importantly, it made me want to research fencing in greater detail (and have Mason’s sword which I’ll just have to add to the wish list that already houses a private train and an estate).

I enjoyed the characters. The book was written in 3rd person and offered multiple perspectives. Mason was a realistic heroine who I could relate and I think it’s due to the fact that she’s given a very ordinary weakness (claustrophobia ). Fennrys Wolf is my all time favourite character at the moment (plus he’s HOT but that’s not a deciding factor in this decision. Promise). Rory has made it to my list of literary assholes. All of these things are great because it means I’m invested in the story and it’s characters. I do have some issues though. Since we’re given multiple views of characters, I would have liked to see more of the other characters like Heather (so funny), Calum (what happened with the water people?), Daria and Roth. Mostly I’d have liked to see more of Gunnar given his particular…fascination…that basically drives the story.

Overall, it was a great read and I’m eagerly anticipating the second book. In the mean time, I’ll be researching Norse mythology (and no. Just because you know about Thor in the Marvel comics, doesn’t make you an expert…or so I’m told…).

A. A. Omer

The opinions expressed here are mine and readers are welcome to disagree. In fact, I encourage it! I never believed in putting particular books or authors on some sort of universal pedestal but you’re free to put it on your individualized pedestal because I most certainly will.

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