‘Even The Darkest Stars’ by Heather Fawcett was a surprise. I’m not sure why I set out thinking I wasn’t going to like it because clearly, I’m stupid.
Whilst training (and failing) to become the next village shaman, Kamzin welcomes the kingdom’s greatest Royal Explorer, River Shara, whilst he gathers supplies for his next big expedition. River is not what Kamzin expected and together they set out on a race to Mount Raksha where a powerful talisman lies all but forgotten. However things are not as they seem, and death is always around the corner, much like secrets.
Kamzin, I liked a lot. I could feel how over shadowed she felt regarding Lusha and I understood why she wanted to become the next Royal Explorer. With Lusha in their village, Kamzin would be forced to become the next Shaman and she would forever be pigeon-holed into something she isn’t. Whereas, if she set out with River and helped him to complete his Royal mission, there was a chance she could outshine her sister for the first time in her life.
I enjoyed the play between Kamzin and River more than I would like to admit. I was shipping them hard and cursed Tem’s every interference. I didn’t even care about River’s true identity as I had guessed his lineage several chapters before the secret was outed. River’s character and personality corresponds well with Kamzin and their connection was palpable. The bargain he made with the fire demon piqued my interest from the moment it was mentioned and I think the soul eating factor added an emotional quality to the story that allowed me to connect on a level I wasn’t prepared for.
The fictional world that Fawcett has created here is very intriguing. If she was to release a little book explaining all the monsters and creatures you could find in her world, I would be the first there to buy it. The fiangul and their odd storm are quite terrifying and Fawcett did well to convey that sense of fear. The witches and their transformation abilities sound interesting and I look forward to seeing them in the sequel, because lets face it, after that ending, it’s inevitable. Speaking of that ending, I loved it. I really did. I had my suspicions about a few things and I relished the way Fawcett wrote those final scenes. They were tense, emotional and entirely thrilling.
I found myself pondering this book a great deal when I wasn’t reading it. Somehow, it really caught my attention and wouldn’t let me out of it’s tight grasp. It was written well, and thankfully didn’t over explain/detail the intricacies of climbing mountains, etc. I don’t usually have an interest for expedition-type books but the story had enough of a hold that I enjoyed it immensely.
“He could have been describing a pulled muscle, his tone was so mild, rather than the feeling of some otherworldly creature devouring pieces of his soul.”
I received this in Fairyloot’s September ‘All That Sass’ box.
You can get it here