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StarCrossed

StarCrossed is a YA Renaissance-era fantasy adventure by Elizabeth C. Bunce.

Sixteen-year-old Digger’s past is a closely guarded secret. For years now she has been a thief, working with her more-than-partner Tegen on many jobs inside the city of Gerse.

But her way of life has finally caught up with her. One of the Greenmen, officers and bullies of the secret guard of the king – executers of the staunch law against practicing religion for any god other than Celys – were about to catch her and Tegen as they celebrated over a just-completed job.

Now she’s bloody, on the run, and mourning a surely dead partner.

While trying to get out of the city, Digger comes across a boat full of young nobility and plays along as they invite her aboard. Before she knows it she is in the snowy, cold mountains of Llyvraneth in a castle full of some of the top family’s in the country.

Not exactly low-profile.

Yet she’s far away from immediate danger. Or so she thinks.

Digger is lady-in-waiting to sweet Merista Nemair – until reality crashes when a man named Lord Daul arrives at the castle and insinuates knowing all her secrets, and threatening to air them all out for her new masters to see.

He blackmails her to make her skills of lock picking, sneaking, stealing, and forging to his own ends. But as she does, Digger realizes that the safe refuge of the castle may be brimming with far more inflammatory activites…

She might’ve been better to stay in Gerse.

StarCrossed invokes a picture of religious tyranny that is extremely vivid and harsh as we enter Digger’s world. Bunce details this fantasy world in a way that you really need to pay attention as you read – which I love – but I did wish it’d pick up the pace just a tad.

Honestly, I thought Digger as a character was great. She really is the centerpiece of this adventure, which is far more about politics, secrets, deception, and intrigue than fantasy – but the hint of magic has such a sense of danger (from the religious tyranny and prosecution) that it is nerve-wracking.

StarCrossed has a definite flavor of Tamora Pierce – building a complicated, intricate, and extremely well thought out plot that gets increasingly suspenseful as the lies, deceit, spying, blackmailing, suspicious gatherings and conspiracies begin to be revealed and pile up around Digger, who starts to feel suffocated by it all and trapped by the surrounding snow.

I really enjoyed it, but always felt like I could like it more if there was maybe more dialogue and less description. I don’t know. Because I actually liked the description. So color me a fickle bibliophile.

Something kept me from loving it, which is too bad. But I really, really liked it. And there’s a BIG surprise late in the book that adds to all the smaller ones throughout StarCrossed that in the end left me with a smart, clever, very good book!

I would recommend StarCrossed very much; I’m just not jumping up and down about it.

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