AUTHOR’S WEBSITE: https://haileygriffiths.com/
SERIES: The Vale of Stars
PUBLISHED: January 29, 2019 (Self-published)
GENRE: Young Adult
Would you bargain your soul for a secret?
Elle has a plan.
It involves marrying the wrong man, but that’s a small price to pay to finally get the one thing she’s always wanted — the locations of Godstars, and with it, her destined magic.
But Elle’s not the only one who’s been plotting.
On the eve of her betrothal, Elle is betrayed. Unless she wants to spend the rest of her life as a puppet in a cage, she has no choice but to flee.
And that’s not even the worst part…
An ancient enemy has breached the Mistwall, and without the Godstars, Elle can’t save her people from the Fire Mages. What she needs is her magic, but what she gets is a sarcastic prince…
When Kaiserian, an invader-turned-traitor, saves Elle’s life, she must decide if trusting him will save her people — or doom them.
Starheart is an epic, magical tale for fans of Naomi Novik’s fairytales and Susan Dennard’s Witchlands.
This was the first book out of my assigned SPFBO mini-batch I chose to pick up, because I was in dire need of some YA escapism. Starheart is a remarkably whimsical story defined by a uniquely enchanting world; one that is far too easy to lose yourself in. The setting is beautifully illustrated, and reminiscent of one within a fairytale with surprises everywhere the eye lands. The imaginative trials faced, and the wicked villains we’re introduced to were among some of my favorite aspects of this book. Additionally, the writing is solid, the underlying mystery is alluring, and it was difficult to decipher who was friend and who was foe (something I always appreciate in a story).
While I found the second half of the book a charming experience, the first half was pretty difficult for me, as I felt there was an unnecessary amount of fluff preventing a real sense of urgency from forming. I sense the world itself has a deep history below the surface just waiting to be discovered, but many of these indications are mentioned with little to no details, and those are often vague, as well – almost as if there was a book I should’ve read before this one. The characters we follow, although adults, seem childish and flat at times, unfortunately preventing me from truly bonding with them. All things considered, I’m glad I continued through this book, as that final half was exactly what I was looking for – I only wish the fascinating bits began just a tad earlier.