Series: Even the Darkest Stars #1
Published by Balzer + Bray (9.5.2017)
Genres: High Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: Hardcover, 432 pages
Source: I own it
Kamzin has always dreamed of becoming one of the emperor’s royal explorers, the elite climbers tasked with mapping the wintry, mountainous Empire and spying on its enemies. She knows she could be the best in the world, if only someone would give her a chance.
But everything changes when the mysterious and eccentric River Shara, the greatest explorer ever known, arrives in her village and demands to hire Kamzin—not her older sister, Lusha, as everyone had expected—for his next expedition. This is Kamzin’s chance to prove herself—even though River’s mission to retrieve a rare talisman for the emperor means cimbing Raksha, the tallest and deadliest mountain in the Aryas. Then, Lusha sets off on her own mission to Raksha with a rival explorer, and Kamzin must decide what’s most important to her: protecting her sister from the countless perils of the climb or beating her to the summit.
The challenges of climbing Raksha are unlike anything Kamzin expected—or prepared for—with avalanches, ice chasms, ghosts, and other dangers at every turn. And as dark secrets are revealed, Kamzin must unravel the truth about their mission and her companions—while surviving the deadliest climb she has ever faced.
Even the darkest stars shone here, so far from the earth.
I don’t really know what I was expecting going into this one. I hadn’t heard much about it, but a lot of my bookish friends loved it. I think going in with little expectations and little knowledge of what the book was about worked in my favor, because I really enjoyed it!!
The main complaint I have about this book is that it is really slow. Not much happens other than climbing for a good portion of it. In fact, it goes into pretty gory detail about said climbing. And, unless you’re a mountain climber for a living and have a great passion for climbing (which I am not and do not), it’s boring.
But, that being said, it didn’t ruin the book for me. My attention waned in a couple of places and I had to do a bit of skimming, but the world was so beautiful and intriguing that I never lost interest! Shamans, witches, fire demons – this book was so magical! I loved the feel this book had – like a fresh blanket of snow on a still, starry night. (But magical!!) It sounds weird but that’s how it felt. It was unlike anything I’ve ever read before!
I didn’t care much for the main character – I found her rather flat. I didn’t care about her best friend much either. I was super intrigued by River, though! And I especially loved Ragtooth and Azar-at! (What does it say about me that two of my fave characters were animals) I freaking LOVE Ragtooth!!!! View Spoiler »RAGTOOTH NOOOO!!! OMG WHY. I knew he was going to die, but I cried. I loved him so much :( « Hide Spoiler
Hearts of shadow, eyes of flame. None escape who witches claim.
This book is basically a story about climbing Mount Everest, but with magic. There’s real dangers – starvation, frostbite, avalanches – but also scary magical ones too; like witches, creepy bird-demons, and mountain guardian ghosts. If it weren’t for the magical qualities of this book being so interesting and epic, I have no doubt I would have been bored. Sorry, but climbing a mountain is not something I want to read about. *shrugs* But, those magical qualities were there, so I found myself drinking up this stunning and vivid world, wanting more! You don’t know much about the witches or the illusive talisman, so the air of mystery surrounding it really draws you in.
THAT ENDING!! I was totally not expecting that! I’m kind of pleased with the way things left off and I definitely want to pick up the next book to see where the story goes!
Writing style: 3.5/5
Overall rating: 4/5