Tuesday, July 20, 2010

CSFF Blog Tour, Starlighter, Day 2


***Warning: There are SPOILERS in this post***

I’ve discovered that reviewing books is not easy for me. Sure, my husband and I may have lengthy discussions about this book or that book that we’ve read – what we liked, didn’t like, etc. I definitely don’t pull my punches in those conversations. But when it comes to putting my thoughts on paper (or the computer screen in this case), I become a little hesitant. I just really don’t like the idea of saying something negative out in the open where anyone (read: the author) might read it.

At the same time, I definitely believe in honesty, so honesty is what you’ll get.

I liked Starlighter. Really, I did. But I didn’t love it. The story was intriguing, the characters were admirable (at least, those that were meant to be), the action was fast-paced, but it just didn’t grab me the way my favorite books do.

I really loved the idea of two different worlds, both with legends about the other, connected by a mysterious portal. Additionally, the search for (and hopefully, rescue of) the slaves that used to call Major Four their home makes for a great plot. While the first chapter drew me in, I definitely felt like something was missing at times. It was kind of back and forth between being intrigued, and waiting to be intrigued again.

One of the things that seemed lacking was the character development. I like well-developed and three dimensional characters, and I just didn’t feel that I knew most of the characters very well at all. It was hard to guess at their motivations at times, and so some of their actions and decisions seemed staged.

Koren, however, was an exception to this. I think that the opportunity she had to tell her background story did a lot to help me understand where she was coming from. It was easy to see why she would be so eager to help her fellow slaves after all she had been through and witnessed, and her strong belief in a loving Creator gave credibility to the trust she had that all would work out in the end. She is heroic and self-sacrificing, but also flawed, as shown by her threat to end the life of the dragon prince, even if her motivation was to help Jason. She is a character that I care about, and I want to know what happens to her.

Of course, at the same time I found Arxad’s character interesting because I didn’t know much about his motivations. But I think that works well for a supporting character. It throws a little mystery in there. And I do like a little mystery.

Another difficult point for me, as other participants have mentioned, is the presence of both magical and technological elements in the story. While I don’t think magic and technology are mutually exclusive, they didn’t seem to mesh well in this case. It might just be my own hang up of needing to know how things work (magic, tech or otherwise). I was satisfied by the explanation that extane is the fuel for the glowing energy channels, but there are so many other things in the story that go unexplained. How do the people of Mesolantrum possess things like courier tubes and photo guns, and how was Uriel Blackstone able to construct the portal and the complicated mechanisms surrounding it? And what is the Reflections Crystal, and how does it tell if someone is lying? I hope we will find out more in the books to come.

While Starlighter wasn’t quite as gripping as I’d hoped it would be, I am definitely still interested in the story and I intend to read the rest of the series as it is published. More to come tomorrow!

Disclaimer: In conjunction with the CSFF blog tour, I received a free copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions expressed are my own.

See what the other participants have to say about the book:

Brandon Barr - Beckie Burnham - Jeff Chapman - R. L. Copple - CSFF Blog Tour - Stacey Dale - D. G. D. Davidson - Jeff Draper - April Erwin - Andrea Graham - Tori Greene - Nikole Hahn - Ryan Heart - Becky Jesse - Cris Jesse - Jason Joyner - Julie Carol Keen - Krystine Kercher - Dawn KingLeighton - Jane Maritz - Rebecca LuElla Miller - John W. Otte - Donita K. Paul - Crista RicheySarahFlan - Chawna Schroeder - Rachel Starr Thomson - Steve Trower - Fred Warren - Dona Watson - Phyllis Wheeler - Jill Williamson - KM Wilsher

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the balanced review. I appreciate it.

    Many have wondered about the odd mix of technology. There is a reason. Stay tuned! :-)

    Bryan Davis