Friday, September 28, 2012

Starling: review

Title: Starling (Starling #1)
Author: Lesley Livingston
Genres: mythology, urban fantasy
Rating: 3.9 stars
Summary: Mason Starling is a champion fencer on the Gosforth Academy team, but she's never had to fight for her life. Not until the night a ferocious, otherworldly storm rips through Manhattan, trapping Mason and her teammates inside the school. Mason is besieged by nightmarish creatures more terrifying than the thunder and lightning as the raging tempest also brings a dangerous stranger into her life: a young man who remembers nothing but his name--the Fennrys Wolf. His arrival tears Mason's world apart, even as she feels an undeniable connection to him. Together, they seek to unravel the secrets of Fenn's identity as strange and supernatural forces gather around them. When they discover Mason's family--with its dark allegiance to ancient Norse gods--is at the heart of the mystery, Fennrys and Mason are suddenly faced with a terrifying future.

Set against the gritty, shadowed back-drop of New York City, this first novel in award-winning author Lesley Livingston's epic Starling Saga is an intoxicating blend of sweeping romance and pulse-pounding action.

I'll start off by saying I'm already a fan of Lesley Livingston; I read her Wondrous Strange trilogy in the span of two days. (I love anything Shakespeare, if you haven't gotten that already.) When I heard about this book, I didn't know until quite a while later, that it was a spin-off series, sort of centering around the supporting character, Fennrys. Now Fenn was never my favorite character and tended to keep me on edge whenever he appeared, but I was intrigued all the same and was excited to read Starling. Here are my thoughts upon finishing it.

The cover is really eye catching. The color tone fits the plot, and the girl on the front actually looks a lot like how Mason is described. Except her eyes aren't blue enough. (Her eyes were mentioned approximately a dozen times. :P) Wait, why is she walking through water and wearing Pan's pipes?

As soon as I read the blurb on the back, I clicked it to-read. Our heroine is a fencer. That's right; so she's going to be awesome. How unique is that? This is coming from a sabre fencer I might add, so that statement might be just a tiny bit biased . And overall I think this sport is a real part of the story. Mason is constantly practicing and you can tell it's really important to her. It's not like school, which is just mysteriously blown off, like many paranormal books usually do. She actually goes to practice and that proves she has a life outside of these pages.

Another thing that surprised me is that Mason has siblings. I know, right? And they actually have lines! No matter that they're all working together with an evil master-plan to sell her soul to save humanity...but they're alive and kicking! I really liked that. You might also like this blog post by Justine Larbalestier.

The pace of Starling is where it loses some star-points...It starts off with a quite literal bang of a huge unnatural thunderstorm, but then after about 50 pages of action, the story slows like a lot and I almost got bored. 100 pages later another action scene and then 20 pages after that, conversation again. I mean, you can only have so many conversations with an amnesic guy.

More on that amnesia thing. If I had known Fenn wouldn't even know who he was in this story, I would have picked it up expecting something different. Plots regarding memory always make me go ehhh......but it wasn't too bad. No strong opinions about it. Mostly it seemed like an easy escape to start an old character over again.

The romance aspect was mild. I didn't feel any chemistry between Mason and Fenn, but it was sweet I guess. Mostly it was Fenn drooling over her eye color, I mean really. It's not that I didn't particularly like it, I just didn't feel any strong connection between them. As of now, there is no strong third point to a triangle though.

I guess I expected to LOVE this, but it's more like I "really enjoyed" Starling. After that rather abrupt cliffy, it of course makes me want to read the next one...but it won't be at the very top of my can't-wait-for list. I still for sure recommend Starling for any fan of paranormal.


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  1. I've just now realized- memory loss protagonist switches seems to be trending. That's Starling and Percy Jackson (well, at least in the first two books...). In one year.

    1. You're right!! I bet I could find more if I tried. But I'd just complain more, so... :D