Saturday, August 4, 2012

Book Review: Starling

Starling (Starling #1)
Published By:  Harper Teen
Publication Date:  August 28, 2012
Page Count:  352
Source:  ARC Kindly Provided by Publisher
  Audience:  Young Adult - Fantasy

Oh how I missed being in Lesley Livingston's awesome fictional universe!!  I absolutely loved her debut trilogy, Wondrous Strange, and specifically the Fennrys Wolf.  So, you can imagine how excited I was when we learned who was going to be part of her new trilogy -- you guessed it -- our beloved FENNRYS!! 

While it's not imperative to be familiar with the Wondrous Strange world before cracking open Starling, I will say that the events in those books do enhance this new story perfectly, and not to mention, they are just a great read in itself and I would encourage anyone who loves adventure, romance and mischievous faeries to pick them up.

Starling is the first book in what is promising to be another awesome trilogy and quite literally opens with a bang when a violent storm rolls in and an incredibly old oak tree comes crashing into the new gym at Gosforth Academy...accompanied by a legion of freakish demon things and -- guess who -- Fennrys!!  His entrance, not surprisingly, catches the attention of everyone at the practice...most notably Mason's.  And little did our protagonist, Mason Starling, anticipate that her expert fencing skills would be required in a very realistic way. 

Perhaps my most favourite aspect of this new book was that I loved getting to know the REAL Fennrys Wolf.  If you have read the Wondrous Strange books, you will remember that Fenn was a secondary character who made some questionable choices that came to fruition in the last book of the trilogy AND we thought we saw the last of him as he rode off with the Valkyrie, Olrun.  But oh no...here he is again, in the flesh...quite literally.  (You'll understand my meaning when you read that opening scene in Starling!) 

I knew there was so much more to Fennrys than what little we knew of him before.  And now, having no recollection of how he ended up in that gym on that fateful night, Fenn almost gets a 'do-over' -- to atone for his previous mistakes...if he could just remember them.  And as it turns out Fennrys, is a great hero.  As some of his memories slowly began to resurface, so did his amazing qualities come to light.  I knew, deep down, he was a good-guy.  He's complex in that he can be gentle (especially where Mason is concerned) but also fiercely savage when fighting for his (and her) life!

Mason Starling is another great heroine I enjoyed reading about.  She does come from a very privileged family so I wasn't sure about her relatability at first, but it never defined who she really was.  Mason is typical in many ways -- in that she has a crush on the hottest guy at school, she's studious, fully devoted to her fencing and is kind at heart.  She has her vulnerabilities too...including a severe case of claustrophobia thanks to an unfortunate incident that occurred when she was a child.  She has confidence when she is reminded of it.  Mason is totally committed to her passion for fencing with ambitions to make the Nationals team...and she's well on her way.  It's just that she never dreamed that her expert skills would come in handy in real life and death situations.

As much as Mason, at one time, had 'the hots' for Calum, it was Fennrys -- the enigmatic and mysterious stranger -- who quickly stole her heart.  Although I did appreciate that it wasn't an insta-love situation...she was wary of Fenn at first and they slowly got to know each other.  I loved how Fennrys didn't want to mess up his relationship with her and attempted to take things slow because he truly didn't know what he was getting her involved in. However, her life was already in danger and her destiny predetermined.  Mason also reminded Fennrys of someone he had, frustratingly, forgotten...but, once again, those of us who have read the Wondrous Strange books know all too well who he was remembering. 

The complimentary characters were developed just enough for their purposes in this installment but we were left wondering who had truly good motivations or bad or who was somewhere in between and I know we will get to know them more in the following books.

I loved how Lesley told her story on the foundation of the Norse mythology of Ragnarok (as well as a little bit of Greek and Egyptian lore, too).  I found myself 'Wiki'ing' all about it and it's fascinating.  The pace of the story was perfect with just enough action and intensity tempered with some lovely romantic scenes.  And I will have to warn you that there is quite a hefty cliffhanger at the end...and one that I didn't see coming...ensuring that I'll be reading the next book...which I would have done anyway!


Summary:

"Love is just the beginning... of the end."

Mason Starling is a champion fencer for Gosforth Academy, but she’s never had to fight for her life. Until now. When a ferocious storm rips through Manhattan and unleashes terrifying creatures onto Gosforth’s campus, Mason barely escapes alive. Without help from the mysterious stranger who appeared in the midst of the storm, she might not have made it at all. But now, in the aftermath, Mason’s life begins to spin dramatically, mystically out of control, and the only one who seems able to help her is the stranger who can remember nothing but his name: Fennrys Wolf.

As Mason and Fenn uncover more about Fenn’s past and the strange events that surround them, they realize that Mason’s family — and its dark allegiance to the ancient Norse gods — is at the center of everything. A predetermined fate seems to be closing in on Mason, but is it possible to change one’s destiny?

Readers who fell in love with Lesley Livingston’s Wondrous Strange trilogy and those who love Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series will be captivated by the sweeping romance and pulse-pounding action of Starling.




23 comments:

  1. Okay, how have I never even heard of this series ? It sounds amazing ! I found Cassie Clare interesting, so I will probably enjoy this one.

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    1. Oh!! You MUST check out Lesley's books, Kat C!!!! Her previous Wondrous Strange trilogy was an awesome read! And Starling is proving to be even better! It comes out at the end of this month!

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  2. Oohhhh this is the type of story that I LOVE to read!! I cannot wait to read this one!! The review of the book was amazing. I also love when books have a really good cliffhanger at the end especially when your not expecting one.

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    1. Thanks Lisa! It really was a great adventure! I hope you enjoy it when you are able to read it!

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  3. Thanks for sharing more about the secondary character.

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  4. I can't believe I haven't read anything by Lesley Livingston yet. I can see I've been missing out.

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  5. Love the idea of the mythology included. Thanks for your thoughts! Adding to my to-read list now:)

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  6. I hope you all enjoy Starling when you read it...and I do highly recommend Lesley's other books too...I loved the Wondrous Strange trilogy...and Once Every Never was quite good too!

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  7. I so want to read this! I think having Mason as a fencer is just cool and handy! Can't wait to read this one! Thanks for the review!

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  8. Mason was a really awesome protagonist! Her being a fencing competitor certainly added to her appeal for me too!

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  9. Sounds like a great book! Love it!

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  10. I have not heard of this series before, or read Wondrous Strange, but it sounds like a great story! I've enjoyed other mythology-based stories so I definitely need to at this to my TBR list.

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  11. This sounds really interesting. I enjoyed her fairy series and have been eager to read more from Lesley. Must check this one out.

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  12. This is a unique type of mythology - lovely review:)

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  13. The title reminds me of Graceling and since I loved Graceling and since this one is a fantasy book, I'm going to going to treat myself to this book VERY soon!

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  14. Thanks everyone! Lesley has a real gift for writing adventures...I hope you all enjoy this as much as I did!!

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  15. This one was actually on my list to buy with my Christmas money, but I think I will have to wait for the rest of them to come out. And I will absolutely be getting them then. I just can't handle starting another series, with cliffhangery endings. I might go nuts. But I will absolutely be reading it one day!

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  16. I know what you mean about cliffhangers! But I'm glad I read this immediately anyway! It was so good!!

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  17. Another one that I missed out on (for now) Thanks to you my TBR pile seems endless!

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  18. I haven't read anything by this author but I think I will checking her books out!

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  19. Is this the author's take on Greek mythology? I love reading about retelling of fairy tales and myths.

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  20. Anne, Starling was based mainly on Norse mythology...but some Greek legends mixed in too. It really was a great read! Thanks everyone!

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