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StarCrossed

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Author: Elizabeth C. Bunce

Published: October 1st 2010 by Arthur A. Levine Books

Format: Hardcover , 362 pages

Isbn: 9780545136051

Language: English


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Digger thrives as a spy and sneak-thief among the feuding religious factions of Gerse, dodging the Greenmen who have banned all magic. But when a routine job goes horribly wrong and her partner and lover Tegen is killed, she has to get out of the city, fast, and hides herself in a merry group of nobles to do so. Accepted as a lady's maid to shy young Merista Nemair, Digger Digger thrives as a spy and sneak-thief among the feuding religious factions of Gerse, dodging the Greenmen who have banned all magic. But when a routine job goes horribly wrong and her partner and lover Tegen is killed, she has to get out of the city, fast, and hides herself in a merry group of nobles to do so. Accepted as a lady's maid to shy young Merista Nemair, Digger finds new peace and friendship at the Nemair stronghold--as well as plenty of jewels for the taking. But after the devious Lord Daul catches her in the act of thievery, he blackmails her into becoming his personal spy in the castle, and Digger soon realizes that her noble hosts aren't as apolitical as she thought... that indeed, she may be at the heart of a magical rebellion.

30 review for StarCrossed

  1. 5 out of 5

    Tatiana

    3.5 stars I have mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, I liked many things about it. Publishers promise StarCrossed to be the next Megan Whalen Turner's The Thief-like experience. The book delivers on this promise, somewhat. The main character, Digger, is a thief and an extremely unreliable narrator - she lies, she steals, she has secrets. It makes the story interesting and twisty. The world of StarCrossed is wonderfully developed. It is rich and all-encompassing, starting with multiple 3.5 stars I have mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, I liked many things about it. Publishers promise StarCrossed to be the next Megan Whalen Turner's The Thief-like experience. The book delivers on this promise, somewhat. The main character, Digger, is a thief and an extremely unreliable narrator - she lies, she steals, she has secrets. It makes the story interesting and twisty. The world of StarCrossed is wonderfully developed. It is rich and all-encompassing, starting with multiple moons and a pantheon of gods and ending with elaborate history and social order of the country Digger lives in. After reading just the first couple of chapters I was amazed at the image of the world I had in my mind - how GREEN it was. You'll have to read the book to understand. And then there is THE INTRIGUE. A very good one which unfolds at a nice pace. On the other hand, there were some things that drove me nuts because they defied any logic. Digger is a thief and a liar, so of course, she is not a very believable narrator. But then she would do something that makes no sense. Such as, portrayed as a maid, a servant, she manages to get various nobs (noblemen) to reveal treasonous information about themselves and others to her! During casual dinner hall conversations! Why would they tell her anything? She is a nobody. Or there is another instance. One of the noblemen is arrested for treason and is being interrogated. Digger manages to get into the room to talk to the prisoner under a lame excuse - she has a tray of food to give to this prisoner! For goodness sake, that person is tied to a chair! Who would care if this prisoner is hungry if they are about to start torture? It happens on several occasions and can't be explained away by saying that the narrator doesn't tell us everything. I wonder why nobody questioned these lapses in logic while editing the book? The other complaint is that the first part of the book is filled with characters that never show up again. But I am guessing they will play bigger role in the sequel. I hope one of them will become Digger's love interest. This novel is pretty light on romance, unfortunately. And my last set of complaints is related to the book's design. First, StarCrossed needs a map! A lot of traveling takes place and the geographic location of various places is vital to the story, so a map would be a great help. And second, the font is very hard on the eyes. It is so small and blocky! It makes the text look much denser than it actually is. I think this particular font is more suitable for some non-fiction book rather than a YA fantasy novel. I know I've been griping about many things in this review, and yet there is a certain charm to this story. I want to know what happens next and how it all ends. I will definitely read the sequel.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Kogiopsis

    I was one of few people I know who was underwhelmed by Bunce's debut, A Curse Dark as Gold. Partly this was because it was oversold, rather like The Hunger Games was for me, and while both of those were good I never felt like they deserved the hype. Still, A Curse Dark as Gold was a very solid debut, and I would have picked up StarCrossed even if I hadn't heard raves from a lot of people I respected. This book has me wondering if I should go back and detract a star from A Curse Dark as Gold to pr I was one of few people I know who was underwhelmed by Bunce's debut, A Curse Dark as Gold. Partly this was because it was oversold, rather like The Hunger Games was for me, and while both of those were good I never felt like they deserved the hype. Still, A Curse Dark as Gold was a very solid debut, and I would have picked up StarCrossed even if I hadn't heard raves from a lot of people I respected. This book has me wondering if I should go back and detract a star from A Curse Dark as Gold to properly illustrate how much Bunce has grown. Her debut was a solid and interesting retelling but didn't really grab me or pull me along, and the writing was hard to read. StarCrossed is vivid, absorbing, much better written, and considerably more enjoyable because it doesn't feel like work, even once. The mythology of this world is wonderful- I loved the polytheism/monotheism conflict, and even more the fact that it didn't seem to be drawn from any existing real-world religions. How many times have I read about pantheons that are basically Greek with different names? This is not that at all. Also, props to Bunce for making some of the most significant deities goddesses. Albeit subtly, that changes the dynamic of the society very nicely. Digger, to me, was a very well-crafted main character. She was competent, but not omnipotent; she made mistakes but I never felt like she was stupid; she took a while developing emotional attachments to people but the reasons she eventually came to like them made a lot of sense. Her history and the way it was woven into the plot was great. I also liked that she was introduced with a love interest established, despite the fact that he died pretty much as soon as we met him (no, this doesn't count as a spoiler) because that seemed to preclude the possibility of romance in the rest of the novel. Win! The supporting characters all seemed very strong to me, and their politics and interactions interested me. Meri, the innocent, grew a lot over the course of the novel, even if readers didn't get to see most of it. The position she was in at the end makes me think that she's going to really mature over the course of the series, however long it may be. Her mother, Lady Lyllace, was a wonderful mentor for Digger and kinda assumed a maternal role, which was very sweet. Certain other characters whose names I can't disclose for fear of spoiling were wonderful- if you've read the novel, the 'carver' was my favorite. The pacing of the climax of this book was very good. I was a little confused as to who was where, but it came clear later, and the tension of the moment just kept me turning pages one after the other. The denouement was also well-handled, and neatly sets the characters off on more adventures without resorting to cheap tricks designed purely to extort money from hapless readers. (Ahem. Rachel Caine, Sophie Jordan, are you watching? This is how you start a series.) While not quite as toe-curlingly enjoyable as Brightly Woven or Armed and Magical were for me, StarCrossed is nonetheless a novel I'd recommend highly to almost anyone. Oh, one more thing. (view spoiler)[I'm still trying to decide if I ship Digger and Wierolf. On the one hand, their conversations were just delightful. On the other hand, as Isis mentioned in her review, a lot of their interactions were more sibling-like than romantic. Also, there's an age gap of unknown years between them. If anyone remembers how old the prince was, would you tell me please? Mostly this is curiosity; I love Daine and Numair from the Immortals Quartet by Tamora Pierce, after all, so age gaps aren't a huge issue for me. Even if I eventually conclude that they wouldn't be a good couple, can I just say that I loved Wierolf? He was a nice humorous addition for a while and then turned completely badass when he needed to be. (hide spoiler)]

  3. 5 out of 5

    Catie

    On the surface this book appears to contain all of my favorite things: intrigue and magic, thieves with dark Pasts, betrayal so tragic and conspiracy so…vast? Well, you get the picture. (view spoiler)[ THESE ARE A FEW OF MY FAAAAVORITE THIIIIIINGGS! (hide spoiler)] But a funny thing happened every time I cracked this book open: it knocked me out faster than a bottle of Nyquil. (Anyone else notice that they’ve taken the alcohol out of Nyquil recently? How am I supposed to get over my cold if I On the surface this book appears to contain all of my favorite things: intrigue and magic, thieves with dark Pasts, betrayal so tragic and conspiracy so…vast? Well, you get the picture. (view spoiler)[ THESE ARE A FEW OF MY FAAAAVORITE THIIIIIINGGS! (hide spoiler)] But a funny thing happened every time I cracked this book open: it knocked me out faster than a bottle of Nyquil. (Anyone else notice that they’ve taken the alcohol out of Nyquil recently? How am I supposed to get over my cold if I’m not three sheets to the wind?!!) Unfortunately, I am a stubborn, stubborn woman. I kept insisting to this book that it was going to be my very favorite and I was going to stay awake and finish it or die trying. And then it upped the ante by having almost nothing happen in the first two hundred pages. I assured it that I am a VERY committed reader, and a little thing like that never scared me off. And then it said…”You know that really interesting guy that I brought out in the beginning and who you hoped desperately would be the love interest? Well...he may be alive. He may be dead. You'll never know because he's GONE.” It was a long, hard battle. And the book won…on so many levels. Because, not only did I finish it despite being bored for about 90% of it; I kind of want to read the sequel! Tip of my hat to you, book. There are a few areas in which this book really excels: the world that she’s created is vivid and well-imagined with a whole history, religions, terrain, and feuding families to occupy it. I also love the writing! It’s simple, yet descriptive with just enough emotion to keep me interested. AND, I love the characters! Digger is a resourceful, but over-eager young woman who has a very twisted past that she only barely lets us in on. I love unreliable narrators! So, what happened? More like, why didn’t I feel any urgency about what was happening? (That’s not a real question. I actually know why. And now I’m gonna tell ya.) Every obstacle that Digger encounters has a conveniently easy solution: the villain is pushy and demanding one day, then suddenly absent for large chunks of time. A lost vial just happens to fall right on top of a secret trap door. She just happens to wander into the secret hideout of a band of magicians. There just happens to be a grate that’s perfectly placed so she can eaves drop. Everyone in the house seems incredibly open and loose-lipped with her, even though she’s a complete unknown to all of them. A room that was magically impassable for the entire book suddenly has a window access. The big bad guy seems to have every upper hand, but then inexplicably decides to just leave. All of these readily available solutions just bled all of the apprehension and stress right out of me. I got so used to the even pacing that I quickly learned not to worry about anything – it would all come right soon enough. However, I will probably give the sequel a chance. I really love the characters and I want to learn more about Digger’s Past. Perfect Musical Pairing Great Lake Swimmers – Everything is Moving So Fast The comparison of this song’s title to its incredibly sedate pace always makes me chuckle. I do love this band, but they have a tendency to make me…*yawn*…*snore*… What does it feel like to fall In slow motion in spite of it all? It feels like you can see the ground coming for a long, long time.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Lala_Loopsie [fire breathing B!tch Queen]

    This is the 1st book i give 5 stars, in like, ummmmm... a really long time!! Yes, a long time. Originally chose this book really fast, I didn't care much. I had to download something, anything was good at this point. And thieves, i love thieves!! Who doesn't. But this book was great!! At this point I already read the next book! And it was most certainly great. I love Durrel, and Koya!! Wiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii If you ever decide to read this awesome book, it's the best decision in your life!!! Edit: 21- This is the 1st book i give 5 stars, in like, ummmmm... a really long time!! Yes, a long time. Originally chose this book really fast, I didn't care much. I had to download something, anything was good at this point. And thieves, i love thieves!! Who doesn't. But this book was great!! At this point I already read the next book! And it was most certainly great. I love Durrel, and Koya!! Wiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii If you ever decide to read this awesome book, it's the best decision in your life!!! Edit: 21-3-2016 I believe i was drunk while writing this, or something, because this makes no sense. So, no judging this crappy deal.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Krystle

    Did you know the publisher hasn't picked up the third book in this series? Please help out and petition the publisher to have the last book in the trilogy published! http://need-tea.livejournal.com/14670... Thanks! I love thief books, especially if the main character is a female, and this book was no exception. There was a certain charm that waved a spell over me and despite its rather hefty size, I couldn’t stop reading it. The plot twists are the best part of the story. Scheming, mind games, compa Did you know the publisher hasn't picked up the third book in this series? Please help out and petition the publisher to have the last book in the trilogy published! http://need-tea.livejournal.com/14670... Thanks! I love thief books, especially if the main character is a female, and this book was no exception. There was a certain charm that waved a spell over me and despite its rather hefty size, I couldn’t stop reading it. The plot twists are the best part of the story. Scheming, mind games, compacted with a whole lot of action kept this going at a swift pace. A lot of subplots occur in the background of the main story so you don’t actually notice them when they’re dropped; making the unexpected plot twists all the more shocking. This is further complicated by the fact that Digger is a compulsive liar and an unreliable narrator. And throughout the course of the book you’ll grow along with her as she struggles to accept her true identity and come to terms with the ever growing burdens of morality and ethics. Making the right decision is never supposed to be easy. I love how she grows out of her shell to learn that she can trust others and doesn’t need to put up a front anymore. That it’s okay to show your vulnerabilities around people who matter, because if they’re worthy, they’ll never betray the faith you’ve put in them. And for those of you who are sick and tired of overly done romance plots with undesirable leads and overly excessive drama… Well, you won’t find that here. It’s more of Digger discovering what true friendship is rather than her trying to love in another human being. Although I wouldn’t mind if she hooked up with a certain character. Alas, it will most definitely not happen though. Some things had me frowning, though. Like, Digger just totally gives someone the third degree with her obviously intrusive questions and they just DROP their answers like that?! If you were some stranger just come fresh into my family, you ain’t learning my life story just cuz you asked for it. Oh, hell no. You gotta earn that. And for the amount of time that had passed, Digger really should not have had this privilege. It felt more of a cheap way to get the plot events unfolded but it does move the pace along. Also, WHY THE HECK IS THE FONT SO BLOODY DAMN SMALL?! Are you trying to make my already poor eyesight crash dive into the glasses of uber thickness range?! Size ten or twelve font won’t kill you! But this book is good times. You won’t be disappointed.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Angelc

    Digger is an accomplished thief, with no real ties to anyone or anything but her beloved Tegan. When Tegan is killed trying to save her magical ability from being discovered, Digger flees. She accepts a ride with a group of young nobles, fully expecting to steal a few coins and jewels and ditch them. But soon she discovers they are much more than a group of wastrel nobs and she gets pulled into a life of intrigue and further deception. Wow! I loved this book! It was definitely not your typical YA Digger is an accomplished thief, with no real ties to anyone or anything but her beloved Tegan. When Tegan is killed trying to save her magical ability from being discovered, Digger flees. She accepts a ride with a group of young nobles, fully expecting to steal a few coins and jewels and ditch them. But soon she discovers they are much more than a group of wastrel nobs and she gets pulled into a life of intrigue and further deception. Wow! I loved this book! It was definitely not your typical YA book. There was so much going on in this story! The author invented a whole different world for the reader where religious and political turmoil ruled and magic was possible but oppressed. I loved how the author explored so many different types of relationships, not just the romantic ones. All of the characters were so much more than what they seemed on the surface. My favorite character was Weirolf, a special "guest" in the castle. He was an amazing character full of humility and also confidence. He knew his place in the world and wasn't afraid to step up to his destiny. I loved Digger's special relationship with him and I'm really hoping to see more of him the sequel. Digger was a fantastic lead, she was such a strong and independent girl. She was true to herself and even though she sometimes had a mixed up view of right and wrong, she was always able to admit her mistakes. I have so many questions about the ending, mostly about who I will and won't see in the sequel. I can't wait to read "Liar's Moon." I was a little confused at the beginning of the book about the political and religious groups. Too bad I didn't find the glossary at the back of the book sooner because it was very helpful in sorting everything out. This story was fantastic, the intrigue and adventure were full-force and the characters were amazing! This book was provided for review by the publisher. reviewed for: http://inthehammockblog.blogspot.com/

  7. 4 out of 5

    Allison

    Starcrossed started out really, really slowly. It took half the book to set it up. The first 200 pages were 2 stars, and I almost quit a couple of times. The last 200 pages were 4 stars, so I'm going with 3 overall. It took a lot of patience to get through that first half, especially as I really struggled to like the main character, Digger, and it was just... boring. Nothing much happened, even when Digger was using her skills. A thief should not be boring! But once Digger started to clue into w Starcrossed started out really, really slowly. It took half the book to set it up. The first 200 pages were 2 stars, and I almost quit a couple of times. The last 200 pages were 4 stars, so I'm going with 3 overall. It took a lot of patience to get through that first half, especially as I really struggled to like the main character, Digger, and it was just... boring. Nothing much happened, even when Digger was using her skills. A thief should not be boring! But once Digger started to clue into what was going on, and started to change, I began to feel I could root for her. That's when the action and discoveries about what was going on started to come together as well, making for a much more interesting second half. There is absolutely no romance in this high fantasy - so far - and not a lot of adventure either. There's a little bit of magic, but it doesn't make much of an appearance until later in the book. So what there is, is a lot of political intrigue, but you're in the dark about it for quite a while. You know that Digger is working for the wrong side, whatever side that is, and that you don't want her to succeed. Digger is a thief who actually acts like a thief, and is ignorant about anything beyond her own survival. She does not have any trouble betraying those who have helped her because her vision is so narrow. She does start to think about further reaching consequences of her actions at some point. And finally she steps up and becomes the kind of heroine I want to read about. By the end, I found myself wanting to read the sequel, which is surprising for a book that I almost didn't finish. I don't plan to read it until there's some resolution on the final book in the trilogy being published, though. The publisher dropped this series, and I've heard there's quite a cliffhanger at the end of book two. This book ended with things open, but not hanging. I'll stop here for now, but it's a shame. I hope the third book gets published some day, or that the author will consider self-publishing to give some closure to her readers.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Valerie

    This is not a book that I just could ride out. I had to do some work and some thinking in order to keep things straight. This is almost straight up YA fantasy. It took me a while to finish and after I did I had a headache. I thought, That's not a good sign…but I really did like it. There could've been a number of other reasons for having a headache like sleep deprivation or the heat. I think the biggest struggle I had with the story was that it took so long. It felt like it dragged. I'd hoped th This is not a book that I just could ride out. I had to do some work and some thinking in order to keep things straight. This is almost straight up YA fantasy. It took me a while to finish and after I did I had a headache. I thought, That's not a good sign…but I really did like it. There could've been a number of other reasons for having a headache like sleep deprivation or the heat. I think the biggest struggle I had with the story was that it took so long. It felt like it dragged. I'd hoped that it would be faster pace. But looking back on it I realized that if I had read this when I was younger I might've liked it better but I'm so used to fast ADHD paced YA now that this felt that much slower. Or maybe I'm just remembering it wrong. This fantasy has a sort of mystery to it. No one is who they seem (including Digger herself) and Digger has no idea what she is in for. During the middle of the book secret after secret is revealed which just made me more confused and I could never figure out what was what until right before or when Digger figured it out herself. That part was both fascinating as well as frustrating. The last quarter is when things start to pick up and begin to clear up. Digger as a character I could enjoy because she was not a completely stereotyped super tough girl. She doesn't feel uncomfortable in dresses because she is a girl. She is very practical though curious. One thing is that Digger isn't necessarily likeable but she does have a good side and I was rooting for her the whole time. The other characters are well developed too like Lady Lyll, Meri, and someone who shall not be named for spoiler reasons were my favorites. I will be looking out for Liar's Moon when it comes out.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl Klein

    The usual caveat: I edited this, so I'm hugely biased. But it features all of the following fun things: * a cat burglar * a snowbound castle * secret codes * secret identities * glorious dresses * a snarky protagonist * hidden magic * warring princes * religious civil war And MAN, is it a good time.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Camly Nguyen

    Well I've always had a thing for thieves so I liked it a lot. The only thing that bothers me is that Dagger just seems a bit too good??? Like I get that you're a thief but like I didn't expect a climbing-walls-thief sort you know? Characters were well developed, world building was clear. Phandre's outcome was a bit obvious though.

  11. 4 out of 5

    stephanie

    WHY DIDN'T I KNOW THIS WAS A SERIES? oh, there is so much to say, so much to love. like, honestly. meri and digger/celyn and lyll and. OH, I LOVE YOU ALL. and maybe i want a crazy love story. (please give it to me in Liar's Moon!) but the web of families, of war, of lands, of allegiances. the way digger doesn't want to get involved, not really, but then she does - partly because she's a curious girl, and partly because she can't stay out of it. her trade is knowledge, and she wants to know. lord a WHY DIDN'T I KNOW THIS WAS A SERIES? oh, there is so much to say, so much to love. like, honestly. meri and digger/celyn and lyll and. OH, I LOVE YOU ALL. and maybe i want a crazy love story. (please give it to me in Liar's Moon!) but the web of families, of war, of lands, of allegiances. the way digger doesn't want to get involved, not really, but then she does - partly because she's a curious girl, and partly because she can't stay out of it. her trade is knowledge, and she wants to know. lord antoch, lord faul, meri and her cousins, meri and phaendre, meri and digger, digger and lady lyll, marlytt and digger - the awesome kind of band of brothers (gender neutral!) at bryn shaer, all the relationships are complex, well thought out, thoroughly touched upon, leaving you with a sense of fulfillment - but still wanting more. to be honest, it reminded me of Megan Whalen Turner's thief series, which, yes, i completely adore. i never thought anyone could rival my love for eugenides, but, ummm, digger just might. the world building is insanely brilliant and beautiful. this was first person, which i enjoyed more than i thought i would. i *understood* digger, i was being forced to do things i didn't want right there with her. it completely drew me in. and while i figured some things out, i couldn't figure them all out, and it made me happy when i couldn't. (WERNE) i felt like i was right there with digger. and i LOVE DIGGER. i also love lady lyll. and meri. and that guy - you know which guy. the horses, the castle, the tunnels, the people in the woods . . . oh, i want more now SO BADLY you have no idea. read this, read this, read this. there are strong independent women, there's politics and war and intrigue, heists and thefts and humor, a fabulous narrator, snark and sadness, blood and snow, beautiful world-building that didn't require a lot of flipping back and forth between things to remember/understand, evil, goodness, religious wars, commentary on piety and leadership, marriage for match and not for politics, friendship, reality, fantasy, magic, etc. while i wanted another fairy-tale re-telling/historical romance from Elizabeth C. Bunce, this was very very lovely and i want more now and i am so happy she wrote this. basically, YOU SHOULD READ THIS. no, really. going to buy a copy and return this one to the library so everyone else can enjoy it. so glad i asked them to order it! ;)

  12. 4 out of 5

    Donna

    When she loses her partner after a botched job, a thief named Digger hides herself as Celyn Contrare, a merchant-class runaway. She only intends to pass as Celyn until the heat dies down, but then Digger finds herself caught between the family that took her in and a ruthless man who threatens to expose her charade. Digger soon learns that her hosts are keeping secrets of their own, and that this new world of politics and magic isn't any safer than her old life on the streets. I loved the style of When she loses her partner after a botched job, a thief named Digger hides herself as Celyn Contrare, a merchant-class runaway. She only intends to pass as Celyn until the heat dies down, but then Digger finds herself caught between the family that took her in and a ruthless man who threatens to expose her charade. Digger soon learns that her hosts are keeping secrets of their own, and that this new world of politics and magic isn't any safer than her old life on the streets. I loved the style of this book, the prose here is every bit as compelling as A Curse Dark as Gold. Unfortunately, I had some issues with the story and characters. The book was tough to get into. It begins with a flurry of names and places, as well as some heavy coincidences. Some aspects of the early chapters come across as either awkward or unnecessary to the later parts of the plot. Things really pick up once the heroine arrives at Bryn Shaer, because it starts to get more into the meat of the story. I loved the descriptions of her daily activities there and her interactions with the family that's hosting her. I also liked a character that Digger found while she was snooping. I did end up confused on several points about her illicit activities though. For example, I still don't get the purpose behind the first thing Lord Daul asked her to do. He sounded as if he was complaining about not being invited to a party he was already at, and an interesting thread about a reversed seal was never really explained. It was also a bit difficult to enjoy the main character until she pulled herself together at the end, and that wasn't helped by the fact that I never knew if I should be thinking of her as Celyn or Digger. She's talented and resourceful, but her wavering loyalties made her motivations hard for me to understand. Her compulsive stealing, especially from those who were trying to help her, happened too often for it to feel like a playful quirk. While I can understand that she used to need to steal to survive, swiping an expensive, noticeable piece off a fellow guest at dinner seemed almost as mean-spirited as it was foolish. I guess it sounds like I'm complaining too much, especially for someone who did enjoy the book. It's just that I felt that there was some missed potential here. I'll certainly check out Digger's next adventure. She already seems to have grown as a character into someone I'll like a bit better, I just hope the plot of the follow-up is a little tighter as well.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Rachael

    Celyn Contrare is not the woman she seems to be. Everyone sees her merely as a maid to the Lady Merista, but in reality, she’s Digger, a skilled street thief. How did Digger end up in this position? She would like to know too. She adopts her Celyn persona to blend in, hoping to escape living with these nobs at the first chance possible, but before she knows it, she gets drawn into the sticky web of court politics. Blackmailed by the devious Lord Daul who knows her secret, Digger is forced to spy Celyn Contrare is not the woman she seems to be. Everyone sees her merely as a maid to the Lady Merista, but in reality, she’s Digger, a skilled street thief. How did Digger end up in this position? She would like to know too. She adopts her Celyn persona to blend in, hoping to escape living with these nobs at the first chance possible, but before she knows it, she gets drawn into the sticky web of court politics. Blackmailed by the devious Lord Daul who knows her secret, Digger is forced to spy on the lords and ladies in the castle. What she uncovers may change the future of her country—and her own life—forever. Of late, I have been reading a lot of fantasy stories, and even though StarCrossed is just another one of those, I still immensely enjoyed it. What I really love about certain fantasies is that the reader is transported to an entire new world with entire new social customs and politics. It’s fascinating just to learn about them and to see how they are being challenged or changed in the story. In StarCrossed, Digger likes to think that she’s removed from all the politics, but she ends up becoming an integral part of them anyway. Digger is really such a strong protagonist; she has undergone so many hardships and personal betrayals yet she survives and even thrives. This story was just so fascinating to follow because of the exciting plot and realistic characters; I cannot wait for the continuation of Digger’s story in Liar’s Moon. StarCrossed is sure to be enjoyed by fans of Plain Kate by Erin Bow, The Keepers’ Tattoo by Gill Arbuthnott, Trickster’s Choice and Trickster’s Queen by Tamora Pierce, and Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken. reposted from http://thebookmuncher.blogspot.com

  14. 5 out of 5

    missART

    4.5 stars! Digger is a professional thief-for-hire with three rules: Stay alive, Don't get caught, Don't get involved. But when a job goes horribly wrong a quick escape finds her swept into the "nob" (or upper class) world where she dons the alias “Celyn Contrere” and is accepted as a lady’s maid to a young shy noble named Merista “Meri” Nemair. Forced to follow the Nemair family to their terribly isolated and very snowy castle in the mountains, Digger finds herself snowed in with an assortment o 4.5 stars! Digger is a professional thief-for-hire with three rules: Stay alive, Don't get caught, Don't get involved. But when a job goes horribly wrong a quick escape finds her swept into the "nob" (or upper class) world where she dons the alias “Celyn Contrere” and is accepted as a lady’s maid to a young shy noble named Merista “Meri” Nemair. Forced to follow the Nemair family to their terribly isolated and very snowy castle in the mountains, Digger finds herself snowed in with an assortment of “nob” families all gathered to celebrate Meri’s coming of age ceremony. But is it just that? When the devious Lord Daul catches Digger in the act of stealing he blackmails her into becoming his personal thief and spy. What Digger uncovers raises more mysteries than she could ever image and lands her in the middle of the feuding religious and royal factions of the land. This book had a little of everything I’m a sucker for. Castles, sneak-thieves, secret identities, warring royalty, a strong female protagonist, magic (of course!) and even a little romance (yay). I enjoyed the religion which is along the lines of Greek mythology meets the Spanish Inquisition. Though I think “MoonCrossed” might have been a more appropriate title I'm already ready for the next book “Liar’s Moon”. :)

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jenn Estepp

    Quite a slow start; for a good half to two-thirds, I found myself vaguely annoyed and impatient. I suspect it could be tightened a bit and can I just high-five all the people complaining about the design of the book? Usually you're okay Arthur Levine Books, but this could have been done eight hundred times better. And, there were quite a few things that felt just too familiar and/or that you could see coming for miles. But, ultimately I was won over and the last third of the book is pretty stell Quite a slow start; for a good half to two-thirds, I found myself vaguely annoyed and impatient. I suspect it could be tightened a bit and can I just high-five all the people complaining about the design of the book? Usually you're okay Arthur Levine Books, but this could have been done eight hundred times better. And, there were quite a few things that felt just too familiar and/or that you could see coming for miles. But, ultimately I was won over and the last third of the book is pretty stellar. Also, the world building is fantastic and even though I'm in a "meh, series" place, I'm on board for the next one(s).

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    I cannot wait for the next in the series!!!!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    You often hear that books transport you to different times and places, that through them you travel to magical, far off lands. And while that’s true, different books succeed to different degrees. In StarCrossed, Bunce has created a world that truly captured me and came alive each time I visited. Amazing depth and detail, both consistently on each page and behind the scenes, that made my immersion feel complete. And most importantly, in my mind, that called me to return each time I set the book a You often hear that books transport you to different times and places, that through them you travel to magical, far off lands. And while that’s true, different books succeed to different degrees. In StarCrossed, Bunce has created a world that truly captured me and came alive each time I visited. Amazing depth and detail, both consistently on each page and behind the scenes, that made my immersion feel complete. And most importantly, in my mind, that called me to return each time I set the book aside. Wonderful world-building. “You’ll like being no one. It’s better than commonly reported.” “Is it?” “Oh, yes. Nobody expects anything of you, nobody makes demands on you, and if nobody knows who you are, you can be anyone you want. I highly recommend it.” But a book is nothing without a story, of course, and this one is all about secrets. The book opens with Digger on the run after a botched thieving job that’s left her partner likely dead and her being hunted. We know she’s an outlaw, of course, but her fear of being caught seems to contain something bigger. Enough that when a riverboat of random nobles approaches with an invitation to join them fleeing the city she’s never left, she accepts. If only she’d known their secrets at that point she might have stopped herself and kept her own secrets hidden; but she doesn’t, of course. What was I doing? Getting involved, that’s what. And that was the third rule. Stay alive. Don’t get caught. Don’t get involved. One lie leads to another to maintain it, which leads to another and another and so on, and before long Digger finds her attempts to stay anonymous and hidden have gotten her overly entangled in the affairs of the nobles who have adopted her. A boat ride through the city gates leads to a country estate downriver leads to a mountain castle for a winter stay as a lady-in-waiting. There the web keeps getting messier and, in order to maintain her façade, she is forced to practice her profession as thief to spy on the court she’s become a part of, sneaking and stealing and forging, in an attempt to uncover secrets without exposing her own. The harder she tries to remain apart and uninvolved, though, the more she finds herself caring about who and what she’s discovering. Which is not good, because she may have accidentally planted herself in the midst of something far more dangerous than what she was fleeing. Deft use of language, a strong sense of place, characters to care about, layers of intrigue, and more all combined to make StarCrossed a highly engaging read for me.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Miss Clark

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. 3.5/4 stars I had mixed feelings about Digger. I grew to be interested in her and even to like her, but I was often irritated by her cowardice and lack of control initially and continued to lament it every time she interacted with Lord Daul. Really?! I felt as if she gave into him far too often when she should have been more clever. There were some spectacular instances of some very illogical choices on her part, especially in regards to that situation. She could have told the truth - it certain 3.5/4 stars I had mixed feelings about Digger. I grew to be interested in her and even to like her, but I was often irritated by her cowardice and lack of control initially and continued to lament it every time she interacted with Lord Daul. Really?! I felt as if she gave into him far too often when she should have been more clever. There were some spectacular instances of some very illogical choices on her part, especially in regards to that situation. She could have told the truth - it certainly could not have gone much worse. But she is also got so much potential and I liked seeing how she slowly grows and proves herself a better person than she imagined she could be. Merista - I liked her, but would have appreciated a stronger personality. The fact that she is sweet, nice and magically "awesome" is simply not enough to make her an important character and a forceful player in the coming political battlefield. I hope she gets more personality and more to do in Liar's Moon. Wierolf was interesting and I am terribly intrigued to see how he develops, especially with civil war looming ahead. I liked the dynamic between him and Digger/Celyn - a solid friendship, sort of the brother-sister relationship that she never had. "If you were my sister, I never would have treated you so" supports that, though I suppose you could read it however you liked; I would like to see that aspect developed in Liar's Moon. I just terribly, awfully hope that there is NO romance between the two. I would prefer to see Durrell again if a romantic lead is required for Celyn, though frankly the story has the strength to stand alone. What becomes of Maryt? The coalition of varying factions - can they possibly hope to win? More importantly, can they coexist once they have defeated their common enemy? The magic and religion particularly was nicely drawn, with far less detail than I'd like. There is a lot of room to expand and show customs, how the magic works, esp. Digger's gift of magic-finding (Is that all she can do? What are the extents of that gift?)and more understanding of the religion and their pantheon of deities. Their was definitely pacing and flow problems early on and some logic gaps later with Celyn's spying and interactions with Daul especially. Still, I enjoyed the story and far more than many of the books I read in all of the past year. I am definitely looking forward to Liar's Moon, due out next year, Fall 2012.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Tina (Fantastic Book Review)

    STARCROSSED lured me into dangerous webs of Digger's life as she ried to outrun the Greenmen (temple guards of the Goddess Celys but they report directly to the King) after a successful job of retrieving important letters from the King's secretary. As with any fantasy novel, STARCROSSED has plenty of important characters and places that are uniquely tied to the plotline which had me trying to wrap my head around each of the character’s motives and beliefs while trying to fit the puzzle pieces to STARCROSSED lured me into dangerous webs of Digger's life as she ried to outrun the Greenmen (temple guards of the Goddess Celys but they report directly to the King) after a successful job of retrieving important letters from the King's secretary. As with any fantasy novel, STARCROSSED has plenty of important characters and places that are uniquely tied to the plotline which had me trying to wrap my head around each of the character’s motives and beliefs while trying to fit the puzzle pieces together to uncover hidden secrets. As I was reading along, I decided to write out the names and places so I would have the spelling correct, then my list started to look like a glossary. But don’t fret! The book has a Lexicon of terms in the back which is very helpful if you have problems following along. STARCROSSED has a wide range of personalities but the main heroine, Digger is one of those characters you can't help but like. She's led an interesting and danger filled life as a thief. Her unique magical skill has made her a valuable asset in the streets of Gerse. Through her eyes, I experienced firsthand the dangers that shroud her life. She's brave and she’s always looking for the next priceless commodity or escape route which had me laughing plenty of times at how her mind works. If I had to sum Digger up, I'd say: She’s trapped within a chain of lies and secrets so complex that she’s beginning to find out it isn’t as easy as her skill at picking locks. Another character that kept me guessing was Dual. I wanted to know, what he had up his sleeve. I also wanted to know what he was hiding and what his ultimate goal was for being at the Nemair’s. The whole world that Bunce created was mysteriously intriguing which only lured me further and further into STARCROSSED’s world of magic, power, politics, and secrets. The whole world of Llyvaraneth, from its lands to the politics, and the people's beliefs of their Gods & Goddesses were quite captivating. I didn't want to put this book down as I followed along as Digger masqueraded as a lady's maid while trying to escape the Greenmen. You never knew what secret was going to be uncovered. STARCROSSED is a well-written novel and I can't wait to see what the sequel has in store for Digger.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Cassie

    This book is my new favorite fantasy book. It was so so good. Even through the paranormal phase YA is going through right now I think fantasy will always be my favorite genre. I have loved the kings and castles and magic. Especially the stories where the heroine completely kicks butt, specifically boy/man butt. Star Crossed is one of these stories. Digger is such a curious, witty teenager. I loved how she viewed everything and everyone as something to steal or someone who has secrets. Her sense This book is my new favorite fantasy book. It was so so good. Even through the paranormal phase YA is going through right now I think fantasy will always be my favorite genre. I have loved the kings and castles and magic. Especially the stories where the heroine completely kicks butt, specifically boy/man butt. Star Crossed is one of these stories. Digger is such a curious, witty teenager. I loved how she viewed everything and everyone as something to steal or someone who has secrets. Her sense of intuitiveness was so much fun. Every time I picked up the book I was like, “What the heck is she going to get into now?” The world that Digger lives in is so real, like it really could have existed. It was so intricate that it actually seemed like some thought went in to creating it. And the idea of 7 moons sounded very cool. While the beginning was a bit slow by page 100 it got good and by page 150 I didn’t want to put it down. EVER. I cannot wait for the sequel! With an intricate setting and very detailed back-story it was super confusing. Star Crossed takes place on a completely different world than Earth. There were different islands and countries with different cities in different sections of the countries and paths and waterways. It was like setting over-load. And as much as I loved all the detail the lack of a map made it way too confusing. In addition to the detailed setting, their was a detailed back-story with religions and wars and the relationship between the lords and the king. This thankfully had a reference: the lexicon dictionary at the back of the book. Use It! Unfortunately I didn’t find it till about page 50 and before that I was completely and utterly lost. I gathered that Digger was a thief and that’s about it. So use the dictionary, which does have the names of locations to give you some what of a reference for the setting, and it will be a lot less confusing. Overall by about page 150 I started to remember all the different moons and gods and places and it didn’t draw away from the story any more. For the rest of this review and others like it visit http://goodbaduglyreviews.blogspot.com

  21. 4 out of 5

    Nafiza

    Please sign the petition so the third book is picked up by the publisher (and spread the word!): http://need-tea.livejournal.com/14670... I have a thing for strong female characters who defy all the odds to fight for survival and success. In Starcrossed, we meet Digger, a thief, who has to flee her city due to less than propitious circumstances. She finds herself smack dab in the middle of an odd gathering of people – two guys and two girls who are more than what they seem. What follows is an incr Please sign the petition so the third book is picked up by the publisher (and spread the word!): http://need-tea.livejournal.com/14670... I have a thing for strong female characters who defy all the odds to fight for survival and success. In Starcrossed, we meet Digger, a thief, who has to flee her city due to less than propitious circumstances. She finds herself smack dab in the middle of an odd gathering of people – two guys and two girls who are more than what they seem. What follows is an incredible journey not just across the land but also through time. The reader gets to follow Digger as she journeys from being a thief fighting for survival to a girl who knows her strength and what she wants to do with the abilities she has. I liked the novel, if that isn’t apparent by now. The characters are all strongly hewn and developed. Each character, no matter how slight his or her role in the book is, is given proper attention and is developed enough that the reader can see him/her clearly. The plot is paced quite effectively and there are no leaps of logic that confound or irritate. The language is sometimes a bit discordant but it’s not a major issue and as the story continues and becomes more compelling, the discordance fades from notice. I loved Digger’s character. She’s contrary, prickle and unpredictable and her interactions with the other characters are always lively. The figure in the basement is also intriguing and I don’t really know what the relationship between him and Digger are. Is it just a platonic one as the age difference and some of his words seem to suggest? Or is it something more as their actions and reactions to each other would have us believe? I would prefer the latter though it seems like a forlorn hope if what I have read about the sequel is true. Anyway, I really don’t have much to say about this except that I liked it. And if you liked Eon/Eona, you will surely like this one too. It has good writing, good characters and a wonderful story. I can’t wait to read the second book in the trilogy.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Tasha

    When I find a book that is entrancing and beautifully written, I want to linger with it. So this book took me an awfully long time to read as I savored each page. Digger is a thief on the run after her partner is captured by the Greenmen. Wounded and afraid, she finds escape from the city with a small group of aristocrats on a boat. This turns into more than just a way to escape the city, as Digger, who now calls herself Celyn, is slowly drawn into their world. She accompanies the family to a re When I find a book that is entrancing and beautifully written, I want to linger with it. So this book took me an awfully long time to read as I savored each page. Digger is a thief on the run after her partner is captured by the Greenmen. Wounded and afraid, she finds escape from the city with a small group of aristocrats on a boat. This turns into more than just a way to escape the city, as Digger, who now calls herself Celyn, is slowly drawn into their world. She accompanies the family to a rebuilt fortress in the high mountains, even farther outside of the city. There she finds herself looked after and cared for in a way that she never has been. But as a thief, she cannot relax. Her forays to find information get her blackmailed by one of the family friends, who wants to use her skills for personal reasons. The more secrets Digger uncovers, the more alarming they are, as the country heads to war. The world building in this fantasy novel is beautifully done. The world is completely envisioned and brought to life for the reader. Each piece makes sense, from the banning of the use of magic to the Inquisition itself. The turning away from a pantheon of gods and goddesses to a single God makes for an additional layer to the story, adding to its depth. Digger herself is an incredible heroine. She is strong, independent and smart. At the same time, she doesn’t lose her femininity at all. I really enjoyed a teen heroine who is not crushing on a boy, but rather is consumed with the mysteries before her. While others do play a part in uncovering some of the mystery, Digger does all of the work. As she uncovers each piece and is confused by the details, readers will be right there with her trying to puzzle it all out. Highly recommended, get this into the hands of fans of Tamora Pierce and Shannon Hale. Appropriate for ages 12-14.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Lillie

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. My Review: I know that I have never used this phrase in a book review before, but it is so apt for STARCROSSED: a web of intrigue. This book really got under my skin. It wasn't a paranormal romance, and it wasn't an urban fantasy. It's wasn't even a fantasy that I've come to read in YA. It was a book all on its own, and it was amazing. There's no coddling in this novel for the main character, Digger. I was introduced into her world as she ran for her life from the people who had killed her friend, My Review: I know that I have never used this phrase in a book review before, but it is so apt for STARCROSSED: a web of intrigue. This book really got under my skin. It wasn't a paranormal romance, and it wasn't an urban fantasy. It's wasn't even a fantasy that I've come to read in YA. It was a book all on its own, and it was amazing. There's no coddling in this novel for the main character, Digger. I was introduced into her world as she ran for her life from the people who had killed her friend, and sometimes lover. Digger is street-smart, sly, not easily duped, and a master thief. But, when she falls in with a group of upperclass youngsters, and finds herself mixing in among their families, all of her "worldliness" seems poor training for the wealthy intrigue, court secrets, and hidden dangers that await her new life. The reader does get bombarded by the places, the spiritual aspects that play out into the political world that Digger lives in, and the people that have their part in a "revolt" that took place long ago. I can understand how it might be too much information, but I didn't have any problem settling into STARCROSSED. Digger, AKA Celyn is a terrific character that shows the world around her in vivid detail. Elizabeth C. Bunce has crafted a novel that includes sweeping world-building, multi-faceted characters, and an ominous mystery. Digger must try to balance her own curiousity with the demands of a man who wishes to use her as a spy, without losing the moral code that she holds dear, even though she is a self-confessed thief. STARCROSSED delivers an awesome story that kept me riveted. This is a book that every YA fantasy lover should go read, now. 4/5 for plot 4.5/5 for characters 4/5 for language My Rating: 12.5/15 Highly Recommend

  24. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    I could easily give this one 4.5 stars. It had me spellbound from page 1. The minute I started reading it, I was dumped into the action as 16 year old Digger is on the run from a job gone wrong and her partner may be dead. She is a thief and sometimes spy and now on the run she attaches herself to a group of aristocratic youth out on a joyride down the river. She is befriended by the young Lady Meri who takes her in as a lady-in-waiting. Even snowed in with Meri's family in their winter estate s I could easily give this one 4.5 stars. It had me spellbound from page 1. The minute I started reading it, I was dumped into the action as 16 year old Digger is on the run from a job gone wrong and her partner may be dead. She is a thief and sometimes spy and now on the run she attaches herself to a group of aristocratic youth out on a joyride down the river. She is befriended by the young Lady Meri who takes her in as a lady-in-waiting. Even snowed in with Meri's family in their winter estate she is not safe. Someone in their party knows who she is and is threatening her to get her to steal information for him. While she is becoming more and more attached to the family she is living with, she is also uncovering information that indicates they may be plotting a rebellion against the King. Bunce sets up a very complex political situation here with a deep history of conflict between magic and religion. I almost feel like I need to understand the whole political set up and then go back and read it again. It makes for a very rich and imaginative setting. Digger is a compelling heroine. She is independent and bold and subtly funny as a narrator. She has clearly been taking care of herself for a long time and initially seems to be out only for herself, but I loved seeing her become more attached to the family who takes her in and ultimately fiercely protective of them as well. This is one book that I was not disappointed to discover is only the first in a series. I can not wait for more of this world and these characters.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Gwen the Librarian

    StarCrossed is a terrific fantasy adventure set in completely new world. Digger is an excellent liar and a thief, so when she becomes separated from her companions, she is forced to find her own way using her best skills. While fleeing the capitol city, she falls in with a pleasure party of nobs, who help her escape. Soon their kindness and own personal trials make it difficult for Digger to extricate herself from their group and she grudgingly becomes a companion to the high-born, and magical, StarCrossed is a terrific fantasy adventure set in completely new world. Digger is an excellent liar and a thief, so when she becomes separated from her companions, she is forced to find her own way using her best skills. While fleeing the capitol city, she falls in with a pleasure party of nobs, who help her escape. Soon their kindness and own personal trials make it difficult for Digger to extricate herself from their group and she grudgingly becomes a companion to the high-born, and magical, Merista. As the group becomes snow-bound in an ancient stronghold, Digger comes to realize that many larger issues are at work and her skills are just as essential in a nob's house as they are on the streets. A climate of strict religious intolerance and fear permeates the story, giving it heft, along with exciting political intrigue. This is a much better than average fantasy story for teens.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Misty

    I was a big fan of Elizabeth C. Bunce's debut, A Curse Dark as Gold, which was an inventive retelling of Rumpelstiltskin set in the Industrial Revolution, so I was looking forward to more from her.  And then StarCrossed came out, and though I added it to my wishlist and intended to read it, for some reason I thought it was about space and I didn't have a burning need to read it soon.  Note: it's not about space, not that I think there would have been anything wrong with it if there were.  But st I was a big fan of Elizabeth C. Bunce's debut, A Curse Dark as Gold, which was an inventive retelling of Rumpelstiltskin set in the Industrial Revolution, so I was looking forward to more from her.  And then StarCrossed came out, and though I added it to my wishlist and intended to read it, for some reason I thought it was about space and I didn't have a burning need to read it soon.  Note: it's not about space, not that I think there would have been anything wrong with it if there were.  But still, I had loved her fairy tale take so much and this seemed like a departure, and it slipped down the wishlist a little bit.  Which is a shame, because StarCrossed may actually be better. From the very first page, when Digger is running for her life and wondering how it all went wrong, I was hooked.  The scene - an incredibly intricate world that is very different from our own - is set in a matter of seconds, and it's done with skill and clarity.  From the very first moment, you begin to understand Digger and her world: the danger, the fanaticism, the repressive and almost feudal setting.  It all just comes to life.  There is sometimes a tendency in high fantasy to become really convoluted and get bogged down in weird character and place names and intricate back stories.  There is just a teeny tiny touch of this in StarCrossed (some of the names irritated me after awhile), but for the most part, there's never really a lot of confusion.  Things aren't muddled the way they so easily could have been. This is helped along in part by the fact that it is a very visual novel.  I've talked in reviews before about the thin line between describing a place/scene and killing the scene with too much description.  Bunce understands this perfectly, I think.  There is always enough description to set up the world and help the reader visualize it and understand how it looks and how it works.  But she never goes overboard; she never gets mired in endless descriptions of fineries and tapestries, courtly clothing and downworld muck.  She finesses the world into being so that the reader is able to just fall into it and exist in it for a bit.  The world is very fully-realized and interesting. But I think what really makes this book work so well is Digger.  Digger is a great main character because she's sort of an ambiguous hero.  She's not quite an anti-hero, even though she's does things and makes decisions that are just not okay.  She's more a sympathetic but certainly flawed hero.  She's a thief and unwilling spy, but the fact that she's unwilling doesn't mean she doesn't like it - she's good at it and it gives her some semblance of power in a powerless situation.  It makes her relatable, even when you kinda want to shake her.  You know she cares even when she's trying not to, but she is still doing some very questionable things.  And her backstory, and the glimpses you get of it through out the story - her past, her family history and lack of it, her relationship with, and fear of, magic - it all builds these layers that make her dynamic and interesting.  And frankly, I just liked her.  I liked her narration and her attitude, her realism coupled with a slight recklessness and fearlessnes.  It all just worked to make her stand out, and to make me root for her and want to read her story.  I wanted to know more about her and her world, and I can't wait to read the next book in the Thief Errant series, Liar's Moon. All in all, I feel like there's a little something for everyone in this book, and it's a highly enjoyable to book. And StarCrossed is one of the finalists for the 2011 YA Book Battle over on The Shady Glade, as well as making  it into my first Book Pushing vlog about my favorite recent reads!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Small Review

    Wow, I was not expecting to love this book as much as I do. This is a Special Shelf book for sure. At first it was good, but I wasn’t in love with it. I was figuring this was going to be a solid four star book. Then about halfway through, pieces of the puzzle started coming together and I realized this book was completely blow-my-mind amazing! Digger, while likable at first was someone I could take or leave. I didn’t dislike her, but she didn’t really make a mark or leave any lasting impressions. Wow, I was not expecting to love this book as much as I do. This is a Special Shelf book for sure. At first it was good, but I wasn’t in love with it. I was figuring this was going to be a solid four star book. Then about halfway through, pieces of the puzzle started coming together and I realized this book was completely blow-my-mind amazing! Digger, while likable at first was someone I could take or leave. I didn’t dislike her, but she didn’t really make a mark or leave any lasting impressions. There is a reason for this though. She’s a thief and a spy so she is used to wearing disguises and never showing her true self. She was very guarded and I had a hard time attaching myself to her because I didn’t feel like I knew her. As the story progressed, however, Digger’s personality shines through. She struggles with balancing morality and loyalty—two aspects she was unused to considering, with the much more familiar drive to survive. Her precarious situation with the blackmailing Lord Dual is tense and angering. I was so worried she was going to get caught or hurt, but at the same time I really wanted her to stick it to him. Lucky for me, Digger is resilient and not about to take crap from anyone. I loved the subtle (and not so subtle) ways she found to needle Daul. He was truly awful and Digger gave me so many great opportunities to stick my tongue out at him and taunt “Nyah, nyah, nyah, nayh!” While Digger is the one used to wearing masks, it turns out everyone at the castle is wearing even more dangerous disguises. Some were apparent early on (as they are meant to be), but others were delightfully surprising. Like Leah Cypess’s Mistwood, I didn’t know who to trust and who had a trick up their sleeve. Even with their secrets, so many of these characters became good friends and people I genuinely cared for. I was gasping, cheering, horrified, and delighted as their secrets were slowly revealed. The plot is fantastic, but one I think I will definitely need to reread (and I am so not complaining about that!). There were so many twists and surprises that I’d really enjoy reading the book again with the knowledge of how things turn out. Plus, I will need to do a reread before the sequel comes out. This one ends well as a standalone (though it also perfectly sets up for the sequel—a sequel that sounds so amazingly exciting!), but there’s just so much that happens. I’ll need a refresher. Usually I’m a little frustrated at the idea of having to reread a book to prepare for a sequel, but in this case I can’t wait to reread it. I may not even last all the way until the sequel’s release! Another notable point about this book is the setting. Settings aren’t usually something that stand out to me, but this one was so great. Usually I say if a character is great I’ll be happy even if they’re just sitting there twiddling their thumbs. In this case, the setting is so amazing I don’t care what’s happening as long as I can spend more time there. The majority of the story takes place at the Nemair’s isolated winter castle and it was described so well that I really felt like I was there. They’re cut off from any form of outside contact due to an avalanche blocking the only road. The castle is gorgeously described and the icy landscape makes for a scene that is both cozy and treacherous. My only teeny, tiny complaint is that I wish there was just a little romance for Digger. There were hints and possibilities, but that’s about it. People who want a story without in-your-face romance will be pleased. Me, I’m hoping there’s some romance in the sequel. Not a ton where it monopolizes the plot, especially with a plot as strong as this one, but just enough to give me *that* kiss. I think fans of historical fantasy/magic blends (like Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith) or fantasy dystopians (like Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder) will probably enjoy StarCrossed. I highly recommend this book! Originally posted at: Small Review

  28. 4 out of 5

    Iris

    This was such a fun, exciting read! I breezed through it really quickly, partially because it was a really easy read, and partially because it was also fairly gripping and I couldn't put it down. I also liked the characters quite a lot, and the world was fascinating. I would say though that for the most part I wasn't completely blown away by it. Maybe my expectations were too high. After all, I absolutely adored this author's other book, A Curse Dark as Gold. Or maybe it was just lacking something This was such a fun, exciting read! I breezed through it really quickly, partially because it was a really easy read, and partially because it was also fairly gripping and I couldn't put it down. I also liked the characters quite a lot, and the world was fascinating. I would say though that for the most part I wasn't completely blown away by it. Maybe my expectations were too high. After all, I absolutely adored this author's other book, A Curse Dark as Gold. Or maybe it was just lacking something. I'm not sure. But then the end rolled around, and WOW those plot twists! The ending was spectacular!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    StarCrossed starts with a bang. Digger, a young thief, has just escaped capture and turns up alone and breathless at the place she was supposed to meet her sweetheart and fellow thief, Tegen. But as she goes over the night’s events in her mind, she realizes Tegen didn’t get away and is probably dead. Afraid of getting caught herself, Digger takes her first opportunity to get out of the city. That opportunity comes in the form of four teenage aristocrats in a pleasure boat. She gives them a fake StarCrossed starts with a bang. Digger, a young thief, has just escaped capture and turns up alone and breathless at the place she was supposed to meet her sweetheart and fellow thief, Tegen. But as she goes over the night’s events in her mind, she realizes Tegen didn’t get away and is probably dead. Afraid of getting caught herself, Digger takes her first opportunity to get out of the city. That opportunity comes in the form of four teenage aristocrats in a pleasure boat. She gives them a fake name, Celyn Contrare, and a semi-fake life story. The next few chapters are a bit slow, especially after the tense beginning. Elizabeth C. Bunce uses these chapters to introduce several characters – some of whom go on to play a major role in the book, and some of whom do not (though they may turn up in a sequel) – and to unfold the political and religious situation to the reader. These chapters also explain how a street thief ends up becoming a lady’s maid to a young noblewoman, which isn’t something that just happens overnight! So, while this section drags a little, I can see why it’s necessary and the purposes it serves. It’s when Digger/Celyn travels to the remote northern stronghold of Bryn Shaer with her mistress, Lady Merista Nemair, that StarCrossed truly becomes riveting. A large group of nobles descends upon the castle to stay for the winter, including one Remy Daul, an old friend of Merista’s father, who offers Digger a terrible choice between spying for him or being exposed as a thief. Then, the entire party is snowed in. From this point on, it’s impossible to put the book down. Everyone at Bryn Shaer has secrets, some of them deadly. But Digger hasn’t survived this long without learning to be sneaky and resourceful. I especially loved that Bunce allows her to suffer guilt for her role in the Nemair family’s troubles but without letting that guilt paralyze her; instead, Digger uses her wits and guts to try to save the day. StarCrossed is an exciting read for young adults, featuring plenty of politics, magic, and derring-do. Bunce writes in a clear and evocative style with a dash of humor. And while StarCrossed features serious themes such as religious persecution, the heroine’s intrepid personality keeps the book from becoming heavy or depressing. Adult fans of political fantasy will enjoy it too. StarCrossed is a self-contained story, but a sequel, Liar’s Moon, will explore Digger’s further adventures. Consider giving it a try if you enjoyed or . Review originally published at Fantasy Literature.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

    StarCrossed is a fun YA fantasy full of excellent world-building, political intrigue, and a fantastically quirky protagonist. High fantasy isn’t too common in YA these days, so StarCrossed offers a breath of fresh air with its new world complete with its own languages, religions, and caste systems. Elizabeth C. Bunce does a great job building the world of StarCrossed, and though it was a bit of a learning experience, I found myself completely immersed in the culture. StarCrossed kept me complete StarCrossed is a fun YA fantasy full of excellent world-building, political intrigue, and a fantastically quirky protagonist. High fantasy isn’t too common in YA these days, so StarCrossed offers a breath of fresh air with its new world complete with its own languages, religions, and caste systems. Elizabeth C. Bunce does a great job building the world of StarCrossed, and though it was a bit of a learning experience, I found myself completely immersed in the culture. StarCrossed kept me completely hooked with its plot. I’m a big fan of political intrigue (although really, when doesn’t a high fantasy novel include political intrigue?), and was glad to see it executed well in the novel. Digger’s sneaking around helped reveal the secrets of the nobility bit by bit, which built up the mystery perfectly. Although Elizabeth C. Bunce’s writing is a bit dense for a young adult novel (something I am totally cool with), the story will easily keep the reader turning pages. As a protagonist, Digger was fantastic. I liked how her compact size contrasted her big attitude. She wasn’t afraid to get herself into a jam, and always figured out how to get herself out of that jam. I enjoyed her narration and the friendships she forged with the other residents of Byrn Shaer. She was a thief and a liar, but she had a good heart. I’d definitely recommend StarCrossed to any fan of fantasy. People who enjoyed Kristen Cashore’s novels will certainly find a similar enjoyment in StarCrossed--it’s great fun and it has a new world filled with politics and mystery.

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