Starborn, Lucy Hounsom Book Review

Hello Humans! How art thou? I hope you’re good and if you aren’t I hope things pick up soon. Maybe go get a cup of tea? Coffee? Wine? Settle down at any rate and have a gander at my thoughts on Starborn.

Goodreads Summary:

Death and destruction will bar her way. . .

Kyndra’s fate holds betrayal and salvation, but the journey starts in her small village. On the day she comes of age, she accidentally disrupts an ancient ceremony, ending centuries of tradition. So when an unnatural storm targets her superstitious community, Kyndra is blamed. She fears for her life until two strangers save her, by wielding powers not seen for an age – powers fuelled by the sun and the moon.

Together, they flee to the hidden citadel of Naris. And here, Kyndra experiences disturbing visions of the past, showing war and one man’s terrifying response. She’ll learn more in the city’s subterranean chambers, amongst fanatics and rebels. But first Kyndra will be brutally tested in a bid to unlock her own magic.

If she survives the ordeal, she’ll discover a force greater than she could ever have imagined. But could it create as well as destroy? And can she control it, to right an ancient wrong?

Where to start with this one. Let’s kick off with concept. Conceptually this book is, not bad? Lunar and solar magical powers is a cool idea, the secret society of magic wielders is also interesting. There’s a library which is something I love in a book. There’s a ‘strong female character’ which is appreciated as well as some other interesting side characters many of whom are women.

The trouble is that could be describing a number of YA novels. In fact it could be describing at least 10 of the novels I’ve read this month, you just swap out ‘lunar and solar’ for something else. Which isn’t a bad thing in and of itself. There’s a reason these things are tropes, they make for good reading. But when you read the sheer amount of YA fantasy that I do you begin to be able to predict what is going to happen from page one.

In this case, that was particularly annoying as I worked out what was going to happen pretty early on and then it took the entire book to get to the point where the thing I was waiting for actually happened. Not in a ‘continual building of tension and lulling into a false sense of security’ kind of way. More in a ‘get to the point we’ve been here for 300 pages and not that much has changed’ sort of way.

Kyndra, our protagonist, is the most predictable of the bunch. She’s not irritating as some heroine’s are, but she felt very stereotypical as a YA heroine. I actually think a whole book written from the perspective of her sort of mentor who we meet in the book would have been 20x better because any time the story was about her I was intensely more interested.

That’s mostly all I have to say on the matter. If this was one of the few YA fantasy novels you had ever read you would probably enjoy this a lot, which is why the star rating for this one is so high.  As a book on it’s own I can really only fault the length (it’s about 100 pages longer than it needs to be) but as a book that has a place in a genre that is already swimming with similar titles this just doesn’t do enough to distinguish itself from the pack and I think hardcore YA fantasy readers will leave feeling unsatisfied.

My rating: 4 stars (3 or 2 if you read a lot of YA)

Starborn is available for order now if it is something you think you might like.

By the way, I received a digital review copy of this book for free from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

What say you? Let me know in the comments below if you want to read this or if you’ll be giving it a pass.



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