A Shifting of Stars by Kathy Kimbray
Self-published on 28 May 2019. Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Note: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
A squandering emperor. A handsome stranger. A reluctant heroine. And the ancient magic that will capsize a kingdom.
Seventeen-year-old Meadow Sircha watched her mother die from the wilting sickness. Tormented by the knowledge that the emperor failed to import the medicine that would have saved her, she speaks out at a gathering of villagers, inciting them to boycott his prized gladiator tournament.
But doing so comes at a steep cost.
Arrested as punishment for her impulsive tongue, Meadow finds herself caught up in the kind of danger she’s always tried to avoid. After a chance meeting with an enigmatic boy, she’s propelled on a perilous trek across the outer lands. But she soon unearths a staggering secret: one that will shift her world—and the kingdom— forever.
Filled with longing and heart, surprise and wonder, A SHIFTING OF STARS is perfect for fans of AN EMBER IN THE ASHES, RED QUEEN and SHADOW AND BONE.
The book introduced us right off to the narrator and heroine, Meadow, a young girl terribly grieving the death of her mother to a fatal illness a year ago. She was walking through the night to attend the Gathering, similar to a modern-day poetry reading, where she sought to share her sorrow. Upon hearing other’s entries, though, Meadow realized that writing and talking about her mother was not the kind of story people wanted to hear about, not when they can share those of hope, love, innocence, in a world that was filled otherwise. She then changed hers and talked of the king’s selfishness and corruption, and one thing led to another, Meadow was seized for treason.
I laud the author for how beautifully written the book is. I am not an avid fan of fantasy, mainly because I always feel like there’s something missing. I ask a lot of questions about how things came to be and can never just accept “that’s just how it is”. While this is also something I’m sure the series will improve on in the future, A Shifting of Stars was off to a good start. The characters are interesting, the plot is captivating, and the political theme is honestly not that far off from real life, gladiator tournament aside. Meadow isn’t an unlikable character— in fact, it’s easy to understand where her anger is coming from. Her love for her father trumps over anything, including the chance to overthrow the emperor. This was surprising, as opposed to the usual protagonist who is often inclined to act towards the greater good over everything else. Beyond this, though, I couldn’t grasp more of her character, other than the fact that she’s one damn lucky girl for evading death and escaping imprisonment countless of times.
Another thing I liked about this book is that it was not romance-centered. In fact, it took me a couple of characters in before I realized who our dear Meadow’s potential love interest was (I even feared it’d be the ‘son’ who we met in the first chapters). Theirs wasn’t out of instant attraction, I’d say it developed from reluctance to mutual trust. The book was actually more action-packed than romantic, though it’s more because of the secondary characters than Meadow. As opposed to The Selection series, the action and political drama took on a more central role than as a side story, which I wouldn’t personally consider to be a bad thing.
Plot-wise, I felt like I was holding my breath the entire time, with all the action and twists and turns. While it did hold my attention, at one point, it did feel tiresome, because I haven’t even gotten over one scene when we’re quickly swept towards another adventure. It reminded me a bit of how I felt reading The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue. I also found it too fast-paced at times, probably since, as I’ve said, there were so many things happening continuously or at the same time. While I think a lot were element to the story, there were some scenes and characters we could do without that were never really developed. Cases in point: Meadow’s friendship to Anai, Carliss’ ‘secret’ lover (shh), Princess K, the ancient magic that was part of the synopsis but only appeared later on. Unless of course, they were merely foundations of the books to follow.
I’m eager to know how the story will pick up after this— will we know more about the technicalities of ancient magic? A more in-depth perspective of the kingdom? What became of the bodies? What and who are the Marascans? Everything that occurred in the last chapters had me biting my fingernails, I hardly had time to guess what could possibly happen next! I’ve got some theories in mind that I’ll save in the meantime, but I do recommend this for fantasy lovers and beginners alike, particularly if you also enjoy political storylines. I enjoyed reading the (mis)adventures and am curious to discover where Meadow and her allies will take us to.
Thank you, Caffeine Book Tours for letting me be a part of A Shifting of Stars blog tour! You can read about the tour here on Shealea’s blog. Don’t forget to check out the other amazing posts from my fellow bookworms and tour participants:
☕ Blog tour launch at Shut up, Shealea
☕ Becky’s Book Blog
☕ Bemused Bibliophile
☕ Book Reviews from Canada
☕ Polish & Paperbacks
☕ #CBTTC Twitter chat hosted by Caffeine Book Tours (@CaffeineTours)
Kathy Kimbray is a YA author from Australia.
After graduating from the University of Technology, Sydney, with a degree in Media Arts and Production, she went on to complete postgraduate studies in education and spent many years as a primary school teacher.
Now a full-time novelist, Kathy is lucky to be able to tell stories every day.
Aside from writing, Kathy is an avid reader, dancer, language learner, musical theater enthusiast and fan of terrible reality TV. She lives with her husband in Sydney, and dreams of one day owning that elusive chateau in France.
GIVEAWAY INFORMATION & TWITTER CHAT
Caffeine Book Tours and Kathy Kimbray is also hosting a giveaway! Two lucky winners will receive a signed paperback copy of A Shifting of Stars or an Amazon gift card worth 10 USD. This is open worldwide, just click here to enter your name for the Rafflecopter giveaway.
While waiting, you can join in the fun at the Twitter chat on July 13 (9 PM PHT).