Saturday, January 22, 2011

Book Review: StarCrossed by Elizabeth C. Bunce

StarCrossed by Elizabeth C. Bunce
Release Date: October 1, 2010
Arthur A. Levine Books
Pages: 359
Received: Library
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars, Special Shelf

Goodreads Page


From Goodreads: 

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...


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 StarCrossed was completely blow-my-mind amazing!

Digger, while likable from the start, was someone I could take or leave for the first part of the book. 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 and I found myself caring for her more and more.
Digger 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 abuse 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. StarCrossed 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 that 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 palpable. 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 could practically feel the frigid air and see the snowflakes swirling around me. 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 StarCrossed!

 Explanation of rating system: Star Rating Key 

 This book satisfies the following challenges:

Looking for something similar? You might like:
Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken


  1. A friend of mine read this and loved it, and I'm glad you liked it too! I'm adding this on my TBR. Haha, I'm not a fan of in your face romance, but a little teasing wouldn't hurt!

    Great review.

  2. I was just reading a discussion thread about YA and it's over-reliance on romance to try and sell the story. Sounds like you've found an exception to the rule!

  3. It sounds awesome! I better add it to my TBR :)

  4. Great review - sounds like a really awesome book!

    Thanks for dropping by my blog, I realize now that my format sort of looks like yours - sorry about that, I'll try to tweak it a bit more so it won't look like too 'Small Review-esque.'

    Have a great weekend!

    Brush Up On Your Reading

  5. Great review-I also hope for a bit of romance in the sequel (maybe flashbacks to Tegen?)

  6. Yep. You just reinforced my resolve to get this to the top of the pile. (It's very close . . .)

    Great review. Thanks!

  7. Oh. My. Gosh. SOOOOO reading this. I saw it, heard about it, and thought it looked interesting but I didn't think it would be THAT good! Oh dear, my TBR is getting fatter and fatter by the minute. Do you think he likes me for it? ;)
    Thanks for the AMAZING review... :)

  8. You know, I rather like stories that are not "in-your-face" romances (though that's not to say that I dislike stories that are), so this definitely sounds like something I would be into. Strange that I've never really heard much about this one before with the amount of praise you gave it.

  9. I loved the world building in this book. It would be perfectly doable as a historical fantasy. Haha.

  10. You've convinced me to read this book! It sounds really good! Also, thanks for mentioning that there is only a little romance in this book. I always like to know before reading a book if there is any romance in it. I'm a big fan of romance :o) Great review!

  11. Sniffly Kitty, I hope you enjoy it!

    Dazzling Mage, I agree, just a little teasing romance is nice. I’m hoping we get a teeny bit more in the sequel. Hope you enjoy this one!

    Bookish Hobbit, That is an interesting topic. I want a story to have a romantic relationship in it, not BE the relationship. This book was definitely refreshing.

    Bethany, I hope you enjoy it too!

    Nina, Thanks! Don’t worry at all about your format. :)

    Bookworm, Flashbacks to Tegan would be nice, but I’m hoping for a certain character from the first book to develop a relationship with her instead. :)

    Annette, Please do! I hope you like it.

    Yearning to Read, I think you’d like it! You don’t even want to see my TBR :P It’s extremely fat.

    Aylee, I do too. I don’t think this one has gotten much hype. Unfortunately, it seems to have fallen through the cracks next to all of the more paranormal releases last year.

    Need-Tea, Haha, yup. I kept hoping for a snow storm :)

    Laura, Yay! I hope you do read and enjoy it. Me too (about the romance). I always like knowing what I’m getting into.

  12. I'm really eager to read this one. I have to admit the cover caught my eye right away, but the story sounds awesome. Plus, I love that the main character's name is Digger!

  13. Aw man, I got this from the library and never got around to reading it. But if it belongs on your Special Shelf, I'll put a hold on it and read it this time!

    Lol, I want a little romance too.

  14. Looks fantastic! Now if my copy would come into the library...

  15. i hadn't heard of this book before but reading your review makes me want to go out and find it. i'm not a romance fan so that part definitely won me over and this is out of my comfort zone in general. However, i've been trying really hard to read outside my comfort zone and it has resulted in me finding some awesome books. And i do love books that slowly come together bit by bit and with each bit you realize how awesome the book is.

  16. I want books with in-your-face-romance. :( But I also love books with lots of twists and surprises! So I might just pick this up once my book buying ban is over.

    The Procrastinator's Corner


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