My Favorite Books

The Walking Drum
Ender's Game
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
The Curse of Chalion
The Name of the Wind
Chronicles of the Black Company
The Faded Sun Trilogy
The Tar-Aiym Krang

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Review: The Starless Crown

The Starless Crown The Starless Crown by James Rollins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The narration was fairly solid with a good range of voices.

The story is based on a planet that has arrested its rotation and subsequently reducing civilization to small rings or crowns between the hot and cold while also providing a pseudo-steam-punk (think air-ships) world to play in. Most of the animals appear to have evolved into greater threats and/or intelligence, with bats in particular gaining a hive mind organization that was pretty interesting. There were a number of other takes on animal life that added to the general dystopian feel of the story. The principle societies appear to be marked off with a north/south divide and provide the engine for much of the plot conflict. There is a dash of magic that was based on visualizing songs that control the environment in some fashion mixed in with mechanical alchemy (which was a bit weird). Only all it felt like a solid setting for the story.

The main characters were also well developed and generally sympathetic figures. Nyx is a girl abandoned at birth in the beginning of the story under mysterious circumstances that are gradually revealed throughout the story and is generally pretty interesting. Raffe is a thief, betrayed by his guild who escapes from the Salt mines with a powerful artifact/weapon that Kingdom forces want to aid their desire for conquest/war. Kanthe is the spare Prince of the Realm on the run from assassins. These POV run mostly parallel for the first half of the story before you start to see them come together … and it takes a LONG time to develop that part of the story where you really don’t see much in the way of action (for 10 hrs or so). There is some … but mostly you just get people on the run, but most of the story is the characters trying to figure out what is happening to them and why. The second half gets a lot more exciting once they all get together and the hunt kicks into high gear, but the ending seems a tad unfinished (as if this was just the setup for the series).

So … the story is really 3.5 stars … but I am rounding up for the narration and world building.

I was given this free advance review copy (ARC) ebook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

#TheStarlessCrown #NetGalley.

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My Ratings Explained ...

  • [ ***** ] Amazing Read - Perfect story, exciting, engrossing, well developed complex characters, solid plot with few to no holes, descriptive environments and place settings, great mystery elements, realistic dialogue, believable reactions and behaviors; a favorite that I can re-read many times.
  • [ **** ] Great Read - Highly entertaining and enjoyable, exciting storyline, well developed characters and settings, a few discrepancies but nothing that can’t be overlooked. Some aspect of the story was new/refreshing to me and/or intriguing. Recommended for everyone.
  • [ *** ] Good Read - Solid story with a 'good' ending, or has some other redeeming feature. Limited character development and/or over reliance on tropes. Noticeable discrepancies in world building and/or dialog/behavior that were distracting. I connected enough with the characters/world to read the entire series. Most of the books I read for fun are here. Recommended for fans of the genre.
  • [ ** ] Okay Read - Suitable for a brief, afternoon escape … flat or shallow characters with little to no development. Over the top character dialog and/or behavior. Poor world building with significant issues and/or mistakes indicating poor research. Excessive use of trivial detail, info dumps and/or pontification. Any issues with the story/characters are offset by some other aspect that I enjoyed. Not very memorable. May only appeal to a niche group of readers. Recommended for some (YMMV).
  • [ * ] Bad Read - Awkward and/or confusing writing style. Poor world building and/or unbelievable (or unlikeable) characters. Victimization, gaslighting, blatant abuse, unnecessary violence, child endangerment, or any other highly objectionable behaviors by Main characters. I didn't connect with the story at all; significant aspects of this story irritated me enough that I struggled to finished it. Series was abandoned. Not recommended.