These Burning Stars by Bethany Jacobs
My rating: 1 of 5 stars
This book did Not work for me (DNF@50%). The biggest reason for that is I just did not connect to any of the characters; in fact, I hated them all (because they are pure evil). There is an unhealthy focus on violence, death and sex in this story that seems to preclude any character redemption and/or growth, making the world building the only element that could possibly save this hot mess … and it did have a lot of potential (with a tripartite ruling class of brute, priest and spy along with some gender/pronoun games); but in the end that too falls flat as none of the concepts are really explained well nor explored. While I applaud the avoided of info dumping that seems to be common in the genre, the over reliance on made up words and redefined terms make it extremely difficult to get a bead on what is going on from the context. This is only exacerbated by the use of third person singular (present tense), which keeps the action moving but doesn’t allow much in the way of exposition.
I was given this free advance reader copy (ARC) ebook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.
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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.