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.
“I serve Her Highness, just as you will. When you’ve served the Tyjans as long as I have, you learn how to listen, how to smile, how to notice.”
*I received a finished copy of this book in exchange for participating in this blog tour and giving an honest review.*
This book starts a year after our main character Meadow has lost her mother to sickness. Her best friend Anai suggests that she attends a gathering, a place where people share stories and poems. Whilst there, Meadow loses her composure and begins speaking out against the emperor. Unfortunately, the emperor’s eldest son Malthe overhears what she says and has her arrested for treason. The rest of the book follows Meadow as she is submerged in the politics of the palace in her fight against the kingdom’s ruling family’s bloodlust and selfishness.
Twist, turns, hmm I think I got it! Oops, never mind. Almost every time I thought I had predicted the next few chapters I was either wrong or the book developed in the direction but with a slight but important difference. I predicted about twenty different endings before actually getting it right, and that only happened two pages before it actually happened.
I loved the author’s writing style as it was eloquent, descriptive, and had me engaged throughout the whole story. Something was always happening throughout the book and there were not any parts that made me want to skip ahead. This book also explores grief and how it affects people in a way that feels real and honest. Additionally, the book also focuses on the bonds of friendship and family. Unlike a of lot fantasy stories that have either absent, dead, or bad parents, A Shifting of Stars focuses on the love a daughter has for her father.
While there is a romantic interest, and a romantic connection building between two characters, it doesn’t become the focus of the story, allowing us to focus on the plot and Meadow’s family and friends. I adore the friendship between Anai and Meadow and hope we get to learn more about her in the next book. Since this book is written in the first person from Meadow’s perspective, we really get to know her as a character and understand just important her friends and family are to her.
However, the thing that bothered me is the world building. The start of the book was very quick, with people and places being introduced without a lot of information given to the reader. Some of the side characters, who play big roles in the plot, don’t get much character development as they are put off to the side in order for us to learn more about Meadow. Meadow is a very loving person and I loved seeing the bonds between her family and friends, but she seems to be naive and has very little understanding of how the kingdom works. She’s very quick-witted and seems to be quite smart, so it’s almost like she willfully doesn’t participate in society as a way to protect herself. While that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, she is narrating the story so the reader isn’t given a deeper explanation of the world building. The magic system is introduced very late into the story so we haven’t learned much about it yet, but the unexpected ending has left me nicely hooked and ready for the next book.
Overall, this story was an interesting adventure that set up the next book really well. The book’s themes and social constructions (such as the idea that women are inferior) are explored in a deep meaningful way, along with the ramifications it can create. Meadow is an interesting character and she develops throughout the story. I’m excited to see where this story goes because while this book may not have gotten five stars from me, the potential is there and I believe this series will end up being something I really love.
Thank you to both the author Kathy Kimbray and Shealea from Caffeine Book Tours for organizing this tour. You can follow the rest of the tour here.
“Sometimes important people come into your life and you need to pay attention. For if you don’t, they will leave without warning, a huge hole left in their place. And the hole cannot be filled with another. And since they’re not there, you will live a half-life, always wondering what could have been.”
About The Author
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.
Prize: One (1) signed paperback copy of A Shifting of Stars and one (1) Amazon gift card worth 10 USD (two winners: one for the paperback, one for the gift card)
Scope: Open worldwide/internationally