A Shifting of Stars by Kathy Kimbray
Young adult, fantasy
Ebook, 450 pages
This book was provided to me by Shealea @ Caffiene Tours free of charge 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.
Blog Tour Info
I was lucky enough to get accepted for Shealea @ Caffeine Tour’s blog tour for A Shifting of Stars! You can find more info about the tour here. Thank you to Shealea for letting me be part of this tour!
There will also be a Twitter chat on July 13th at 9am EST/9pm PHT hosted on the Caffeine Tours Twitter account. I unfortunately won’t be able to join, as that’s 6am in my timezone but I hope everyone that participates enjoys themselves!
I didn’t really have many expectations going into this book, aside from looking for a fast paced and exciting read. I do think that’s the best way to go into this book, because any expectations you have probably won’t end up the way you want them to.
Overall I enjoyed A Shifting of Stars. It won’t make my list of 2019 favourites, but it was a good experience. Kind of like trying out a new restaurant and knowing you’d go there again but it wouldn’t be the first place you suggest. For me, there were just a few small things that got on my nerves and prevented this from being a perfect book.
Let’s start off by talking about the world building which I actually loved a lot. There was a particular dedication to the history of Erraforge that I loved, and the magic element isn’t a huge focus. I appreciated that there was some interesting politics going on as I enjoy political-based fantasy but it wasn’t anything inventive. It was a pretty classic fantasy world, which isn’t inherently a bad thing, it’s just not necessarily a good thing either. I think it did what it was supposed to, but not much else.
There were quite a few characters in this book and as a side effect of that I think a lot of them were left pretty much undeveloped. I wasn’t a big fan of Meadow until about 75% of the way through the book, I just didn’t think she was all that interesting and it felt like things just kept happening to her as opposed to her being an active participant in the plot. The side characters were more interesting, particularly Casper and Vogel, both of whom I thoroughly enjoyed. I also really appreciated Malthe in that he was an absolutely horrendous person offered exactly no redemption. I really saw where the Red Queen comparison came in here, so if you were mad about the way Maven was handled you’ll probably like this quite a bit more.
Relationships in this book were pretty hit-or-miss for me, and by that I mean most were hits but there was one really big miss. Surprisingly that wasn’t the romance, which I thought was actually very well developed and had good chemistry. I also particularly enjoyed the relationship between Meadow and her father. We often see a lot of mothers in YA fantasy so I thought the fact that she had a good, strong relationship with her dad was a nice touch, especially after they’d been brought together over tragedy. The miss for me was Meadow and her so-called best friend. I say so-called because she didn’t really seem to care about Meadow like, at all? Or at least not as much as Meadow cared about her.
Plot-wise I think this book was pretty solid, although it took quite a while for the real action to kick off. I noticed other people saying the same when I looked at reviews on Goodreads, and I wouldn’t necessarily say that it’s a flaw, rather just something to be aware of. I do have to admit that none of the plot twists really felt all that shocking to me, which is another thing that isn’t inherently bad. Really a lot of your opinion on this book is going to be based on whether you’re looking for an action-packed twisty fantasy novel or not.
The one thing I’m going to complain about here is the writing. It really was not my favourite. There was a lot of telling over showing, which can be fine if done sparingly but it felt like a majority of the emotions our main character felt were told to us, rather than shown. The word choice often felt stilted, like Kimbray had a thesaurus propped open next to her and would refer to that to use a ~special~ word when a plain one would suffice. A key example of this was a scene fairly early on in the book where the word “textile” is used and I’m still not sure if she was talking about a curtain or a blanket. It felt unnecessary a lot of the time, and it pulled me out of the story on more than one occasion.
I definitely think this book is worth checking out if you like slower, political-based fantasy with a dash of adventure and magic. It’s an enjoyable book made up of the best kind of easy escapism. Also, the name Ladislas? Cool as hell.
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.
For my stop in the blog tour I’ve also made a playlist that you can list to here! You can also find the tracklist below.
01. Coattails — Broods
02. I’d Love to Change the World — Jetta
03. Safe & Sound — Taylor Swift ft. The Civil Wars
04. Castle (Huntsman Winter’s War version) — Halsey
05. Breathe — Fleurie
06. Whose Side Are You on — Ruelle
07. No One’s Here to Sleep — Naughty Boy ft. Bastille
08. East of Eden — Zella Day
09. Higher (Stripped) — The Score
10. Shining — X Ambassadors
You could win 1 signed paperback copy of A Shifting of Stars or 1 Amazon gift card worth 10 USD. Open internationally! You can enter here.