Starlighter has a dual plot line—the heroine is Koren, an orphaned slave on a world where dragons rule and humans are treated like cattle, forced to dig holes to release ignitable gas into the atmosphere that the dragons need to survive, and fear their masters eat them when they’re “Promoted,” which supposedly involved being sent to cooler northern climes. The other plot line involves Jason, a teen boy who takes over his brother’s job guarding the despotic governor and palace intrigues soon launch him on a quest to find the Lost Ones taken to the dragon world a century ago. Those who believe in the Dragon world and the Lost Ones are persecuted.
Perhaps because it is YA, starting out, it was cumbered down by a bit much telling, mostly relationships, a bit of thought tagging, and such. It was probably thought younger readers might not get it by being shown these things like you would with adults. Personally, I think we don’t give teens enough credit. Once we got past that, however, the book settled into the breakneck pacing and engaging story weaving from the previous title we, er, I reviewed from this author.
Aspects that made me go ew:
- Severed, glowing fingers cut out of despot’s chests and burned into the hero’s chest. Can I say again, ew?
Aspects that intrigued me:
- The conflicting origins stories told to the citizens of Starlight/Dracon. The alleged myths say they came from Jason’s world—stolen for no good reason according to the humans and to save a handful of survivors from man-eating bears (that can talk.) But others present supposedly ironclad evidence that humans have always been on Starlight. It’ll be interesting to see how this unresolved conflict plays out in future installments.
- The prince in the black egg—his nature is kept, probably deliberately, mysterious for most of the book—a prophecy hints at a sinister intent towards humans early on, but he plays nice guy, (the egg can talk, too) trying to sound like Jesus, but actually reversing the Lord’s teachings subtly. In the end, the author highlights this without being preachy. It does occur to me, were teens as stupid as all the telling early on would suggest, they might miss this subtly and think he’s the wise counselor he wants others to believe he is. I think not, though.
- Arxad the Dragon Priest, his clear sympathies towards humans, but ardent and honest loyalty to the dragon regime that oppresses them.
If you love classic fantasy adventures with good old fashioned fire-breathers, and don’t mind magic tokens in the form of severed body parts, this would be a good one to preview before deciding whether it’s appropriate for your teen. (Note: I always advocate screening your child’s reading materials. Besides, it’s an excuse to read it yourself.)
Other Stops on the Tour:
R. L. Copple
CSFF Blog Tour
D. G. D. Davidson
Rebecca LuElla Miller
John W. Otte
Donita K. Paul
Rachel Starr Thomson