Thursday, August 6, 2009

Book Review: Starfinder by John Marco

13 year old Moth has heard many stories of the land beyond the Reach, where humans are forbidden to go by the mysterious Skylords. When Moth inherits a strange instrument called a Starfinder and a magical Kestrel named Esme, he sets out into the reach with his best friend Fiona to escape Fiona’s grandfather Rendor, a powerful governor bent on getting the Starfinder for himself.

Given my usual distaste for high fantasy (just looking at the cover makes me break out in hives), I found STARFINDER unexpectedly riveting. The human city of Calio feels vaguely steampunk – with its mix of airships and Victorian sensibility, and the Reach and its creatures are reminiscent of various well-loved fantasy worlds and myths, at once familiar and yet given a fresh spin.

I was especially fascinated by the Redeemers, former humans turned into slaves of the Skylords with special powers, and I liked how we really got to know and sympathize with one. In fact, all of the characters and beings are written with a depth that makes it difficult to know just what they might do next. No one here is completely evil or saintly, and even the dictatorial Skylords have their good side.

While many of the ideas and themes of the book seem like they belong in an adult fantasy, the dialogue is decidedly middle grade and filled with too much exposition for my taste. This is a quick, intelligent read that will resonate with more than only high fantasy fans. Just give it a chance.

STARFINDER is available in hardcover now. Find out more about the novel, the first in a planned trilogy, at the author’s website.

9 comments:

Steph Su said...

When I saw you reading this on Goodreads I thought that you'd probably enjoy it. I think this is one book that was probably publicized to the wrong crowd: I feel like it would be more compelling to adults than teens or middle graders.

Shooting Stars Mag said...

I agree with Steph...I think it's definitely older than middle grade readers in a lot of ways, or at least should be targeted to more than just them.

Glad you enjoyed it though. I liked it as well. Much more than I thought I might too!

bermudaonion said...

Interesting post and comments! I do enjoy some YA, but middle grade readers just don't grab me. Now I don't know what to think of this one.

Nymeth said...

Aw, I love the cover! And I liked the steampunkish feel, too. I'm not sure if I agree with Steph and Lauren, though.. to me, it felt "younger" than most of the fantasy I read. Not that that's necessarily a bad thing.

Nicole B. said...

It's definitely older than middle grade readers. But it's still a pretty good book. :]

PS: I FINALLY linked you on the WORD sidebar. IDK what took so long. XD

Beth F said...

I really liked this one -- for middle grade readers. I am a fantasy fan, but felt the book didn't translate well for adults. BUT middle readers are the intended audience, and Marco very nicely hit that audience.

J. Kaye said...

I was really sad to learn there might not be a book 2. John Marco said the publisher wasn't impressed with the sales.

Zibilee said...

I haven't read much in this genre, but your review is enticing. I like the fact that there are so many complexities in the story. I will be looking for this one. Thanks!

Zibilee said...

I haven't read much in this genre, but your review is enticing. I like the fact that there are so many complexities in the story. I will be looking for this one. Thanks!