Review: Even the Darkest Stars by Heather Fawcett

, by Kt Clapsadl

Even the Darkest Stars by Heather Fawcett
Even the Darkest Stars #1

Kamzin has always dreamed of becoming one of the Emperor’s royal explorers, the elite climbers tasked with mapping the wintry, mountainous Empire and spying on its enemies. She knows she could be the best in the world, if only someone would give her a chance.

But everything changes when the mysterious and eccentric River Shara, the greatest explorer ever known, arrives in her village and demands to hire Kamzin—not her older sister Lusha, as everyone had expected—for his next expedition. This is Kamzin’s chance to prove herself—even though River’s mission to retrieve a rare talisman for the emperor means climbing Raksha, the tallest and deadliest mountain in the Aryas. Then Lusha sets off on her own mission to Raksha with a rival explorer who is determined to best River, and Kamzin must decide what’s most important to her: protecting her sister from the countless perils of the climb or beating her to the summit.

The challenges of climbing Raksha are unlike anything Kamzin expected—or prepared for—with avalanches, ice chasms, ghosts, and even worse at every turn. And as dark secrets are revealed, Kamzin must unravel the truth of their mission and of her companions—while surviving the deadliest climb she has ever faced.

I'm honestly rather torn on my thoughts about EVEN THE DARKEST STARS. On one hand the concept was incredibly intriguing, and I loved the characters. The pacing at the start through the first third of the book or so was fantastic and I found myself turning the pages as fast as I could. However, the middle is where things bogged down a good bit for me. While the book did pick up quite a bit at the end, it didn't compensate for the middle part dragging so much. Don't get me wrong, the detail of all of the climbing aspects was incredibly interesting, but after a while, it just slowed the pacing down too much for my tastes.

Another thing that left me torn was the predictability. The concept of the book seemed so unique and fascinating, but the further I read, the more I felt like it was just like so many other YA novels out there. From the super special heroine who is of course magical at her skills, to the love triangle between the long time best friend and the mysterious new bad boy and I was left just a bit, well bored. Don't get me wrong, I love a good tried and true YA book just as much as the next gal, but it needs a strong plot in addition. I think this coupled with the entire vast middle of the book nothing REALLY happens other than climbing and more climbing, and it left me putting the book aside for other things. It's a shame because it started off with such promise, and then the ending, wow what a bang, but the middle just held this book back in my opinion. I hope the next book in this duology continues with the bang this one ended on. 

(Received a copy from the publisher)

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