Series: Even the Darkest Stars #1
Release Date: September 5th 2017
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
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.
This book really caught me eye with that stunning cover and after reading the blurb I was desperate to dive in. I enjoyed this book so much and am just itching to read the sequel. It was so full of magic and has such a beautiful setting that you can’t help but fall in love with it.
The story is told from the point of view of Kazmin, a young girl who dreams of being an explorer. She accompanies famous explorer River Shara on his expedition to the summit of the most dangerous mountain, Raksha. Her sister Lusha is also attempting the summit and Kamzin has to not only survive the climb but protect her sister too. I love Kamzin, I thought she was a great protagonist. She’s full of determination and just a bit stubborn but her and River make a great team and I really enjoyed watching her grow as she fought the dangers of the mountain. Kamzin also has a pet dragon which I would pretty much do anything to have in real life so how could you not love her.
The world building in Even the Darkest Stars is wonderful too. There’s plenty of magic and adventure and the world is steeped in plenty of history and myth. The book is pretty quickly paced and I found myself racing to the end to find out what happens. There’s more than a few mysteries and plot twists along the way and you’re bounding to be dying for book two when you finish. This was completely unlike any other YA fantasy I’ve ever read and I definitely applaud the originality of the plot.
Like most YA there’s also a splash of romance but it isn’t over the top and doesn’t detract from the adventure and the mystery. If you’re looking for a fun and exciting read, Even the Darkest Stars is sure to be a hit!