Author: Lucy Hounson
Rating: 1 out of 5 stars
Did Not Finish (DNF) @ 54%
The best way to describe this book is that it is a hot mess. It goes from a possible dystopian fantasy, to a possible quest based fantasy, to (what it actually is) epic fantasy.
Now maybe you're thinking, ohhh that sounds elaborate and I love elaborate. So do I. Except that when you build a new elaborate world you absolutely MUST build characters alongside it that your readers are dying to read about. At no time did I ever feel like I was drawn into this world or was excited about reading more of it. In fact it was the opposite, I dreaded picking it up.
There are three major mistakes made in Starborn:
1) Very poor characterizations. I did not hate our lead girl but I certainly didn't like her. The two travelling companions that she goes with could have been super mysterious and interesting, but instead they had stilted dialogue and just no chemistry with each other or our lead gal.
2) Plot. You must make me want to keep reading. This (generally) requires plot. There needs to be something drawing us into the story that is moving it forwards. Instead in Starborn things happen that are random, make no sense and seem to happen because it's convenient. A huge pet peeve of mine is when there is no flow to the story and things seem to happen because the author needed them to happen instead of them fitting into the story and plot.
3) Writing. While the last couple chapters I read actually had some good writing and dialogue going on; during the first 45% of Starborn it feels like Lucy Hounsom is finding her writing style and therefore it's all over the place (a hot mess). I'm shocked that TOR didn't work on this more and allowed it to be published as is.
Now I know what you're thinking, but Mel if you stopped reading just as the writing was improving how do you the rest of the book isn't great?
The thing is I just don't care. Our lead gal is inconsistent and does things not because they fit her as a character but because they need to happen. Random people show up with no real purpose or semblance of reason. The world building is just strange (ancient superstition, magic, tribal living, then airships, large cities, etc); it's like Hounson couldn't decide what kind of world she was building so she threw everything into it. I could go on but let's face it I'm just repeating myself.
Maybe if this book had started at the 40% with a short prologue or flashbacks to tell the first 40% of the story in a quick fashion I would have felt differently. But I just wasn't willing to force myself to pick this book up and pretend to care any longer than the 54% I read.
Please note: I received an eARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. This is an honest and unbiased review.