Back to top

Something for the long nights

Cover of The Starless Crown
A review of The Starless Crown by James Rollins

From what I hear from other readers I'm not alone in, more often then I'd like, struggling with my ability to really sink into a book. I don't know if the attention deficit comes from work, too many devices, or the general stressiness of life, but often I find that I have to work to stick to a book, even if I was sure I'd love it. But one genre lately has really been working for me and that is fantasy fiction. Something about entering a completely different world has just been easier. And so it was with The Starless Crown by James Rollins - which at over 500 pages could have been a slog, but was instead so gripping I couldn't wait to get back to it.

The story is told from multiple characters' points of view, starting with a young mostly blind student, Nyx, who survives an attack and begins to foretell the end of their world. Alternating sections describe the thief Rhaif who escapes a prison mine with a statue that is perhaps a god come to life, Prince Kanthe, the spare heir who is seen as a threat to his twin brother's rule, and an aging soldier who has vowed never to raise a weapon again. Each has their part to play as they are drawn inexorably together. Certainly this set up is pretty familiar to epic fantasy readers; a disparate cast of characters come from different walks of life and end up having to work together to prevent catastrophe. That is certainly a fair description here. But the extremely detailed world-building and the carefully constructed characterizations of this first in a series (trilogy?) by an author far better known for his thrillers? Makes for an enthralling, intensifying read. One that kept me coming back as soon as I could between work and sleep.

If you're just off a Dune viewing and looking for something as creatively immersive, this will fit the bill.

Nov 8, 2021