WHEN STARS DIE, By Amber Skye Forbes (Review)
*Please note, I purchased this book and the author did not solicit this review.*
My overall Amazon Star Rating – 4 stars for this paranormal YA.
This book is available in paperback & Kindle.
Here I am with another book review. I started to read When Stars Die, by Amber Skye Forbes, a couple months ago, but into only about the first 5 Kindle pages I had to put it down due to some personal matters. Technically, I was not reading anything at all really. I picked this book back up on a Tuesday, if I remember correctly, and finished it on Friday. I started at page one and began again. I read the book during my work commute and lunches at work. I found that I didn’t want to stop reading and needed to know what was going to happen next.
If you’ve read my reviews in the past, then you’ll know I do not synopsis of a book, since so many other reviewers do that so I just don’t bother. Please check Amazon for the back cover and other reviews of the book. The link will be posted at the end.
I’m not really certain what type of book When Stars Die is, for me. I do believe it’s YA/fantasy or dark fantasy. But, I believe it’s suitable for any age group really. So if you’re a little older, don’t hesitate to pick this one up.
I’ll start with what I liked most – a new, interesting concept; taking old ideas and weaving them into new stories, different stories. The book is edited pretty well – I didn’t catch any big errors or anything that rocked the flow of the story, and the story is remarkably written. It has a fantastic cover! – but, I must admit, I’m not sure exactly what the cover has to do with the story or which character that might be on the cover.
The truth is I did not like the opening of the book. I hated Mother Aurelia, and I didn’t like that Amelia felt she had to be professed to save her brother. I even hated that she did something so naive as to run away from home and disregard her parents. But, I guess an author’s done their job when they evoke such extremes from their readers.
This book was dark and emotionally stirring, indeed. I was caught off guard by it. In fact, I am the type who writes such darkness herself, therefore, I allowed the darkness of the tale to sweep me away because I am the type that lives for such a thing. And the book made me happy through its darkness.
The darkness and the heavy subjects nearly pulled me under. I wanted this book to take me away to someplace else and it did. I think if this book is truly YA, it will take strong young minds to get through the emotional ride.
However, there were a few holes in the story…or maybe it’s just things I personally didn’t like. You know how that goes. Just because I didn’t like how a scene turned out, doesn’t make it bad. They are not poorly written scenes, but sometimes we don’t like the outcome. I do feel Amelia carries on and explains things in her mind to a fault at times and it sort of got on my nerves.
I have read a few other reviews for When Stars Die and I see a chief complaint – that the author didn’t reveal everything in the first 3 chapters. She wasn’t supposed to. This is a mystery – it unfolds. She wasn’t supposed to tell you right off the bat all about Amelia and her family. Or how she got to Reims. That stuff was revealed as it should have been, in my opinion. While, yes, some of it should’ve been explained in more detail, I do think the timing of the events and revelations of the story were okay. If she did reveal everything in the first pages, what would be the point in finishing the story?
I think as far as story and plot, it was revealed all in good time. Now, yes, there are a few missing pieces, and I do feel this book could’ve been longer. We could have known more by the book’s end. But the author wrote what she wrote and maybe in the next books she’ll slow it down a tad and give us more info.
I liked this story overall. I feel the idea was innovative and her fantastical places and people were captivating. She took things that have been written about for centuries and put a new spin on them and I liked this idea very much. I definitely give the storyline and inspiration in the book 5 stars because a witch tale has not been done quite like this before. Freshness…some readers are just afraid of it.
Some of the characters needed a bit more development. Some of them were not as smart as I’d like them to be, but the main characters are young. However, none are less than three dimensional. I do feel that Amelia spent most of the time a bit too confused, but who wouldn’t be. I feel she came off as weak yet she was strong at the same time. Maybe she was a complainer, but she always did what she felt needed doing and it was for selfless reasons. She’s naïve and, dare I say, wishy-washy at times, but she is only 18, and she has had little experience with the outside world…and remember, she’s been in a convent for 3 of those years. So her actions or train of thought might seem more like that of a 15 year old than an 18 year old…just remember where she’s been. She’s learning the hard way.
POSSIBLE SPOILER — I’m trying not to “spoil” here as I usually do not intentionally include spoilers. As for Oliver – he was my favorite character and I think he had further potential. Maybe he was the character I identified with. I wish Amelia had made a better choice when it came to him. I mean, she became a shadowman anyway and what happened between them was the let down in the book for me. It’s the spot that broke my heart. And it just seemed like their final scene went way too fast. I understand Amelia had to make a quick decision but I just feel there was room for more where the two of them are concerned. It was even told to her by Collette that Oliver did love her. Perhaps, Oliver could have made it further down the story line. Maybe even into the next book. But that can’t happen now and I’m hoping that Amelia will redeem herself in my eyes in future books. I do understand her POV – Oliver had an agenda that he really couldn’t help. Even if he allowed him his “exaltation” and became a shadowman to be with him, he still had another agenda which she may not have been able to stop him from accomplishing, or talk him out of.
As for the other characters, many had parts where they flowed in and out and I think their personalities were well defined enough for their roles. But, if some of them are returning, we’ll need more background on them in the subsequent book. I am hoping Nathaniel makes his return in a blaze of glory and I hope he doesn’t break my heart too.
In the end, the surprise for me was Mother Aurelia. She redeemed herself to me. I was glad someone did. I wonder what became of her?
I’m looking to the next book for the author to slow it down a bit, and write until it really is finished. The ending of When Stars Die was a bit rushed. Good, but rushed. Things could have been more developed. Expanded.
I will definitely be giving the next book a read.
Check out When Stars Die, for sale on Amazon here: