The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Globe Life

August 20, 2012

Cari Rerat: Fantasy author to visit Joplin Public Library

JOPLIN, Mo. — I reviewed Elizabeth Bunce’s first book, “A Curse Dark as Gold,” back in June. The teens chose that book for our first book club of the summer, and we were gearing up for Bunce’s visit to Joplin the week the review was published.

Circumstances beyond anyone’s control required the library to reschedule Bunce’s author visit for 10 a.m. this Saturday. The extra time has given me a chance to review Bunce’s second book, “Star Crossed.”

Celyn Contrare is a girl with a past. So much so that her name isn’t even really Celyn.

Really, she’s Digger -- a thief for hire on the run from a religious police force called Greenmen. A series of lies just true enough to be believable lands her in a boat full of partying aristocrats and into her role as Celyn, lady-in-waiting.

The kind and gentle Lady Merista is one of the aristocrats, though she isn’t partying. Meri is about to turn 14, the age of adulthood, and must be kept in seclusion with her family and attendants so she can learn how to be a proper lady. Desperate for a friend during this time, Meri insists that Celyn go, too. The next thing Celyn knows, she is whisked off with Meri’s family to be her lady-in-waiting.

Once ensconced in the mountain-side castle and properly snowed in, Celyn is confronted by the sinister Lord Daul. He knows she’s not really Celyn Contrare and threatens to expose her to Meri and her parents if Celyn doesn’t work for him.

To protect herself, Celyn must gain the trust of Meri’s family so that she can spy on them for Lord Daul. His plan is to use the information she gives him to turn everyone in the castle over to the Greenmen.

The more Celyn learns about Meri, her family, and the secrets they are trying to keep, the more she wants to protect them, but old habits die hard. Celyn must choose between her instincts to remain uninvolved and her desire to do the right thing.

I enjoyed “A Curse Dark as Gold,” but I loved “Star Crossed”! Fantasy tends to be my genre of choice these days, and this book floated right up as one of the best I read this year. With complex secrets, forbidden magical abilities, political intrigue and a girl who can hold her own in sticky situations, I could hardly put the book down. Bunce’s character development is still spot-on. Celyn is fully fleshed out, as are the secondary characters. With so many characters to remember, Bunce does a good job of making them unique and memorable.

“Liar’s Moon,” the sequel to “Star Crossed,” is also an excellent read for fantasy lovers (both teens and adults).

My only quibble with “Star Crossed” is that some of the names used are not easily pronounced in my head. Luckily, Elizabeth Bunce will be here to tell me how to pronounce them.

 

Cari Rerat is the teen librarian for the Joplin Public Library.

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