Looking over my book reviews from last year, I feel like I should probably stop saying things like “I don’t normally enjoy YA,” because, apparently, that’s just not true.
I’ll keep saying I’m a grumpy old fart, though, because I don’t always enjoy YA, and there are plenty of books I’ve started and then put down early on. Those aren’t for me, and I wouldn’t review those.
What I do enjoy is a good story, like Falling Through Stars.
This is a low-fantasy tale of a young clanswoman who wakes up after a nearly fatal accident and finds that she’s not quite the same person she was before. It’s about her life in the clan, in winter and in summer, and it’s about how the changes she suffered affect her. There’s also a bit of romance, of the nice and heart-warming kind.
In the foreword, the author mentions that the mythology of the story is inspired by the indigenous tribes of the area where she grew up, but also makes it clear that it’s not an attempt at telling their story, or using their actual mythology. Even so, the mythological component is both strong and believable, and it helps paint a picture of a world that could have been, and how life might have been lived there.
What I’ll whine about
The names. The characters in the story have long names with a lot of apostrophes, and very often I stumbled over them when reading. The names do help with giving the clan and its people a sense of authenticity, but if they hadn’t been carried by the world building, I’m not sure it would have worked.
What I’ll gush about
The sense of place. The world of the story feels real enough it’s almost like stepping through the page and seeing it for myself.
Ordinary people. This isn’t some high fantasy action mythology. The day to day life of the clan is an integral part of the reading experience and what could have been boring info-dumps instead deepen the immersion of the story.
The writing: It’s nigh on flawless and often very beautiful.
This is a deeply immersive story, with a lot of mythological undertones – and it still manages to be an easy read.