Hey, writers and readers!
It’s not a good month without an indie novel or two. Today I’ll be reviewing Starlight by P. S. Malcolm. This is a prequel novella to her Starlight Chronicles series.
I’ve followed Malcolm’s nonfiction work for a while now—she has a lot of great blog posts and freebies for indie authors of all levels and experience. Now, it’s interesting to see how she practices what she preaches in her own fiction writing.
Shall we dive in, then?
Check out the review below. I’ll be sharing some thoughts about what I love about this book and why it’s a good read for you.
Rating: 5 stars
A treaty upholds the peaceful lands of Ersarence— who have suffered from the spilt blood of their humble goddess, Titania, which stains the hands of the ruthless Urenphians.
Julian Rancewood— a small town delivery boy— wishes he could afford to save his dying mother. He never imagined a larger life for himself until he meets Adrina Hesfetter, the village seamstress’s daughter.
After striking a deal with the elusive King’s advisor and joining the royal army, he finds himself helping to search for a missing, unknown heir. Against all odds, Adrina and Julian soon meet again within the palace walls.
When Julian discovers Adrina’s fire magic— an impossibility among non-royals— they uncover a scandalous secret that will cause whispers of a Urenphian rebellion to travel through the kingdom. A thirst for revenge and a passionate romance causes the two villagers to set the events in motion which will bring down the entire Starlight Kingdom.
What I Enjoyed
This book is your classic “boy meets girl” narrative but it’s so much more. I love a good fantasy novel (novella, in this case) that addresses magic, social class, and justice vs. mercy. There’s quite a few twists and turns here that made this prequel stand out from the others.
Most prequels carry the task of establishing world-building and the rules for magic so when we dive into the series, we’ve already been briefed on what to expect. So the novella is arguably strong on the worldbuilding and secondary on establishing characters. It’s clear that we’ll need to remember a few of them for the series but ultimately it gave us an excellent teaser for what Malcolm has in store later down the road.
Without spoiling anything, there’s a mighty fine twist in the novel that I didn’t see coming and was possibly my favorite part. I can’t give too much away but all I can say that as a feminist reader, I appreciated this unlikely team-up that made the protagonist less predictable and more relatable.
My Final Thoughts
Prequels/novellas are hard to write sometimes. Mainly because prequels involve huge time jumps and characters that might not make it to the actual series. They also tend to have sad endings because the story propels the plot for the series, too. I feel like Starlight did these things but it didn’t make me sad. Instead, it made me more excited for Lanterns in the Sky, which is book 1 of the Starlight Chronicles. I’m ready to see how the themes and characters manifest in a full novel.
I hope I shared enough to still pique your curiosity without giving too much away. If you’d like to learn more about P. S. Malcolm and her work, you can catch up with her via social media:
Do you have thoughts about this book? Share with me in the comments! You can also see all of my other book reviews by checking out the Book Reviews tab.