I received free copies of these books from the publishers in exchange for honest reviews.
Death and destruction will bar her way. . . Kyndra’s fate holds betrayal and salvation, but the journey starts in her small village. On the day she comes of age, she accidentally disrupts an ancient ceremony, ending centuries of tradition. So when an unnatural storm targets her superstitious community, Kyndra is blamed. She fears for her life until two strangers save her, by wielding powers not seen for an age – powers fuelled by the sun and the moon. Together, they flee to the hidden citadel of Naris. And here, Kyndra experiences disturbing visions of the past, showing war and one man’s terrifying response. She’ll learn more in the city’s subterranean chambers, amongst fanatics and rebels. But first Kyndra will be brutally tested in a bid to unlock her own magic. If she survives the ordeal, she’ll discover a force greater than she could ever have imagined. But could it create as well as destroy? And can she control it, to right an ancient wrong?
Starborn is the first in the Worldmaker fantasy series that sees Kyndra’s life turned upside down within a matter of days. Upon her Inheritance Ceremony, she begins to understand that she is different to everyone around her as things go from bad to worse resulting in her having to leave the safety and comfort of her hometown in order to save herself, and those around her. As she follows the two Wielders, Bregenne and Nediah, Kyndra begins to understand more about her inheritance and who she is.
I really enjoyed the premise of the novel and the overall story arc and how it progressed. However, I did feel that it was a novel that was a bit drawn out in some respects – mainly in regards to her blatant skills as a Starborn. There were definitely, and always will be, a few scenes that slowed down the pace of the novel as characters travelled from one place to another but, in regards to Kyndra being a Starborn. . . I found this to be drawn out and long-winded. I felt that the “confusion” surrounding who and what she was by the Naris Council to be of no use as, it later turns out, they had an inclination as to what she was. It was drawn out way past the point that I, myself, understood her to be truly a Starborn and was only fully recognised within the last 100 pages or so. I feel that, had this been acknowledged more beforehand, some of the more trivial scenes where she is put to task reading books to help her understand could easily have been cut out and the novel would have had a faster pace.
The characters themselves I did enjoy, and loved the different personalities and relationships that appeared throughout. I enjoyed the nature of Kyndra – her stubbornness in particular being a trait that I thoroughly like in female protagonists of power. Bregenne and Nediah were also firm favourites in the way that they were connected and how they worked together in all aspects of their life. It was particularly interesting to see the way in which these three characters developed together throughout the novel and how their relationship changed as they began to understand more about each other. There were also the more corrupt antagonists that brought more conflict for Kyndra within her future and understanding herself and they brought another quality to the novel in understanding how the council and the wielders perceived certain people and events.
Overall I did enjoy the novel but found that it could have been a bit shorter with some scenes cut out and important information divulged sooner rather than later as it dragged the novel and really slowed it down. The characters were well fleshed out with individual personalities that clashed or complimented each other in a variety of ways and I enjoyed the conflict within the council and with the wielders and the central characters themselves.