Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Star Shard by Frederic S. Durbin

Cymbril's only duty is to sing. She was purchased by the master of Thunder Rake (a giant wagon city that travels from place to place) so that she would use her lovely voice to captivate the local audiences who come to spend money at the markets. She is a slave and she works very hard, but people take care of her and she wears beautiful clothes. She misses her late parents (and worries about forgetting them), but she doesn't spend too much time thinking about what she's missing in her life. Then her master brings in a new person, a mysterious boy named Loric. Cymbril is drawn to him, and being around him helps her to realize things about herself. The two of them devise a plan to escape from the Rake, but will they be able to survive the dangerous attempt?

Looking back at the book after reading the story, I have a new appreciation of the cover. The trees evoke the idea of prison bars, echoing Cymbril's growing realization that she is a prisoner. It took me awhile to get into the story, I think because I had a difficult time understanding exactly what the Rake was. But once Cymbril ventures into a mysterious place known as the Night Market, the atmospheric details kicked in for me and I was able to settle into the story. The themes of slavery and freedom are referred to quite often, but they allow the reader a chance to reflect on what it means for a person to be free (an important consideration, particularly for young readers). A fantasy story for middle grade readers with hints of violence, lots of suspense but not too much gore, I can definitely see this being a favourite for both male and female readers.

I received a review copy from NetGalley courtesy of Houghton Mifflin Books for Children. 

Check out Frederic S. Durbin's website.

The Star Shard was serialized in Cricket Magazine

Find it at IndieBound. 

Read it with:
Dragonfly by Frederic S. Durbin
Breaking Stalin's Nose by Eugene Yelchin
Darkest Light by Hiromi Goto

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad to know that this is one for my tbr list--thanks for the review!