Engaging premise and strong protagonist
Kamzin dreams of being an explorer, climbing mountains, and finding adventures. When a twist of fate allows her to journey with River, one of the Emperor’s royal explorers, to climb the mountain in the Aryas. But danger awaits their group at every turn, and Kamzin’s sister, Lusha, is rushing to climb the mountain herself separately. Nature, relationships, and secrets divide them all, and survival has never been more uncertain.
EVEN THE DARKEST STARS holds an interesting premise of mountain exploration in a magical world. Kamzin and the other characters are at the heart of the novel with some of the fantasy elements taking a backseat, which isn’t always common in fantasy stories. Kamzin is wonderfully ambitious with clear goals, and I love how she develops through the story as she becomes closer to her dreams and faces different obstacles than she expected.
Unfortunately, while Kamzin’s character is excellent, the pacing is on the slow end, and the love triangle is a typical dynamic. There were times I struggled to keep going. However, when there is high action, it is done very well and often unveils secrets and emotions from the characters. The love triangle follows a usual good guy/close friend versus exciting new guy scenario. While that is not my favorite, those who do enjoy love triangles will likely still enjoy the romantic elements.
Though there are weaker parts to the story, EVEN THE DARKEST STARS offers a well-developed and ambitious main character and a survivalist adventure with a good hook.