The book gods must have smiled down on me because I was selected as one of the participants for Caffeine Book Tours’ blog tour for A Shifting of Stars by Kathy Kimbray! Thank you, Shealea, for organizing this! You can read more about the blog tour here.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Title: A Shifting of Stars
Author: Kathy Kimbray
Publication date: 28 May 2019
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
A squandering emperor. A handsome stranger. A reluctant heroine. And the ancient magic that will capsize a kingdom.
Seventeen-year-old Meadow Sircha watched her mother die from the wilting sickness. Tormented by the knowledge that the emperor failed to import the medicine that would have saved her, she speaks out at a gathering of villagers, inciting them to boycott his prized gladiator tournament.
But doing so comes at a steep cost.
Arrested as punishment for her impulsive tongue, Meadow finds herself caught up in the kind of danger she’s always tried to avoid. After a chance meeting with an enigmatic boy, she’s propelled on a perilous trek across the outer lands. But she soon unearths a staggering secret: one that will shift her world—and the kingdom—forever.
Filled with longing and heart, surprise and wonder, A SHIFTING OF STARS is perfect for fans of AN EMBER IN THE ASHES, RED QUEEN and SHADOW AND BONE.
I am quite wary of fantasy books in general because they are usually a hit or miss for me, but A Shifting of Stars took me on a ride that I was happy to experience.
The story started off as stated in the synopsis, and about a quarter of a way in the book, I can pretty much guess the events that will take place. The author jumps from one event to another fairly quickly, which prevented the first part of the story from being too dragging. The middle part of the story picks up, but the last 150 pages or so contain a series of plot twists that solidified my belief that this book was worth the read. If you will read A Shifting of Stars, you have to possess a bit of patience in order to reach a certain point in the story where there are several surprising and unforeseen events. The plot is pretty solid. I do like how the book starts with the most important part of Meadow’s past, because this shows how it affected her decisions which pushes the story forward. It was different from your usual first chapter of a book, which just dedicates itself to describing the world and background the main character exists in.
Speaking of the main character, I wasn’t taken by Meadow immediately, but I do admire her courage and quiet strength as she faces one perilous situation after another. I grew to love her more so during the last 150 pages of the book when I understood her better. That singular moment while she reflects on her mother’s death allowed me to have a connection with her. She’s a very imperfect character, and I admire the author for not sticking with a heroine that is like a PowerPuff Girl who aims to save everyone from death and evil. All she wanted was to keep her loved ones safe, regardless of her own safety, and doesn’t aim to please others and bend to their will. Vogel is a more complex character, and although he and Meadow have both experienced loss, I was pleased that he handles his grief differently from her. I also love how, in the presence of fear and death, he strives to remain a good man amidst the backdrop of brutality.
The story has loss, grief and politics as its main themes and it really shone all throughout the book. As I have mentioned before, Meadow’s grief over her mother and possible loss of her father remain as one of the driving forces behind this character’s motives, and I admire how the book highlights it. Grief is not portrayed in its usual way wherein the main character wallows in it and tries to overcome it by creating distractions for herself. It was real, and the anger amidst her grief is existing and true. The way her grief seeps into her once she is confronted by a scenario similar to her last memories with her mother was one of my favorite bits in the book. Politics and abuse of power were very obvious through the description of the story’s setting and the immoral acts of Prince Malthe.
For me, Kathy’s writing style shines and it is one of the reasons why I was engrossed in the book. Her word choice is spot on and vivid that I often have a picture of the scene in my head while I was reading.
Although the story is well-written and exciting, there are some things I wish could be different about the book. I felt that Meadow’s relationships with other people (save from her father and Vogel) are rather weak. Because of the events that quickly happen one after the other, Meadow was not able to form stronger bonds with the rest of the characters. There is so much potential for Meadow to strengthen her bonds with Carliss, Casper, and Kalliope. I was also a bit disappointed with Anai’s reaction to Meadow’s disappearance after the Gathering, as if she wasn’t overly concerned. I do commend her for sticking with Meadow afterwards, but the initial impression she made at first wasn’t great and it made me wonder about their relationship. Also, I was expecting the magical factor would come early in the story, but it only happened during the latter parts of A Shifting of Stars. Maybe that is part of the big reveal, which is why it was mentioned very late, but I wanted more of that magical aspect sprinkled throughout the story.
All in all, I’d give this book a solid 4 out of 5 stars for keeping me on my toes and for that beautiful imagery the author has painted in her story. I cannot for the sequel and to be swept away with (hopefully) more magic.
With a talent for manipulating words into beautiful and vivid prose, it is hard to narrow down my favorite quotes into only a few. Here are some of them that does not (and cannot) do justice to the wonderful story the author has written.
Running for your lives often leaves you hungry and with little to no food. Because of Kathy Kimbray’s imagery and description, I tried to imagine what the characters’ comfort food would look like should they escape danger.
Meadow: A hearty bowl of delicious, warm pumpkin soup with lightly buttered crusty bread on the side is a certified comforting dish. It should be accompanied by a cup of hot chocolate with creamy milk to help ease the burden she carries throughout her journey. Meadow is simple and is likely to appreciate things that hold a strong memory for her. I think she would appreciate this humble feast because it’s cozy and is reminiscent of one’s childhood.
Vogel: A thick, tender piece of juicy steak, baby potatoes and roasted veggies with gravy will surely be the perfect meal for this gladiator. I think something familiar but hearty is perfect for this all-around good guy. Toss him a beer to let him fully relax and he’s got himself a winner.
Casper: For some reason, I think Casper will enjoy a good ‘ol Korean samgyeopsal with unlimited rice, lettuce and an abundance of side dishes. It’s still juicy meat, but I think he would have a more refined taste as opposed to Vogel’s homey preferences. I got this impression because he seems more logical compared to Vogel, though I am sure he can take care of himself and the people around him in the face of danger.
Anai: With her more outgoing personality, I think Anai is a Mexican cuisine type of girl. The flavors are striking but brings the comfort of home. A plate of cheesy enchiladas or tacos decorated with vibrant purple cabbage and leche flan for dessert will surely bring a smile to this girl’s lips.
- O Children – Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds
- Abraham’s Daughter – Arcade Fire
- Believer – Imagine Dragons
- Wolves Without Teeth – Of Monsters and Men
- Come Away to the Water – Maroon 5, Rozzi
- Nightshade – The Lumineers
- I See Fire – Jasmine Thompson
- Miracle – The Temper Trap
- Kings and Queens – Thirty Seconds to Mars
Kathy Kimbray is a YA author from Australia.
After graduating from the University of Technology, Sydney, with a degree in Media Arts and Production, she went on to complete postgraduate studies in education and spent many years as a primary school teacher.
Now a full-time novelist, Kathy is lucky to be able to tell stories every day.
Aside from writing, Kathy is an avid reader, dancer, language learner, musical theater enthusiast and fan of terrible reality TV. She lives with her husband in Sydney, and dreams of one day owning that elusive chateau in France.
July 13 (Saturday)
The #ShiftingStarsTour will end with a non-spoiler CBTTC Twitter chat hosted by @CaffeineTours on the 13th of July at 9 PM Philippine time (PHT) or 9 AM EST. Come and join in on the fun!
Prize: One (1) signed paperback copy of A Shifting of Stars and one (1) Amazon gift card worth 10 USD (two winners: one for the paperback, one for the gift card)
Scope: Open worldwide/internationally
Link to Rafflecopter giveaway: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/950d261634/