Reviewed by Jennifer J.

After her dearest friend Tegen is seemingly captured and murdered, Digger the thief goes on the run. With no idea of where to go except away from Gerse, she throws in her lot with a traveling group of nobles on their way to Bryn Shaer. Now isolated in the snowy mountains that house the castle of the Nemair family, Digger masquerades as the lady-in-waiting of Merista Nemair, the future heir who is soon to celebrate her transition from childhood to womanhood.

A nobleman staying at the castle discovers that Digger (now known as Celyn Contrare) is hiding the truth of her identity from her protectors. With no way out of her current situation, Celyn is blackmailed into spying for Lord Daul. Though as a thief Digger never took sides, she has come to regard Merista as a friend and is determined to keep the secrets she has learned about Merista private. There is more at stake than just the safety of Merista Nemair, however; a war is fast approaching on the horizon, and information that Celyn possesses may control who gains power in all of Llyvraneth.

StarCrossed by Elizabeth C. Bunce is a nice departure from current YA fiction, devoid of romantic triangles and pumped full of action and political intrigue. It is an ambitious first in series, sometimes hard to keep up with, and written in such a way that the reader will never see what is coming next.

Digger/Celyn is a likable enough character, and the reader can see her grow as a person as the novel comes to an end. She is faced with a difficult ultimatum and must finally choose a side, which was a smooth introduction as to where Bunce will take readers in the second book in the series.

[amazonify]0545136059[/amazonify]I would have really liked some kind of map at the beginning of the book to see how the land was divided. Bunce clearly has her world outlined in her own mind, but it was not as accessible to me as the reader. There were even times I confused the names of cities with names of characters because they are so unique. Luckily at the back of the book a Lexicon is provided, and I made good use of that.

I also felt as if I were missing the significance of people and places, as if they’d been mentioned in previous books. I double checked to make sure that I hadn’t stumbled into the middle of a series, but this is listed as the first in the Thief Errant series. Still, it seems as if something came before StarCrossed which provided more definition to the various cities and what they were known for.

I enjoyed reading StarCrossed, but wasn’t entirely sold on continuing the series. I definitely plan on reading Bunce’s previous book, A Curse Dark As Gold, because I liked the author’s writing style and it is a fairy tale retelling.

Rating: 3/5

Jennifer graduated from the University of Utah with a BA in English. She occasionally dabbles with her own fiction writing, particularly with the Young Adult and Paranormal genres. She currently resides in Utah with her husband and daughter.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Arthur A. Levine Books. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.