joyousmenma93 (joyousmenma93) wrote,

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Firechick's Book Reviews: The Star Shepherd

I give this cute, enthralling fantasy book...a 89/100!

My philosophy on any kind of media—be it a book, game, or a TV show—is that every plot or premise has already been done before, but if you can execute it well and make believable characters that can drive said story, even the most cliche stories can work out great. But some creators really go the extra mile to make really creative stories with a lot of fun ideas. Such is the case for this book, The Star Shepherd. Now, I read one of MarcyKate Connolly's books before, that being Shadow Weaver, and I really liked that one, but I didn't have much to say about it. I did like it though, and I plan on reading the sequel when I can. But I rented this at my local library once and I really liked it, to the point where I bought a physical copy shortly after. Not gonna lie, The Star Shepherd is a really nice, fun, engaging book that's sure to scratch your wholesome sci-fi/fantasy kid's book itch.

A boy named Kyro and his father are Star Shepherds, whose jobs are to return fallen stars back into the sky by way of putting them in burlap sacks and catapulting them into the heavens. They live on the outskirts of the village of Drenn, but the townspeople don't like Star Shepherds, seeing them as little more than delusional glory hogs stealing good fortune from the common people, so they're basically outcasts, though Kyro has a friend in Andra, the baker's daughter. One day, stars begin falling en masse, and too fast for Kyro and his father Tirin to rescue. Tirin leaves to report the incidents to the Star Shepherd Council, but when he doesn't return, Kyro is understandably worried, more so when he sees dark monsters known as vissla consuming the remains of fallen stars. Kyro, his dog Cypher, and his friend Andra decide to journey across the world to unravel the mystery of what's making the stars fall, the dark monsters, and find Kyro's father before its too late.

I really liked this book, mainly because of all the fun ideas it has in regards to its story. The ideas of people shooting fallen stars back into the sky with catapults, with the stars themselves being used as magic to ward of dark monsters, mechanical giants that are so big they put stars in the sky in the first place, are a whole lot of fun, and The Star Shepherd really goes wild with the concepts that it has going for it. This is one reason that I find myself preferring to read children's books than stuff aimed at teenagers or adults, as the latter often have plots that are just carbon copies of one another. I'm not interested in characters having affairs behind each other's backs and starting pointless drama! The Star Shepherd really takes its time to weave its ideas into its story and allow them to blossom, often times mixing cliches with original ideas, and it really works here. It also helps that the prose is fairly engaging as well, descriptive enough but not to the point of being super purple prose-y.

I also liked the main characters as well. Kyro and Andra bounce off each other well, and the characters they come to meet throughout their journey are also fun and likeable, even if some of them are still rather one-dimensional (Looking at you, Andra's dad Bodin). I do find the dark monsters to be a bit one dimensional, as they didn't really have much motive behind eating stars and destroying them. I would have liked to have more explanation for why the vissla do what they do. Of course, as much as I want to praise The Star Shepherd up the wazoo, it's not a perfect novel. For one, the geography in its setting seems a little too compact and convenient, meaning that every place Kyro and his friends go to always takes just a day or slightly more to get to, even though they travel through vast expanses and terrains like forests, desserts, and oceans. There isn't a lot of tension if Kyro and his group always manage to make it to their desired locations within a day, as there isn't a whole lot of consistency with things like geology and the laws of physics. This next one is more of a nitpick, but one illustration makes Cypher, Kyro's dog, look more like a lion cub than a dog, and it's the illustration shown on the back of the book, at that! Hello, ever heard of consistency? There's also one twist that didn't make a whole lot of sense to me, and I wish it had been elaborated on a bit more in the writing.

Other than those flaws I mentioned, I'd still recommend checking out The Star Shepherd. It's a genuinely fun, engaging, entertaining story that's full of adventure and a lot of creative ideas. I bet kids would love this one, and even I, a 28-year-old adult woman, thoroughly enjoyed it.
Tags: book, reviews, shepherd, star

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