I was initially intrigued by Shooting Stars by H.D. Gordon because of the cover. It had what looked like a badass heroine with a colorful, pet tiger. I was sold.
Surah Stormsong is one of the most powerful Sorceresses in the world. She is a princess who is next in line for the throne. As someone who has lost almost everything to this world, she only wants to pull away from it and live a normal life, but when Highborn ladies start being murdered and the Black Stone-a weapon that is capable of great destruction-goes missing, she is called upon to solve the issues and return her people to a state of safety. But danger lurks inside the castle walls as well, and when she runs into Charlie Redmine, a common Sorcerer Surah met once as a child, things grow complicated very quickly. He is the main suspect of the murders, but Surah is powerless against the connection she feels to him. Time is ticking, and if she doesn’t figure out what’s going on things will go from bad to worse, and an entire kingdom will suffer for it. From the author of the bestselling series, The Alexa Montgomery Saga, comes a tale of star-crossed lovers and magic, of hope and love and loss. The greatest question is, can love overcome all?
I’m very split on this book. It had me going back and forth between blowing me away and leaving me completely underwhelmed. It was like a bipolar book experience.
The setting of this book and the historical feel surprised me but I really enjoyed it. The world-building and magic were intriguing and the story itself was like a fantasy epic. Gordon’s writing style was also peculiar. It was unlike the typical Young Adult tone and style. It read more like a George R.R. Martin epic than a YA fantasy, which is awesome even though it was unexpected. Granted, the dual perspective and the magical setting could have had something to do with it. Gordon’s descriptions, particularly of old men, were very distinct and at times grotesque, which could have also connected the two in my mind.
I really enjoyed the two main characters, Surah and Charlie. Surah was a strong heroine and I loved her purple hair. Charlie was my favorite and the most developed in my mind. He had the sexy, crooner thing going for him and his character drove the romance between Surah and him. Because of this, I felt the romance was lacking until the last few pages. It was strange how Charlie had been in love with Surah for literally hundreds of years but Surah had forgotten about him and only thought about him from time to time once they reconnected. It made me feel bad for Charlie like he was getting the short end of the stick because Surah didn’t really love him back.
The tiger, whose name is Samson, is what originally drew me to this story, and unfortunately, it was the one thing that turned me off. It was all great in the beginning. He was Surah’s animal companion who could speak in her mind and he protected her fiercely. It wasn’t until Samson had his own chapters that it got weird — like Lion King weird, where he tumbles into his old betrothed whose name is Mila (sounds suspiciously like Nala) and he must come back to be King. As much as you would think a Disney connection might be cool, it took me out of the story, distracting me from the main plotline between Surah and Charlie. However, things got awkward when he mentions he’s in love with Surah, leaving the reader thinking like love love? Because you are a tiger, dude. It left me a bit bewildered.
Along those same lines, Surah already has two other guys fighting for her affections, so adding a tiger was a bit much. The title was also off-putting. It made sense by the end but it didn’t really fit the setting or overall tone in the novel. Shooting Stars sounds like a space opera or something with a heavy romantic plot but it wasn’t either of those things.
Regardless, there were a few minor things that got me thinking, but overall I enjoyed the story and I really enjoyed getting lost in Surah’s world.
STARS: 4 out of 5