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Publisher's Summary

This is the first in a sweeping and action-packed debut fantasy duology loosely inspired by the early climbers of Mt. Everest - perfect for fans of Cindy Pon and Alison Goodman.

Kamzin has always dreamed of becoming one of the emperor’s royal explorers, the elite climbers tasked with mapping the wintry, mountainous empire and spying on its enemies. She knows she could be the best in the world, if only someone would give her a chance.

But everything changes when the mysterious and eccentric River Shara, the greatest explorer ever known, arrives in her village and demands to hire Kamzin - not her older sister Lusha, as everyone had expected - for his next expedition. This is Kamzin’s chance to prove herself - even though River’s mission to retrieve a rare talisman for the emperor means climbing Raksha, the tallest and deadliest mountain in the Aryas. Then Lusha sets off on her own mission to Raksha with a rival explorer who is determined to best River, and Kamzin must decide what’s most important to her: protecting her sister from the countless perils of the climb or beating her to the summit.

The challenges of climbing Raksha are unlike anything Kamzin expected - or prepared for - with avalanches, ice chasms, ghosts, and even worse at every turn. And as dark secrets are revealed, Kamzin must unravel the truth of their mission and of her companions - while surviving the deadliest climb she has ever faced.

©2017 Heather Fawcett (P)2019 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What listeners say about Even the Darkest Stars

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

This is the first of two books

and while every book can't be "Howl's Moving Castle" it’s actually not that bad.

It’s true: the dialogue & characterization comes off rather flat much of the time and often times it doesn’t feel like the individual voices of the characters are distinguishable from one another in both the writing and narration. And the romantic chemistry is eye-rollingly cliched at times but that's just YA for you, I've definitely read better selling YA books cringier than this. What keeps this book going is the world building, the adventure and action, and a little bit of the love triangle.

Listen, there's Witches. Shamans. Demons. Astronomy & Astrology. Mountain Climbing. Death, Danger, and Grievous injuries. and lots more intriguing fantasy stuff but I don't want to spoil it too hard.

If you're having doubts with this audiobook just know that this is the first of two and in the second book the plot DOES start to become a little more complex and the world more interesting and the characters more developed. Even the "too-perfect" unlikeable sister turned out to be way cooler in the second book, still a jerk but so smart and cool. I’m 2hrs from finishing the second book and so far it seems like a clear improvement on the first book from both the writer and the narrator.

It’s refreshing to have yet another fantasy writer drawing inspiration from a culture outside of “Ye olde European days” and even if there’s a lot of somewhat similar handsome young men and women running around in the story it’s actually a nice break from the norm in that many of them are brown, dark haired, freckled, tall, short and so on. Even the heroine is described multiple times as being squat, plump and sturdy with wild hair. I don't know but that feels like a bold choice to me and I like it!!

I like this author’s perspective and while the writing could benefit from some more artistry and a little more depth here and there I am excited to see how their voice develops in the coming years. I think there’s a lot of good elements here and as plodding as this first book started out I’m surprised that I’m actually kind of liking this story better than Elizabeth Lim’s comparable “Blood of Stars” series.

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I wanted to dropped it more than once but...

I read about a plot twist at the end and kept going. I saw it coming miles away. The narration is soooooo plain, 😔 I feel bad saying this but maybe she needs more experience? About the writing, all conversations were so bad😭 I was cringing. The characters have no personality, at least it didn't felt right. What I like is the world-building, even the plot was interesting but the way the characters carry the story was unbearable to me 😭.

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So. Dang. Boring.

I really don't know how to sum this story up...shallow and frustratingly stupid characters, boring plot development, and an ending which makes me sag inside. The dialog within the story is so inanely crafted that several times I just had to turn it off because I couldn't take any more...the only reason I ended up finishing it was because I ran out of credit for the month and was totally desperate... The reader really needs some practice as well in bringing some kind of life to the story since it was read in a total monotone all the way through...that being said I really have some pity for her since she wasn't given much to work with. If it was hard for me to listen to I can only imagine how soul-sucking it must have been to produce.

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It’s really not bad

It’s not bad. It fills out the formula. I wouldn’t call it good exactly... It’s just not incredibly gripping to be honest. I’m not moved by the characters. It could be because of the stories I have been listening to prior to getting to this one, but it just wasn’t enough for me personally.

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A bit more romance than I prefer

So I should preface that I am writing a series of reviews to reduce the unfinished books in my collection.

I got over halfway through this book. The plot was good enough to keep me from jumping ahead...but not good enough for me to finish the book.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 02-06-21

SO SO GOOD!!!

I loved everything about this book- the charcacters (especially the familiars- there are raven's, foxes and wolves and they're all adorable!), the snowy setting and atmosphere, the plot twists... and that cliffhanger...wow! I cannot wait to read the sequel! The audio was brilliant too and it just made it so easy to listen to and read, I was that compelled I managed to read this in one day. So good!!