today i am here to bring you a very exciting post, as i was lucky enough to get to be one of the stops in the blog tour for a shifting of stars by kathy kimbray, hosted by shealea from caffeine book tours/shut up, shealea. my post will include a review (spoiler: i loved it!) and, inspired by the amazing protagonist, a list of some of my favourite female heroes in fantasy literature! there is also an ongoing international giveaway along with the tour – more info about that further down!
title: a shifting of stars
author: kathy kimbray
publication date: 28 may 2019
target audience: young adult
content warnings: violence against children and adults, blood, death, torture, mentions of and grieving for past family
my rating: highly recommended
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.
amazon — https://amzn.to/2MwBk3x
goodreads — https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/44303513-a-shifting-of-stars
i received a copy of a shifting of stars from the author for this blog tour, but that has not impacted my opinions or my review.
i have had a really tough time reading fantasies lately – no real reason, i’ve just struggled to finish one for months now – so when picking up a shifting of stars i was a bit nervous that i’d struggle with it. i am happy to let you all know that there was no need for worries! i greatly enjoyed this book from start to finish, and flew right through it. it starts off with a bang that draws you in, and from there there is always something going on that keeps you from wanting to put the book down. going into it, i only had a very vague and surface level knowledge of the plot. fantasy, unjust rulers, road trip, brewing revolution – that was my understanding of what the book was. now, those are all very good ingredients to make an enjoyable piece of media, and a shifting of stars are those things, but it’s also so much more. it’s about the aftermath of losing loved ones, the way those in power exploit the lower class, and finding hope and a purpose when everything seems lost. it takes things we know well, like cruel royals, mysterious boys, and magic, and makes them new and exciting.
our protagonist is 17-year-old meadow, who lost her mother to the terrible sickness plaguing the nation a year prior to the book. she blames her mother’s death on the king, who spends all his time and money on himself and for his own enjoyment instead of on the wellbeing of his people. after speaking out against the king meadow is arrested, and a chainreaction of events lead to the imprisonment of her father. her primary motivation throughout the book is to find and rescue him. meadow is a great protagonist who goes through a lot. despite being scared for herself and the people she loves, and often second guessing herself, she pushes through and does what she feels is needed.
there are many other character we get to meet, and all of them are well fleshed out with their own motivations for why they do what they do, good or bad. with such a plot driven book it would have been easy to fall into the trap of writing flat characters who don’t really stand out from each other, but truly all of them are individual and memorable. there are many instances where, because we see everyone from meadow’s eyes only, someone will seem like one thing, but later in the book meadow – and by extension, the reader – learns some new information and gets a whole new understanding.
i enjoyed kimbray’s writing a lot. it is well paced and flows naturally, making the book easy to read despite the sometimes very heavy topics it deals with. we all know i don’t read very fast, and my attention span is laughably short, but i flew through a shifting of stars over only a few days. it is a very plot heavy book with many twists and turns, keeping you at the edge of your seat and making it difficult to put down. this is the first in a trilogy, and i can’t wait to see what the sequel brings. if you enjoy captivating fantasies with female friendships, a hate to lovers romance, and the quiet brewing of a revolution, i’d highly recommend you pick this up.
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.
author website — https://www.kathykimbray.com/
goodreads — https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18942436.kathy_kimbray
instagram — https://www.instagram.com/kathykimbray/
facebook — https://www.facebook.com/authorkathykimbray
twitter — https://twitter.com/kathykimbray
as you might have been able to tell from my review, i adored meadow. i thought she was an incredibly strong character. she was forced to go through so much over a short period of time, and she took it much better than i definitely would have! so, inspired by her, i wanted to celebrate some other amazing female characters. this short list is limited to high and low fantasy, so it does not include characters from any other subgenres.
- RENN from the chronicles of ancient darkness by michelle paver
the chronicles of ancient darkness was my absolute favourite series as a kid, and it’s still very dear to me. renn is a character i grew up with – when each book was translated and released in my country she was always two years older than me – and she was always so headstrong and brave, just what little me wished i was.
- KATSA from graceling by kristin cashore
the graceling trilogy was my real introduction to this kind of fantasy, when i was a bit older and had started reading on my own regularly. i had a tough time deciding between the heroines of the three books, but decided to go with katsa because she is the first one. katsa is deadly in a way i hadn’t really encountered in a female character prior to reading graceling, and how much she fought against it and was a good person really fascinated teenage me.
- ODESSA from reign of the fallen by sarah glenn marsh
odessa is the first confirmed bisexual female character in fantasy who i can remember reading about, and that meant a lot to me. it still does. odessa is comfortable with who she is and has a big group of close friends, and when something terrible happens she is allowed to spiral without being shamed or called weak for it.
these are three female characters i loved, and still love, in three different stages of my life. looking at them all together like this, i don’t know if i should be worried about the fact that i seem to have looked up to girls who can kill or are surrounded by death my whole life lmao. regardless, i am happy a shifting of stars helped me think back on these characters and how much they mean to me.
and finally, the giveaway!
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/
thank you so much to shealea for letting me be part of this tour, and make sure to head over to the book tour launch post to find all the other participants! i had so much fun reading a shifting of stars, and writing this post!