I think it’s the lack of sleep due to teething that makes me feel like I’m writing with my fist using a fat, dull pencil on scratchy paper, rather than a good fountain pen… I hope that this conveys some of the charm of this book anyway.
Starcrossed by Elizabeth C. Bunce We first meet our main character as she is running for her life. She’s wounded, and her partner in crime was left behind. She has the letters they were being paid to steal, in a language she can identify but not read. Soon she has found a new place as a lady’s maid for Lady Merista Nemair, a young noblewoman about to have her coming-of-age ceremony in a remote mountain estate. Even here, though, she is not safe. An old friend of Merista’s father appears and, knowing Celyn’s past, blackmails her in digging up dark secrets about the Nemair. Of course there are plenty, secrets that would have sweet Merista burned before the Inquisition and her parents up for treason. Celyn/Digger’s previous life has taught her strict rules about not getting involved, but the more she learns, the more deeply complicated things get and the more tightly she’s tangled up in things. This is a fast-moving story, mostly tightly contained in a snow-bound fortress. The ability to do magic is central to the story – Celyn can see magical ability but doesn’t have any of her own, and those who use it are all followers of the outlawed god Sar (six deities from a former pantheon of seven having been recently outlawed, leaving only Celys, the mother goddess.) But, because Celyn can’t use it herself and those who do hide it carefully, we learn only small things before the end, such as that wearing silver suppresses magic. This book has a lot going for it – winning characters, solid writing, detailed setting, and a tightly wound and carefully constructed plot. It looked to me like sequel possible, not promised, so I’ll hope.