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Saturday, May 23, 2009
John Marco is a fantasy writer, known primarily for his series of books Lukien Trilogy and Tyrants and Kings. Marco has decided to take that leap into Young Adult fantasy with Starfinder, the first of three books in the Skylords Trilogy.
Calio is a mountain city, where the Skyknights, premier pilots that fly in machines known as dragonflies, are based. Boarding Calio is the vast area known as the Reach. A never-ending area of fog, the Reach has always been off limits to the people of Calio and any other cities. Even with this restriction, crazy tales and legends have always been an important part of the lives of the citizens of Calio. Many believe that it could lead to a better life, while others believe that doom lurks just beyond the clouds of fog.
Moth, a 12 year old boy, has always wished and wanted to become a Skyknight when he grows up, an impossible feat as he is not wealthy or privileged that leads to obtaining the ability to become one. After Moth's mother died, an elderly man named Leroux and his mysterious pet kestrel, Lady Esme, took him under their wing. Leroux is filled with many tales of mysterious creatures and happenings beyond the Reach, many of which no one believes.
On Moth's thirteenth birthday everything changes, Leroux dies which sends everything in the city into ciaos. Coming home from his job, Moth finds his apartment trashed and government officials looking for something they claim is very special. Fearing for his life, Moth runs and hides hoping to keep under the radar.
After spending some time in hiding, Moth along with his friend, Fiona decide to take a journey through the Reach in order to escape the people that are after them and the illusive mysterious object. Starfinder takes readers on a journey to an unknown world beyond the Reach that is filled with many many magical creatures, and the mysterious Skylords.
Starfinder was a hard read for me as an adult. Although, keeping in mind it was a YA book geared for children, there wasn't really the appeal to the older reader for many reasons.
First, there didn't appear to be any character to bond with. Many older readers look for not only plot development but character development too. From the beginning I felt I had missed out on getting to know Moth and even Fiona. A lot of the conversations that could have built a character instead came across as stilted and forced with no natural flow. Without a character that I enjoyed throughout the story, there was a vague sense of disconnection.
Along with not having a character that there was a bond with, there was also a sense of vagueness to the plot. A lot of the plot seemed to hinge on one specific question that was never answered throughout the story or a specific scenario that was never explained. Instead the two children have to keep going around asking the same question but never really getting anywhere. This might be attributed to the fact that the story is told almost in after thoughts or a look back, although there are times readers get a glimpse into some action there is a lot that is told after the fact. This was just another contributing factor to the potential lack of appeal to adults.
Besides writing style, there was also a lot of questions that arose throughout the book that to me were left unexplained. The Skylords are such a major part of the story, however they were never explained, instead they just appeared and had this influence over the plot. Maybe the whole Skylord situation will be explained in later books, but as this is the first book of a series and majors chunks of time are devoted to Skylords its hard to understand why this was left so vague.
Putting aside the negatives for a YA book there are an awful lot of different mystical creatures throughout the book. For children this is great because it exposes them to dragons, mermaids, flying people and so forth. Having so many species helps bring a sense of wonder to the book that young readers need to keep their attention.
In the end, although I really wanted to like Starfinder I found a lack of adult appeal. This may be a great book for the intended younger audience, as it doesn't have complex plotlines and easy characters to follow. However, from an adult standpoint however, I couldn't get past the vague plots, stilted conversations, and many unanswered questions that arose throughout my readings.
3:01 AM | Posted by Cindy | | Edit Post