Jacqueline Carey is one of the best fantasy writers around. Her world building skills, which I first experienced in the Kushiel’s Legacy series, rival such Tolkien and Martin. On top of her fantastic writing, her books frequently include LGBTQ characters.
Starless is a standalone, which is a departure for Carey. But it being self contained in one volume does nothing to take away from the epic scale of the story of Khai, Shadow to a Sun-Blessed.
Khai has been raised from birth with the warrior men of the desert for one purpose. Khai’s destiny is to serve and protect his soul’s twin, Zariya, daughter of the Sun-Blessed court. Khai trains in the arts of killing, stealth, theft, and every other art which might help him protect Zariya.
Khai is shaken when he learns a stunning secret about his birth
When the time comes, Khai meets his god in the desert to receive the blessing that comes with his identity as a Shadow. Then he travels into the capital to finally meet his soul’s twin.
Adjusting to the intrigue of the royal court is a challenge, and coupled with a secret of his birth that was kept from Khai in his youth, Khai and Zariya find themselves relying on each other more than either could have realized. Together they must survive as the prophecy of the soul twins and the dark god Miasmus begins to come to pass, putting the entire world in danger.
Starless is, like Carey’s other works, a brilliant story in a wonderfully created world. The LGBT themes are particularly well written and explored. I continue to enjoy everything Carey writes and I look forward to reading her next work.
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