Review: Starling

Starling by Lesley Livingston
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Mason Starling is a champion fencer on the Gosforth Academy team, but she’s never had to fight for her life. Not until the night a ferocious, otherworldly storm rips through Manhattan, trapping Mason and her teammates inside the school. Mason is besieged by nightmarish creatures more terrifying than the thunder and lightning as the raging tempest also brings a dangerous stranger into her life: a young man who remembers nothing but his name—the Fennrys Wolf. His arrival tears Mason’s world apart, even as she feels an undeniable connection to him. Together, they seek to unravel the secrets of Fenn’s identity as strange and supernatural forces gather around them. When they discover Mason’s family—with its dark allegiance to ancient Norse gods—is at the heart of the mystery, Fennrys and Mason are suddenly faced with a terrifying future.

I assumed this was about Nordic demi-gods or something but this turned out to be so much more. So, Mason is this private school kid, with awesome skills in fencing. The novels opens up with a regular fencing practice with her team, which includes the guy she’s crushing on, his ex, her own brother and the fencing coach. Suddenly hell literally breaks loose and zombie-like creatures storm in their gym, along with a Nordic warrior who single-handedly deals with them. Problem? He doesn’t know where he is from, except his name – Fennrys Wolf – yup, The Fenris, Devourer of Odin at Ragnarok, Fenris. Wolf-boy there is an awesome warrior and hero, and has some magick skills too. Only he disappears next day and they have to hide that anything supernatural ever happened to stop being locked in a loony bin or accused of pranking.

Mason, though, is not ready to let go – she is particularly traumatized. Rory, her brother, however, thinks his destiny is awakened. He knows the truth about their family and other families in the school – they are all descendants of servants to the Gods. His father particularly believes in Ragnarok and the prophecy about his sons being the ones to start it. Mason, while unaware of all this plotting and scheming going on in her family and others, starts to see Fenn, helping him remember who he is. There are a lot of pantheons involved in the canon of the story, which makes it all the more interesting – Nordic, Slavic, Greek and Egyptian ones so far. All the gods were stopped from commuting to the mortal world by the Faeries, and if I didn’t already love the book for being mythology-based, it just added my other favorite theme, Fae. Honestly, I was excited how the mythologies intertwine and while that took a backseat for most of the book due to Mason’s and Fenn’s building romance (which is hot, hot, hot), I am excited what it means for the next. Characterization seems pretty good and motivations for most of them are set up well enough, with concurrent plot lines that could open up the world quite a lot. The first book definitely has potential and so does the series.

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