Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
Publish Date: February 27, 2012
Genre: Fiction – Middle Grade, Fantasy, Paranormal
Buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | eBay | IndieBound
Synopsis: Twelve-year-old Cymbril is a slave on Thunder Rake, a gigantic wagon-city that rolls from town to town carrying goods to be sold by its resident merchants. The Rake’s master purchases a new slave, a mysterious boy named Loric who is one of the magical Fey. Because he can see in the dark, Loric’s duty is to guide the Rake through the treacherous wilderness at night.
Cymbril and Loric secretly join forces to plan their escape—soon the two friends thread their way through a series of increasing dangers, encountering an enchanted market and deadly monsters as their one chance for freedom draws nearer.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I don’t read many middle grade books, but this one caught my attention. On occasion, I keep a look out for books geared towards the middle age group. I have many relatives and friends who have young ones, and it’s always nice to give them a heads up.
Frederic S. Durbin’s The Star Shard is a fairy tale among fairy tales. The world is full of fantasy and wonder, perfectly fitting for this fairy tale. I was surprised at the amount of detail that went into Durbin’s world. He went to the darkest corner and came out with a story about dedication and loyalty.
Cymbril is a slave on the Thunder Rake, a merchant vessel that acts like a roaming city. To earn her keep, she performs as a singer and a musician, and manages to live a normal life. That is, as normal as a life for a slave can get. Her world turns upside down upon meeting Loric. Loric is not just any boy, but a fae.
Cymbril is adventurous, filled with a curiosity of a cat. She is impulsive and acts before thinking. But fitting, isn’t it? She is genuine and loyal, great for the awkward stages of someone her age. I quickly fell in love with her, despite our age difference. She showed me things that I haven’t seen in a while. She was fun to get to know, and in my own way, I connected with her.
Durbin builds a magical world, perfect for the imagination of a young child. It’s hard for me to fully express how much awe I was in. The images described were vivid, the world outstanding, and the characters wonderful. I haven’t read many middle grade books lately, but The Star Shard was refreshing. It was a nice break away from the words of emotional teenage angst.
I was surprised to learn that The Star Shard originally began as a serial in a children’s magazine. There is so much talent from Durbin, and it is great to know that talent like his does not go to waste.