Sunday, April 13, 2014

Review: Starling by Fiona Paul

Title: Starling (Secrets of the Eternal Rose #3)
Author: Fiona Paul
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction
Source: HarperCollins Australia. Thank you!
Goodreads | The Reading Room

In the stunning conclusion to the Secrets of the Eternal Rose trilogy, there is nothing more dangerous that a secret closely kept... Cass and Luca are fugitives, on the run from the law and the deadly Order of the Eternal Rose. As they separate to pursue the only evidence that could save them, their worlds-and their romance-are torn apart by spiteful friends and murderous enemies. When Cass finds herself ensnared in the Order's twisted plot, Falco emerges once again as her only hope for freedom. But it turns out Luca has a shocking scheme of his own. From ancient mercenaries to sly magicians, from clever courtesans to vengeful killers, no one can be trusted. In the breathtaking conclusion to the Secrets of the Eternal Rose trilogy, Cass must confront the Order and once and for all decide her destiny. Who will fly beside her when she finally finds her wings? This historical romantic thriller is perfect for fans of Philippa Gregory's The Other Boleyn Girl, Anna Godberson's The Luxe, and Libba Bray's A Great and Terrible Beauty and The Diviners.
Review by Nara

With all the major conflicts being resolved and the love triangle wrapped up nicely, Starling is quite a solid conclusion to the Secrets of the Eternal Rose series. Although there were perhaps one or two minor flaws, overall, this book was definitely a most satisfying end to a great series.

The pace is just ridiculously fast in this book. There's most definitely no lack of action, and it's really the sort of book you want to get read in one sitting. You're completely hooked, wanting to find out what happens next- how Cass gets out of conflict after conflict. However, because there are so many things are happening, I do also feel that you hardly get any time to dwell on one event before BAM something else equally shocking happens. I feel like the individual events weren't really developed enough. It was just a series of somewhat disconnected events: this happened. That happened. Also, this happened.

Surprisingly, the love triangle actually didn't go the way I expected it to go. I suppose now that I think about it, I actually didn't mind who Cass ended up with. While in Venom, I was definitely shipping Falco x Cass, by Belladonna, both love interests seem equally suitable for her. I won't say who she ends up with in this non-spoiler section, but I do feel like, by the time the end of Starling comes around, you do actually understand why she would have ended up with that person.

Some further spoilery thoughts on the love triangle (click to read. Warning: MAJOR spoilers)

God, for a second there I thought the author was going to pull the "one side of the love triangle dies and therefore the MC is obligated to choose the other side" card. And I guess, in a way she kind of did- Falco's "death" meant that Cass was sort of forced to choose Luca. But in a way, it wasn't really that card, because Falco's death gave her the clarity she needed to see that Luca was the one that was right for her. Although personally I do have to say I probably would have preferred her to end up with Falco. I just like him better. Even though I do think that Luca is probably better suited for her. lol.

I did enjoy Starling overall, but not quite as much as Belladonna or Venom. Still, this series as a whole is definitely one I'd recommend to anyone looking for an excellent YA historical with a twist of paranormal fantasy.
Really liked it

Overall: 8/10
Plot: 4/5
Writing: 4/5
Characters: 4/5
Cover: 3/5