Starlight Synopsis: A secret power. The revival of magic. An ancient evil stirs. Twenty-year-old university dropout Cassie Rogan has returned to her small British Columbia home. Tortured by an accident that killed her parents, she drifts, failing life at every turn. When an impossibly localized lightning storm hits the surrounding forest, Cassie discovers her supernatural side.
After centuries of atrophy, the forces of magic are flowing back into our world, and Cassie can wield arcane powers. Her life seems destined to turn around, until the downside of magic brings everything to a screeching halt. Horrifying mythical beasts now prowl the northern wilderness—including the Basilisk—an enormous eight-legged lizard that can turn its prey to stone.
Recruited by a secretive agency, Cassie must quickly master her powers to protect mankind. As she develops her skills, a dark power secretly watches from the shadows. The Fae Seelie (a.k.a. the Dark Elves)—humanity’s ancient enemy—have returned to settle the score.
Starlight is the first book in the Dark Elf War series, an epic urban fantasy and coming of age series that features fast-paced action, mysterious creatures, careful world-building, and breathless pacing. – Goodreads
Starlight is interesting. It manages to successfully combine elements in a way that not many – if any – of the fantasy books I have read have. This isn’t an alternate world where mages can use guns and such. This is our world, where we’ve screwed up, and let the dark elves and such (that had been reconciled) back in. So you get tanks versus basilisks, and each side winning and losing in a believable fashion. Its a unique book with characters that are realistic and frequently quite unlikable. The dialogue was a bit awkward at times, but I think that may be because if anyone called me baby as casually as its tossed around in the beginning, I’d probably throat-punch them.
There are two main females in Starlight. One you like, the other you like to hate. Cassie is a strong-willed young woman that has been through way too much, and this story finds her as she’s pretty much almost smacked into rock-bottom. She’s dealing with the death of her parents, which she blames on herself, has been asked not to come back to college after she did something that anyone who had decent morals would have done, and is trying to figure out where to go when the feces hits the fan. Elizabeth is, as she’s accurately referred to in the book, a Jesus Freak who swears up and down that her powers come from God, and yadda yadda yadda, but has no explanation for why an Atheist like Cassie would also be given the powers. Elizabeth is also a stuck-up snot, and pretty much everything you can hate about hypocritical religious nuts, wrapped up in one small package, and deposited straight into the middle of this story.
There was one element that had me laughing unexpectedly. I just didn’t expect the ‘ancient ones’ of our world to end up being what they were, and in the midst of a fairly all-hells-breaking-loose attack, the discovery was a nice counterpoint. I also think the end of the book was well done, and I liked how the author managed to maintain the perfect balance of fantasy and reality, along with realistic dialogue the whole way.
Now, does all the positive qualities add up to enough to make me want to continue the series? No. It was a cool read, and I definitely enjoyed it, but at the same time, it wasn’t a “so awesome I flew right through it”. It never really dragged, but it felt like a slow read a lot of the time. For people who are in to the epic stories that most fantasies seek to become, it probably would suit them a lot better than it suits me.