There is one m.ore adored.. Everyone knows that the Lady High Priestess Evelyn is virtuous and noble, one of the leaders of the rebellion against the unjust usurper, as well as a gentle healer who channels the powers of the gods to help the sick and injured.
There is no one more despised… Orrin Blackhart, the Scourge of Palins, is renowned as an evil man. As the war leader of one of the usurper’s supporters, he has killed many and stood by while the sorceress he serves created an army of the undead.
And there is nothing more unexpected than passion… When Orrin takes Evelyn prisoner during the war, each will discover there is more to the other than they expected. And souls that should have clashed will be forged together in desire, redemption, and glory…
I’ve become a fan of Ms Vaughan after reading her excellent Warlands Chronicles trilogy. I loved everything about the Warlands Chronicles: the strong heroine, the ambitious hero, the meeting of two worlds, the journey, the secondary characters… everything!
After such a wonderful series, it is understandable why my expectations for this new trilogy would be high. I hoped for Ms Vaughan to follow-up with something great. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been the case. Dagger-Star was somewhat disappointing and looking back on my review, I realized that I’ve been generous with the grade 🙁 I would have to agree with Li that Dagger-Star was more in a C-range… Still, I wasn’t going to give up on Ms Vaughan and I looked out for White Star. This second installment is better, but it still hasn’t met my expectations.
The beginning of White Star actually overlaps with the timeline of Dagger-Star and readers find out what happened to Evelyn once she was kidnapped by Orrin Blackhart, the Scourge of Palins. I have to say, that is a cool nickname LOL 🙂 In White Star, we discover that the fierce warrior that everyone seems to fear and be wary of is a man, a normal man who is tired of holding down the fort. Yes, at first, his baroness seems to have a good idea – raising an army of undead and using them to fight and take possession of the neighbouring lands… However, when your mistress turns out to be a bit loopy – okay, a lot crazy – and it’s up to you to see to the well-being of an entire army and population… well, it can take its toll. So Orrin Blackhart is just a man who is tired, exhausted by the burden of his responsibilities towards his men. He knows he’s made a mistake supporting his baroness, but at this point, it’s too late.
When news come that his baroness has died at the hands of the mysterious Red Gloves, Orrin knows that they have lost. He only hopes that the life of Evelyn and his surrender will spare his people’s lives. Thus, Orrin is taken back as a prisoner and is sentenced to death, while Evelyn is given a boon for the role she has played in making the prophecy come true. Upon hearing the voice of the Lady telling her to save Orrin’s life, Evelyn uses her boon… and Orrin is given one chance to obtain a pardon for him and his men – he must get rid of the remaining undead…
Overall, I enjoyed White Star better than Dagger-Star, mostly for Orrin. I really liked his character and his sense of honor. Yes, he did a lot of wrong in the past – but as a warrior, it’s to be expected. He regrets his action, did his best to make up for it and protect his people. I like his entourage, his team. They had very good chemistry and their interaction was fun to read. Evelyn was an okay heroine. I thought she was a bit too stuffy for me and haughty. As if the fact that she initiated the rebellion gave her some rights, you know? And if I remember correctly, she even acknowledges it as well. I understand why these two characters would be attracted to one another, unfortunately, I think the chemistry wasn’t there. Perhaps if the author had time to develop their relationship a little bit more…
My main problem with White Star though was the plot. I think that the overall idea was more interesting than Dagger-Star and had great potential, but the execution was poor. Everything went too fast, the action was not well developed… it’s as if we zipped through it all. I felt that Ms Vaughan had too many ideas and she tried to cram them all in one single book and as a result, it did not work to her advantage. Oh, I like the storyline… only, it could have been more. It could have been more engaging to the readers… The thing is, because all the events happen so fast one after another, the readers don’t have time to engage their emotions, get involved in the storyline and connect with the characters. In addition, I feel like the voice is a bit impersonal, it simply relates what happens. Perhaps if she was going back to first POV (I can’t believe I’m saying that LOL).
In addition, because there is so much action, I think that the world building was a bit neglected. We know that the Star trilogy takes place in the same world as the Warlands Chronicles, but in a different kingdom. We know that Palins is divided into different regions and each is governed by a baron. The politic part is okay… but I mean, it’s hard to reconcile Palins with the world we know from the Warlands Chronicles. How can magic exist in this kingdom and not another? Also, elves?!? I thought these things would be explained in this book, but it wasn’t 🙁
Again, it’s very unfortunate because I really like Ms Vaughan as an author. I said it in my previous review that I liked the whole idea of the prophecy and rebellion… for the chosen one to get back the throne… I would have liked it to span all three books. As it is, I will still pick up the last book, although to be honest, I’m not really interested in Bethral and Ezren’s story ^_^; (although I want to know more about Ezren… it’s more Bethral that is meh) I’m actually looking forward to the next trilogy, because I believe there will be one 🙂