Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Del Rey
Date of publication: November 14th, 2023
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Series: Viridian Deep
Child of Light—Book 1
Daughter of Darkness—Book 2
Sister of Starlit Seas—Book 3
A rebellious young heroine begins a voyage of self-discovery in the third novel of an epic fantasy series set in the world of Viridian Deep, from the legendary author of the Shannara saga.Auris’s adoptive sister Char has always been the baby of the family—a position that grates on Char, especially when everyone insists on telling her exactly what to do and how to do it. But Char is certain that her headstrong, impulsive behavior, the quality her family sees as her greatest weakness, is actually her greatest the willingness to instantly brave danger and leap to the rescue when anyone she loves is threatened. Char knows she will never grow into the woman she was meant to be under her family’s loving but repressive eye, so a month before she turns fifteen, she runs away and joins a Human pirate crew in the warm southerly regions of her world. Then, three years into her pirate career, her captain—the man she is convinced she loves—is captured by the leaders of the slave trade he has been fighting. When Char leaps in to rescue him, she finds herself thrust into an adventure that will uncover secrets she never suspected about herself, one that will maybe, finally, teach her to look before she leaps.
In the late-night hours of the second day of the full moon, I slip from my concealment to begin my latest mission.Sister of Starlit Seas by Terry Brooks
Important things you need to know about the book:
Pace: The pacing of Sister of Starlit Seas varies throughout the book. It started at a medium pace, slowed down while Char was discovering her Merrow side, picked back up during her journey back home, and stayed at a medium fast pace until the end of the book. Usually, I wouldn’t like it when the pace changes up like it did, but in this case, it worked.
POV: Char tells Sister of Starlit Seas in the first person point of view.
Series: Sister of Starlit Seas is the third book in the Viridian Deep series. You can read this book as a standalone. But, as I always do, I suggest reading the first two books before picking this one up. That way, you can understand Char’s relationships.
Trigger/Content Warning: Sister of Starlit Seas has trigger and content warnings. If any of these triggers you, I suggest not reading the book. They are:
- Slavery (graphic, on and off page)
- Depression (minor to moderate, on and off page)
- Boating Accident (moderate, on page)
- Bullying (minor, on page)
- Violence (moderate to graphic, on and off page)
- Death (moderate to graphic, on and off page)
- Grief (moderate, on page)
- Stillbirth (minor, off page)
Sexual Content: There is no sexual content in Sister of Starlit Seas. There are a few kissing scenes, but it doesn’t go beyond that.
Language: There is no swearing or offensive language in Sister of Starlit Seas.
Setting: Sister of Starlit Seas takes place in The Kingdom of Man and The Kingdom of Fae. There are also underwater scenes in the Merrow territories.
Tropes: Chosen One, Orphan, Good vs. Evil, Magic, Growing Up, Mythical Beings, Self-Discovery
Age Range: I recommend Sister of Starlit Seas to anyone over 16.
Plot Synopsis (as spoiler-free as I can get):
At the age of fifteen, Char ran away from her family. A headstrong girl, Char left her family because she felt smothered. Traveling south, Char eventually joined a pirate crew headed by a Human and lived what Char thought was her best life. Everything was fine until one night, on a daring solo mission to rescue the captain of the ship she was on (who she thought she loved). Char was captured. Tortured by repeated and prolonged dunks in the ocean, Char is amazed when she changes into a fabled being called a Merrow. She is immediately taken in by the Merrow community living in the sea. But her changing brings her more questions than answers. The only two people who could answer those questions were her adoptive mother and biological mother. With her adoptive mother dead, Char realizes that she will need to find her birth mother. She also realizes that her journey must start where she left- her home. Can Char get answers to her questions? Will she find her biological mother?
Charlayne (Char): I will not lie; I found Char annoying and immature for over half of the book. But I also liked her. She was loyal, tried her best to keep her promises, and was, for the most part, a good friend (she had to be reminded at specific points about being a better friend). I enjoyed seeing her character grow throughout the book. By the end of Sister of Starlit Seas, she was a little more mature, less annoying, and definitely less reckless. She learned a few life lessons in her travels that stuck with her.
I got very excited when browsing NetGalley and seeing Sister of Starlit Seas. See, I loved Terry Brooks in high school and had read The Sword of Shannara so many times that I did have passages memorized. Seeing that it was on Random House and it was a wish, I decided to do it. I had a 50/50 chance of getting it. So, I was thrilled when I got the email saying it had been granted. I couldn’t wait to read this book.
The main storyline in Sister of Starlit Seas centers around Char and her quest to find answers. It was a well-written storyline. I liked that Char wasn’t perfect and had the same issues as a late-age teenager (unrequited love, hormones all over the place, self-involved, and annoying). If I am to be honest, she reminded me of a combination of my sixteen and eighteen-year-old. I liked that the storyline changed as the book went on. It went from an answer about who she was to why her adoptive mother made her forget to a search for her mother to the end game (I can’t say what because of spoilers). The author did that seamlessly.
I loved the fantasy angle of Sister of Starlit Seas. The author took the Merrow myth and incorporated it into the storyline. I was like Char; I thought Merrow and mermaids were identical. Nope, they are not. The use of magic was very understated. I can only think of one scene where magic could have been used. But that didn’t bother me. To me, fantasy isn’t all about magic. It is about the world and beings in that world, too.
The end of Sister of Starlit Seas was a little bittersweet. I was very upset over some of the things the author did, but at the same time, I understood why he chose to write that way. I also saw a little hint that maybe another book will feature Char.
Many thanks to Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Del Rey, NetGalley, and Terry Brooks for allowing me to read and review this ARC of Sister of Starlit Seas. All opinions stated in this review are mine.
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