Review: When the Stars Threw Down Their Spears by Kersten Hamilton

 

Title: When the Stars Threw Down Their Spears

Author: Kersten Hamilton

 

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

 

“People will die.”

Locked doors are opening, and uncanny creatures are tumbling through mysterious portals from Mag Mell, the world-between-worlds, into the streets of Chicago. The Dark Man has marked Aiden with a new song that’s scared him badly, and a frightening new group of sídhe is lurking nearby.

Teagan knows this is war, and she must protect her family. She leaves her flesh and bones behind to join Finn in hunting the evil beings across the city. Meanwhile, their relationship is heating up—almost faster than they can control. But he is still bound to fight goblins his entire life . . . and by blood she is one of them now.

Then the gateway to Mag Mell cracks open again, and the Wylltsons find themselves caught in a trap. As her loved ones begin to die, Teagan realizes that she must destroy the Dark Man and his minions once and for all in order to save those who remain . . .

. . . before it is too late.


Review:

All good things must come to an end, so it is with some sadness that I type out this review.  I have loved Kersten Hamilton’s Goblin Wars series since the first book, which I remember reading in Lexington KY at a horse show.  I read a lot of books and usually can’t remember the protagonists’ names half of the time, but I distinctly remember reading Tyger, Tyger in the hot, sweltering arena.  I remember some OMG moments, and I remember being impatient to read In the Forests of the Night, which I thought was an even better book.  And so here we are, on the finale, and once again, I thought Kersten Hamilton delivered a powerful, adventurous story, which closed out the series nicely.  While people did die, as promised, she wrapped up most of the story lines to my satisfaction, and I don’t hesitate to urge you to read this if you have been enjoying the series so far.  You won’t be disappointed.

I will make one observation about the author’s narrative style, because I believe that it will drive some people batty.  Occasionally, the character interactions come across as kind of random, but I think that these conversations add a lot of flavor and background to the events.  Topics fly back and forth, and at the time, they don’t always seem to fit with what is going on.  Only as Teagan and Finn are ramping up for their big showdown with the Dark Man, Mab, and all of the scary creatures in Mag Mell do they make sense.  When the conversations are finally placed in the context they belong, all of seams become neat and tidy.  The prose requires some patience, and I didn’t find it as immediate and relevant as other YA books.  It doesn’t plod by any stretch of imagination, but I wonder if this series would have been better suited as straight up fantasy, instead of being shelved in the YA section of the bookstore.  Your mileage may vary here.

I grew to love many of the characters, especially Teagen, Aiden, and Abby.  The Turtles even had their Mafioso charm, which made the scene in Rosehill that much more painful.  New character Seamus was a welcome arrival, and I never knew if he should have been trusted.  One thing that I will say for Teagan is that she gave her trust unconditionally, and she always believed the best in everyone and everything.  Even when it was doubtful that her trust was deserved, she still gave it wholeheartedly, accepting that there were risks involved.  Once crossed, however, it would take a feat of great sacrifice and effort to earn it back.  It was her unfaltering belief in others that made Teagan such an easy character to like.  She knew that she was going to get bit on the backside every now and again, but that didn’t destroy her faith that others would do the right thing.

I enjoyed this series very much, and am sad to see it come to a close.  I knew that I could count on an engaging read with each new installment, and that something would happen to shock and horrify me, but also give me hope that things would, somehow, work out in the end.  I also appreciated Teagan’s growth as a character, because, if I have to be honest, I was a little iffy on her the first 100 pages of Tyger, Tyger.  She more than made up for that by the end of the series, becoming strong, brave, and kind.  I don’t think I would have managed to remain kind, considering all of the life-altering and heartbreaking events that she experienced.  In the end, that’s the take away I’ll have for this series; Teagan’s unwavering faith in others, despite all of the betrayals and treachery, and that’s where she found the strength to keep fighting against the Dark Man and Mab.  Win or lose, she refused to compromise her beliefs.  I loved that about her.

Grade:  B+

Review copy provided by publisher