Updated: Aug 26
Author: Kerstin Hall
Published: June 22, 2021
Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
Genre: Fantasy Fiction, High fantasy, Coming-of-age story, Gaslamp fantasy, LGBT literature
What happens when a society is structured around a horrific secret?
What does it look like when a faith "reveres" a group without truly valuing their humanity?
How do you reconcile your place in such a system?
In Star Eater by Kerstin Hall, the price of magic is written in blood and teeth and twisted bone. The price of power is life imprisoned by it.
We're all haunted by something. Elfreda Raughn is haunted by her own power—and a cursed landscape of blood and cold flesh. And So. Many. Teeth.
Magic is matrilineal, and it carries a gruesome cost—for the women who bear it, the society they run, and sometimes even the men in their orbit.
The city of Ceyrun and the lands surrounding it are literally suspended in a state of fear and survival is m above a mysterious continent of monsters. The Sisterhood of Aytrium is the power that keeps the land suspended and defends the people from horrific creatures that infest their land.
But it would be a poor assumption to think that the women who wield the power in this society have any real freedom. Their power, passed through matrilineal birthright, is a prison. More a virus than a gift, all sexual contact eventually disfigures men they come in contact with, but the survival of their entire society depends on the endurance of this grotesque power.
This book moves with the intrigue, intricacy, and pacing of a thriller with the context of a fantasy world. In places, it is as ghastly as a horror, sparing no details of the gore that sits at the foundations of this society.
In short Dear Reader, I LOVED IT.
I mean, maybe it was the horse-sized cats, maybe it was the cannibal nuns, maybe it was the frigid monster-men... or maybe it was the incisive criticism of the lies we tell ourselves about the illusions of power and the cost of those lies on a personal and societal level.
Whatever the case may be, you need to read this book.