Gwen Perkins's Reviews > Morning Star

Morning Star by Desiree Finkbeiner
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Apr 20, 12

Read from April 07 to 20, 2012

The hardest reviews to write for me are for the books that I find my own meaning inside. You know the kind. Some stories, for whatever reason, grab you by the heart or by the mind and won't let it go. Whether it's because the characters remind you of someone you love, the experience is something you've shared, or simply because it's what you needed to hear right then and right now, those are the hardest tales to describe because they're the books that feel like a part of you by the time you've finished them. They're the ones that are personal.

Morning Star, for me, was one of those books.

Fantasy at its best is about escaping into a world that doesn't really exist. But good fantasy takes that world and uses it to reflect our own right back at us. The best fantasy makes us think about we ourselves believe and teaches us who we are through the story that it tells. Morning Star is a story about learning to love unconditionally even when that love demands sacrifice. It's also about finding the courage to understand that true love means making hard choices and being willing to hold on to who you are even if it seems that doing that will cost you everything in return. This book made me question myself and how far my own emotions might lead me if I was on that path.

Much has been said by other reviewers on Amazon about this novel's characters. Characters are another one of the strengths of Morning Star. It is Brianna who takes the lessons that I spoke of above and makes them human. Unlike other fictional heroines I could name, Brianna makes her own destiny. She is not afraid of the path that she has chosen to walk--instead, she embraces it, coming full circle from an unaware young woman to one who knows the danger ahead and yet faces it head-on. She is a character that my own daughters would find strength in. She loves deeply but not without reason. Her character lies not in her relationships to other people but in who she perceives she is and what she wants from the life that she has chosen.

The world in Finkbeiner's novel is so richly developed as well that I found myself thinking frequently about the cultures and their belief systems even when I was not reading the book. I came away from this novel asking myself questions about faith and about tolerance. The beauty of this story, however, is that the questions--and the answers that I came up with for myself--were not thrust upon me. It was simply that the world itself was so vivid that these issues presented themselves on their own.

Morning Star is a remarkable debut by an author who has given me much more to think about than what lies within the pages of the novel itself. I look forward to many more novels from Finkbeiner and hope that she continues to explore questions of universal truth.
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