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The Stars Compel

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  94 ratings  ·  17 reviews
Tommaso Arista is the son of two of the most prestigious families of chefs to the household of Cosimo Ruggerio, noble astrologer to the Pope, and a powerful political figure in Florence and Rome. His mother is a Befanini -- the hereditary cooks of the de' Medici family, bound to the Dukes of Florence by centuries of both service and blood, family in all but the name.Cather ...more
Paperback, 480 pages
Published September 5th 2000 by Tor Books (first published 1999)
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Average rating 3.96  · 
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 ·  94 ratings  ·  17 reviews

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Sep 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Just as in the first book in the series, the magic, woven in the fabric of the story is like a subtle thread of silver. It glimmers and shines at points, but otherwise it is almost not there. Beautifully done with rich tales of the Renaissance and famous Italian and French historical figures, THE STAR COMPEL is a fascinating read. I hope that book three, long in coming, arrives soon for us to continue the adventures of Tommaso Arista and family along with the Befanini's, Ruggiero's, and de' Medi ...more
Jun 22, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellently written, very evocative, enjoyed the characters, all that, but it just kind of...ended. The climax was not very climactic. Ah well. If you enjoy tales of the Italian Renaissance, I do recommend it.
Ice Bear
Oct 03, 2017 rated it liked it
The attempt to cover differing aspects of the period results in a story line that seems to drift. Perhaps with a view to keeping open the option for another sequel.
Dec 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is probably never going to get finished, which is such a shame, because it has everything I want in a fantasy: an interesting magic system, strong characters (most of them female), a loveable primary character (Tommasso broke my heart, I had no idea, I just want him to be happy), and most importantly: GOOD FOOD.

I find it that the fantasy books I love best talk about food a lot. Reading the Harry Potter series makes me hungry. And I knew when I picked this series up that main characters work
I didn't know before I started reading The Stars Dispose that there was a sequel, but I managed to find The Stars Compel and read it fairly quickly. It was still pretty good, but I didn't enjoy it as much, largely because it focused more on political intrigue than on the kitchen and hearth magic which I thought was such a strong feature of the first book. Apparently, Roessner planned a third book, which hasn't yet materialized; I wish it would, because like the first book, The Stars Compel doesn ...more
Dec 25, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Does anyone know what has happened to the planned third book in this trilogy? The ending of this is kind of a cliffhanger, with Caterina arriving in France. I'm a bit baffled by how the author planned to move forward with this story, as Caterina is the heroine of the first two books. How will she end up as the conniving poisoner of historical legend and the authoress of one of the worst massacres in history? Or not? Was the author so confounded by the historical Caterina that she found herself u ...more
The Stars Compel continues the story of Tommaso and Catherine de Medici (known as Caterina here), though in this book the location moves from Florence to Rome. My view is that it is essential to read the first book, The Stars Dispose, before this one, as it places the relationship between Caterina and her servant and confidante, Tommaso in context.
Read my full review here.
Found this somewhat less compelling than the first book in this series. I particularly like stories about learning a craft or trade; there's a bit less of that in this book, and more of a focus on Caterina's politicking. Nevertheless, though I have little hope that the third book will ever see the light of day (given it's been eight years since this was published), I will say that I wish I could read it. ...more
Jun 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
I've waited years to read this sequel. I was given its predecessor as a birthday gift quite a long time ago. I was a bit rusty on some of the finer details, but I enjoyed this retelling of Catherine de Medici's early life. This volume covers the two years just before her marriage to Henri, the Duke of Orleans. It's amazing to think of the high level of statecraft she was involved in at just twelve years old! ...more
Jul 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
Historical novel with supernatural elements. Apparently this is part of a series of novels but this is the only one I've read so far. The blending of a true historical figure (Catherine de Medici) and fictional characters was very nicely told, and the author threw in some shape-shifting werewolves just to keep things interesting. Will probably pick this up again once I finish "Dance of Dragons." ...more
Apr 09, 2007 rated it really liked it
Beware, if you read this book you will be hungry all the time! The protagonist is an apprentice cook in Renaissance Italy for the Medici family. The feasts, foods and descriptions had me salivating.
Oh, the story's pretty good, too.
B.J. Sikes
May 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
It was an interesting concept but I couldn't lose myself in the story so it took a long time for me to finish. It was fun reading about the food of the time and I liked the protagonist a lot. ...more
Mar 08, 2011 rated it liked it
it was a pretty good book, many different perspectives of renaissance italy, wish it ended differently
Mar 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
Not quite as good as the first book, but only slightly less so. Wondering what ever became of book #3?
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Michaela-Marie Roessner-Hermann is an American science-fiction writer publishing under the name Michaela Roessner.

Born in San Francisco, Michaela Roessner was raised in (successively) California, New York, Pennsylvania, Thailand, and Oregon. Trained as a visual artist, she holds a BFA in Ceramics from the California College of Arts and Crafts and an MFA in Painting from Lone Mountain College, and

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