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Even the Darkest Stars

(Even the Darkest Stars #1)

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  3,288 ratings  ·  702 reviews
Kamzin has always dreamed of becoming one of the emperor’s royal explorers, the elite climbers tasked with mapping the wintry, mountainous Empire and spying on its enemies. She knows she could be the best in the world, if only someone would give her a chance.

But everything changes when the mysterious and eccentric River Shara, the greatest explorer ever known, arrives in h
Hardcover, 428 pages
Published September 5th 2017 by Balzer + Bray
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Erika (tigerlily.books) Yes, there is romance in it. It's from Kamzin POV and it's written in first person.…moreYes, there is romance in it. It's from Kamzin POV and it's written in first person.(less)
Jasmin The series is titled as a duology on the authors website :)

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Average rating 3.87  · 
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 ·  3,288 ratings  ·  702 reviews

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Emily May
“I never thought someone like you could exist.” He watched me with a half smile on his face. “A girl from a tiny village many explorers have never even heard of, with greater skill than most of them will ever possess.”

Super special heroine... ✓
Love triangle... ✓
Hot dude #1 is lifelong best friend... ✓
Hot dude #2 is an obnoxious newcomer... ✓
Virtually nothing happens for 75% of the book... ✓

The only reason I am not giving this one star is because the setting is so excellent. The author's wor
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
Different and good!!

Mel 🖤
This sounded so different from your standard YA fantasy novel with the mountainous Himalayan setting being the most standout aspect. I was excited for the Royal Explorer to come in and pit sister against sister. Unfortunately, other than the setting, everything else was entirely forgettable. If I hadn't read this as quickly as I did, if only to get past the slow pace, I would've forgotten details needed to go on. Now after sitting on the story for a week before reviewing, I can remember the big ...more
Ben Alderson
Dec 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
That ending really saved this from being a THREE STAR.
I mean hello BIG TWIST.
I MEAN helllooooooooooooo

I am going to need book two.. right NOW ahh!
I can't wait
Super conflicted with this one. 😌
The beginning half of the story was way, way too slow. Nothing exciting really happened until the final hundred pages. You can only describe climbing a Mountain so much. Inevitably you get tired of hearing it described a million different ways.

I will say, The last leg of the book is definitely better, and I was actually excited during those final scenes. I'm mostly going to continue onto book two because I already own it 😅. (I blame, Book Outlet!)

If you like cli
bee  🤎
two stars ∗

i had absolutely no idea what this book was about when i picked it up, but i had heard that it had dragons in it so i was super excited. however, the dragons in this book are only used as floating lamps, basically. that was disappointing, but that was also mainly my fault for not reading the synopsis to figure out what the book was about exactly.

instead of dragons, this book follows kamzin, a girl who loves to explore. because of this, she’s dreamed of becoming one of the royal explor
DNF @ 74%.

Hmm. Hmmmmm. I'm feeling very conflicted about this book. It had a really promising start, and the worldbuilding was consistently FANTASTIC. The descriptions of the rugged terrain of the mountain range, the snow and ice and glaciers, the sense of mysticism and legend, the PET DRAGONS……….it felt like the kind of story told around a campfire on a chilly night, full of so much adventure and potential that you can feel it crackling in the cool air. Unfortunately...........none of the atmos
I've never read anything quite like this.

4.25 stars.

YA fantasy is my most-read genre, but Even the Darkest Stars surprised me. It's not about saving the world or defeating an evil ruler or winning some magical competition. It's about climbing a mountain no one has ever climbed (and survived) before, and it's set in a fantasy empire inspired by the Himalayas.

The setting felt magical, and it had a rich, detailed mythology. The people of Azmiri have familiars, magical talismans, and use small drago
Carol (StarAngel's Reviews) Allen's been awhile since I have enjoyed a book as much as I did this one! Even though I found myself frustrated with the heroine...she still tugged at my heartstrings!

And River?? I don't know whether to love him or hate him.

Only the next book in the series will help with this...and now I have to wait a WHOLE YEAR???

Rachel E. Carter
Mar 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: have-paperback
Unexpectedly epic.

Honestly the blurb for this book never interested me but hearing reviewer friends liked this made me curious and put the book on my TBR months ago... I'M SO HAPPY I GAVE THIS BOOK A CHANCE!!! The setting was AMAZING (I have a thing for harsh landscape/survival-ish stories), the romance was worth it, and honestly I've never really read anything like this -I so appreciate the author's research into mountaineering (I felt like I was right there with Kamzin) and the setting was so
Sep 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars

Gosh, Even the Darkest Stars was absolutely beautiful. The setting especially - most of this book takes place in the mountains, because our characters are trying to find an ancient talisman at the top of Mount Raksha. Incidentally, this book could really do with a map, but the world-building itself was very nicely done. We're talking about an age-old feud between humankind and witches, pet dragons, familiars, pet dragons, shamanism, PET DRAGONS. All of it pampered around this beautiful
Oct 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A solid 5 star read!

I didn't really know what to expect when I picked this up but it definitely wasn't what was contained within. Even the Darkest Stars is a fabulous, dark and snow-filled read with some great characters (Kamzin, River, Tem and Ragtooth, of course) and leaves you wanting more. The atmosphere is tense and eerie and the descriptions of the mountains were superb! I followed Kamzin every step of the way and I even figured out one of the characters from nearly halfway in (I knew the
Kamzin, second daughter of her village-Elder father, is apprenticed to the local shaman. But Kamzin stinks at magic. What she really wants is to follow in the footsteps of her mother, an explorer. When River Shara, the Emperor’s official explorer, arrives in her village on his way to Raksha, the tallest mountain in the Aryas range, where a talisman that will protect the nation from witches is said to be hidden, Kamzin seizes her chance. But working for River means working against her older siste
Aug 22, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: xeno, romance, fantasy, ya
They climb a mountain.

The Story- I was really looking forward to this book. When I picked it up I said to myself, “Mountains, Gandalf! Mountains!” No joke, I like to quote LOTR aloud quite a bit. But you know what? That’s all that there really was to this book. Sure there was actual story going on in the background, but in the foreground? Climbing, hiking, snowing, falling, climbing, mountain village, mountain peak, valleys, forest, snow shoes, rope, rocks, etc. THEN at 90% the story changes, yo
May 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017-release
Wow, this took me by surprise and swept me off my feet! I loved this story from start to finish and devoured it in almost one sitting. I loved all of the different characters in this, and the mountainous setting was so unique. That ending has left me dying for the second book!
Tink Magoo is bad at reviews

3.5 stars

I know I carry on about the flow in stories a lot, but really it can make all the difference and pull a mediocre tale up at least a star and Heather Fawcett has a style that's so easy to read that I found it hard to put this one down (even during the slower parts). Add to that the small mountainside setting and an adventurous trek surrounded by mysteries. I loved those aspects. The pacing was a bit off through the middle (slow) and end (rushed), but aside from that, I'm looking forward
h o l l i s
I'm tempted to award a whole extra star for the sole fact that this isn't a trilogy and everything will be resolved in the next book. Buuuut.

Okay, real talk. The setting in EVEN THE DARKEST STARS is so cool (see what I did there, ps it's about climbing a giant freezing cold snowy ass mountain, incase you didn't know..), I'm pretty sure it's based off the Himalayas, and it's so vivid and breathtaking. Which is the upside to a book set around a journey-style adventure. Bad news? It's an entire boo
Aug 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I really loved this book it was very exciting I loved all aspects of the story can't wait for the sequel. I really liked the characters especially Kamzin and River even with what happened at the end that just makes me want more. I loved the story it was so very well written I loved everything from the journey to the romance and the magic and all of the interesting things that happened. So overall I loved this book and I really need that sequel now. ...more
Dec 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reread review- STILL 5/5 fucking stars. This book is so good and soooo underrated! Still highly recommend with all of my being if you like plot and character based journey novels.
As highly as Lusha thought of herself, she was no match for me when it came to applying stupid, brute strength to physical obstacles... I could navigate an icefall on a moonless night, and stick to mountains like sap. It was the one way I had always bested Lusha.

Let me tell you- if it weren't for Noverantale (an inc
Jan 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
me: closes book.
also me: gets up to go bury it underneath the snow that’s piled in my yard.
me talking to book: now, sit there and think about what you’ve just done.

wow, what a terrifying and thrilling journey this was.

i throughly enjoyed this wintery tale. it was scary and surprising. for whatever reason, i didn’t think i would like this book. boy, i was so wrong. i will admit, though, that this story is very slow. but it also feeds you breadcrumbs of little bits of intriguing information
Margaret Rogerson
I had the privilege of reading an advance copy of ETDS, and it’s as incredible as it sounds - a breathless adventure in a truly unique setting. Though Fawcett doesn’t hold back describing the brutalities of mountain climbing, I couldn’t help but want to be there with the characters, taking in this landscape of sparkling, sharp-edged beauty layered with unforgettable monsters, high-altitude perils, and magic both gorgeous and terrifying. Above all, I’m sad to leave Kamzin and River behind.

This i
Nina (Every Word A Doorway)
A Himalaya-inspired setting. Two sisters pitched against each other. Magic. Dragons. What could possibly go wrong? Well, as it turns out, a lot.

Even The Darkest Stars could have been amazing because the potential was definitely there. Unfortunately, the book suffers from three diseases which the author found no cure for: Special snowflake syndrome, lack-of-plot syndrome, and annoying-love-triangle syndrome.

Dani ❤️ Perspective of a Writer
Check out more reviews @ Perspective of a Writer...

When the greatest explorer ever known demands to hire Kamzin—not her older sister Lusha—for his next expedition everything changes. This is Kamzin’s chance to prove herself—even though River’s mission to retrieve a rare talisman for the emperor means climbing Raksha, the tallest and deadliest mountain in the Aryas. Then Lusha sets off on her own mission to Raksha with a rival explorer who is determined to best River, and Kamzin must decide what
Even the Darkest Stars is a fantasy story set in a fictional version of the Himalayas where magic, witches and demons are real. As the youngest daughter of the village chief Kamzin has spent her life training to become the next Shaman but magic isn't something that comes easily to her and all she really wants to do is become an explorer like her late mother was. When one of the Emperor's elite royal explorers comes to the village to prepare for an expedition to Raksha everyone expects Kamzin's s ...more
Samm | Sassenach the Book Wizard
Nov 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own
Dafuq another book where my review disappeared?!

Anyway, I want a familiar. My familiar would 100% be a sloth or llama. I loved the focus on map making. I loved the romance triangle (for once!). I loved the adventuring. I loved the betrayal. I am super excited to read the sequel.
rachel ☾
Sep 05, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 3-star, fantasy
Even the Darkest Stars was a beautifully atmospheric read. The Himalayan-inspired fantasy world it was set in was, by far, my favourite aspect of the story. The world truly came to life under Fawcett’s writing style. She truly has a knack for world-building with the way she was able to seamlessly blend Nepalese culture with her unique magic system. I adored that so many different magical races were present, especially how they tied in with the characters’ own folklore. The mini dragons were just ...more
Beatrice in Bookland
"Hearts of shadow, eyes of flame.
None escape who witches claim."

This is not a bad book, but I just... wasn't that into it, I guess?

On one hand, I think this book's strongest point is the atmosphere. I don't even like mountains and all things related to it but the author made me want to buy a ticket to go ski. And I hate skiing (horrible childhood memories, ugh). And the familiars and little dragons were definitely a plus, they're so cute and cuddly, I want one.

On the other hand, the book's weake
Renee Godding
Feb 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
4/5 stars

Due to the mild winter we’ve been having in the Netherlands, I almost keep forgetting that this is the time to read the polar fantasy’s that I’ve been putting off “until winter” over the past year. For that reason, I picked up the start of this YA fantasy duology about an expedition to the highest peak of a Himalayan-inspired mountain range. This has been one of the longest residents on my virtual TBR-pile, as the idea of a YA fantasy surrounding mountaineering sounded perfect to me,
Jun 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, arc
Lots of adventure and tons of surprises. The pace was almost perfect - and I loved seeing all the challenges Kamzin, River and Tem face.

My only wish was for more backstory of Kamzin's life and more details about the magic system.
Lilly (Lair Of Books)
***3.5 Stars***

UPDATE: Full Review can also be found on Lair Of Books


I typically read the Goodreads Synopsis before writing my Plot summary & I’m a bit confused this time around. The order of events & how they happened aren’t exactly correct in the synopsis & this is the first time I’ve seen this happen on GR. So, my Plot discussion will differ from what is listed in GR and for that reason I’ve decided to exclude their synopsis from my review.

We meet o
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Hello! Welcome to my author page.

I'm the author of several MG and YA fantasy books, including EVEN THE DARKEST STARS and EMBER AND THE ICE DRAGONS. I live on Vancouver Island, where I love getting lost in the woods.

I'm only occasionally on Goodreads, so if you want a more reliable way to get in contact with me, I'd recommend using social media or the contact form on my website.

Review policy: I onl

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Even the Darkest Stars (2 books)
  • All the Wandering Light (Even the Darkest Stars, #2)

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