Review: Starling (Starling #1) by Lesley Livingston

Published: August 28th 2012 by HarperTeen
 Rating: 3 out of 5


Available from: DepositoryBarnes and Noble



Mason Starling is a champion fencer on the Gosforth Academy team, but she's never had to fight for her life.

Not until the night a ferocious, otherworldly storm rips through Manhattan, trapping Mason and her teammates inside the school. Mason is besieged by nightmarish creatures more terrifying than the thunder and lightning as the raging tempest also brings a dangerous stranger into her life: a young man who remembers nothing but his name—the Fennrys Wolf. His arrival tears Mason's world apart, even as she feels an undeniable connection to him.

Together, they seek to unravel the secrets of Fenn's identity as strange and supernatural forces gather around them. When they discover Mason's family—with its dark allegiance to ancient Norse gods—is at the heart of the mystery, Fennrys and Mason are suddenly faced with a terrifying future.

Set against the gritty, shadowed back-drop of New York City, this first novel in award-winning author Lesley Livingston's epic Starling Saga is an intoxicating blend of sweeping romance and pulse-pounding action.



I read The Valiant and enjoyed it, so wanted to read more of Lesley's work. Starling was probably the wrong end of her three magical series to start with. The characters are intertwined throughout her books, so I had no idea who the Fennrys Wolf was at the beginning.

Whilst I enjoyed Starling immensely, it did have a tendency of becoming overly written in places. I noticed this in The Valiant also. Another barrier to becoming fully engrossed in the story was the third person point of view. It can work on great sagas but I never think it works well in Young Adult purely because we need get up close and inside the heads of our heroines, and for this the outside POV doesn't work.

I liked how feisty Mason was. She's a strong character from the beginning. Fennrys is a great character also, but I didn't like the insta-attraction. I wouldn't call it love as they're both too young to understand what it is. That isn't a general thought, it's what the characters think.

The story, while full of action packed events, does tend to be a little confusing at times. Mason's father goes off the rails and is trying to turn his daughter into a Valkyrie because he's an incarnation or something of Odin? All I know is the characters stop danger and soon gather forces to stop Mason's fate, which is to take Odin's staff from Asgard and turn herself into said Valkyrie.

What I liked was the slow dawning of Mason's fate and she gets to grips with her once happy but now dysfunctional family. Also, how she relies on others but takes a stand when she believes in doing the right thing. After all, it isn't only her involved in the grand plan of her father, its her friends who suffer too.

Other characters in the story are worth mentioning. Roth, Mason's oldest brother is in for a reckoning when Mason finds out all the bad things he's done. And Heather, the original enemy of Mason, actually is misunderstood.

There is a cliffhanger so be warned. The story isn't dumbed down either for a younger audience. All in all, Starling is a gripping, steady paced journey of history through Norse mythology, with quirky and strong characters meeting a destiny that was already set in place before they were born (or most of them!) Try it!



About the Author

LESLEY LIVINGSTON is a writer living in Toronto, Canada. She is the author of twelve books to date. Her first novel, WONDROUS STRANGE, was winner of the CLA Young Adult Book of the Year 2010, a White Pine Honour Book, shortlisted for the Sunburst Award for Excellence in Canadian Speculative Fiction, and in 2015 was named one of CBC’s “100 YA Books That Make You Proud To Be Canadian”. DARKLIGHT, the second book in this series was a finalist for the Indigo Teen Read Awards. The concluding volume in the trilogy, TEMPESTUOUS, was a finalist for the Monica Hughes Award. These books have sold to more than ten countries to date, and WONDROUS STRANGE has been optioned for film/TV by Shaftesbury Films. Her other trilogies have both won the Copper Cylinder award for Young Adult fiction.

You can find Lesley Livingston here:


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