My reading buddy and I are not book friends. If I like a book, she often doesn't, and vice versa. My reading buddy liked another of Bunce's books, A Curse Dark as Gold, an awful lot, so I feared that I would be disappointed if I read it, and sometimes it's really disappointing to not share a love for the same books. So, I jumped on StarCrossed by Elizabeth C. Bunce (Scholastic - Arthur A. Levine Books) before my reading buddy could get it. HA.
I really enjoyed StarCrossed, and while I've whined a bit lately about not getting a complete story in one sitting, I am completely glad that this is open for a sequel (and I am happy to say that I felt like I got a complete story in this volume).
Digger is a thief. It's who she is, or who she's become, and it's dangerous; her partner and friend is killed, and she's left with a mysterious packet of letters. Her quick thinking and acting ability helps her hook up with a crowd of bored aristocrats, and soon, she's traveling away from danger as a companion to one of them--or, so she thinks. She's in just as much peril as she tries to hide her true identity from the people who trust her, and as she begins to unravel how precarious her lady's political stature is. Things are complicated further by the arrival of someone who could reveal her former life on a whim, and a mysterious, injured man who is confined in the depths of the castle.
All right. Maybe that doesn't sound quite specific enough to be good; it's been a good three months since I read this, and there have been many books in the intervening time. I can tell you that I was drawn in completely and the story stayed with me all this time. I can tell you that I thought this was an imaginative adventure that friends have compared favorably to Tamora Pierce's books with plucky girls. And I can tell you that I enjoyed the layers of intrigue and how Digger was perpetually thinking of how she could steal things, or break into rooms, or misdirect potential captors--and how that aspect of her didn't disappear just because she had the opportunity to dress up in fancy clothes and hang out with fancy people. In fact, her ruthlessness and moral struggles (or lack thereof) make Digger one of the most interesting fantasy heroines I've read this year.