This is a spoiler-free review.
Fantasy is my favourite genre, and I read a lot of fantasy books. One might think things would get repetitive, plot twists easy to guess and characters blending together. But that’s not the case, and A Shifting of Stars by Kathy Kimbray was no exception. The story was a truly emotional one, with an heavy atmosphere and twists and turns I never saw coming. Each time I picked up the novel to read more chapters, I never knew what to expect, and I was proven wrong even when I thought I knew what could happen next, which made reading A Shifting of Stars captivating.
A big thank you to Caffeine Blog Tours for allowing me to take part in this blog tour, and to Kathy Kimbray for sending me a free copy of the novel. This did not affect my opinion of this book and the content of my review in any way.
A squandering emperor. A handsome stranger. A reluctant heroine. And the ancient magic that will capsize a kingdom.
Seventeen-year-old Meadow Sircha watched her mother die from the wilting sickness. Tormented by the knowledge that the emperor failed to import the medicine that would have saved her, she speaks out at a gathering of villagers, inciting them to boycott his prized gladiator tournament.
But doing so comes at a steep cost.
Arrested as punishment for her impulsive tongue, Meadow finds herself caught up in the kind of danger she’s always tried to avoid. After a chance meeting with an enigmatic boy, she’s propelled on a perilous trek across the outer lands. But she soon unearths a staggering secret: one that will shift her world—and the kingdom—forever.
Filled with longing and heart, surprise and wonder, A SHIFTING OF STARS is perfect for fans of AN EMBER IN THE ASHES, RED QUEEN and SHADOW AND BONE.
A Shifting of Stars starts quickly when our main character, Meadow Sircha, goes to a gathering to talk about her mother who passed away a year before, and her feelings of grief. What was supposed to be a way for her to deal with her pain turns into a call to boycott a gladiator tournament organized by the King, the King she holds responsible for her mother’s death. This one, unplanned, action, sets Meadow on an intense journey full of discovery, change and heartbreak.
From the first few sentences, I was amazed at how wonderfully Kathy Kimbray builds the atmosphere of the world Meadow lives in. The setting appeared gloomy, perhaps even helpless, and it was so easy to picture. Throughout the novel, the descriptions of the setting are masterfully-crafted and made me feel like I could see each places Meadow visits. They all appeared unique and full of mystery. It truly was one of my favourite parts of the novel and where the writing shined the best. The world surrounding Meadow is small at first, but the world-building is so well developed; this universe has so many details and it has a system with its own issues. Slowly, we discover some of these intricate issues, and they are harrowing. The writing truly doesn’t hold its punches, and some scenes were really difficult to read. However, this was not done simply for shock-value, but it had a point both in the plot, and in the development of the characters, which I appreciated.
I have to admit that, at first, I thought Meadow’s action at the beginning came out of nowhere, even if she’s arbored those feelings for a long time. Her actions and reactions were a bit all over the place, or so I thought. I was quickly proven wrong as Meadow’s voice grows stronger as the story goes on. She’s a very inquisitive character, asking questions whenever she can, trying to understand everything that was going on. I loved that about her. Her character development is strong, which I always love in a novel. She’s really aware of her surroundings. She’s also a bit naive, but also doesn’t trust too easily. I loved the complexity of her character, and how much she had changed at the end of the novel, while still being herself. All the characters in this story are complex, unique in their own way. They are all flawed, from Anai to Vogel, Gyzen or Casper. I couldn’t predict any of their actions, and I liked how some of them were definitely morally-grey. It made the whole cast of characters fascinating and kept me on my toes while reading.
Another part I absolutely loved about the novel was how things were not given easily to the characters. No escape, discovery or action seemed too easy; everything had its fair share of obstacles to overcome. It makes the stakes of the story feel high and very real. The story took very surprising turns as well; all the plot twists were to some extent surprising, but they all made complete sense. The direction the novel took was not one I could have ever guessed, and these are some of my favourite stories.
The middle of the story can often be tricky, but with A Shifting of Stars, I loved it. It felt to me like exploring a new world, with quests and calmer moments to bond with party members, just like I felt when playing The Witcher 3. And I really mean this as a compliment, as it is something I loved in the game and I love to see in novels. It was engaging to see unfold.
The theme of grief is the starting point of this story and Meadow’s journey, but it is also woven throughout the whole novel. It shows us people dealing with grief very differently from one another, but it also shows us acceptance: when a character thinks they should stop grieving, that they should be over it by now, they are told that it’s okay. It takes time, and that’s perfectly fine. This theme was handled with care, and the result is really well done. I related to some aspects of this, and I felt my heart breaking a few times.
A Shifting of Stars is a wonderful start to this series, exploring some intense themes with fascinating characters and beautiful writing. It has surprising twists and turns, making the whole novel captivating, and I honestly cannot wait for the sequel. With the ending, I cannot even begin to guess what book 2 will hold for these characters but I’m really looking forward to read it!
Favourite quotes 🖋️
All the quotes were taken from the copy of the novel I was sent, and all of them are spoiler-free.
International Giveaway ✉️
This giveaway is for one (1) signed paperback copy of A Shifting of Stars and one (1) Amazon gift card worth 10 USD (it will have two winners: one for the paperback, one for the gift card) and it is open INTERNATIONALLY!
Click here to enter the giveaway!
About the Author
Kathy Kimbray is a YA author from Australia.
After graduating from the University of Technology, Sydney, with a degree in Media Arts and Production, she went on to complete postgraduate studies in education and spent many years as a primary school teacher.
Now a full-time novelist, Kathy is lucky to be able to tell stories every day.
Aside from writing, Kathy is an avid reader, dancer, language learner, musical theater enthusiast and fan of terrible reality TV. She lives with her husband in Sydney, and dreams of one day owning that elusive chateau in France.
Author website — Goodreads — Instagram — Facebook — Twitter
There is also going to be a Twitter Chat happening on Saturday, July 13th, hosted by @CaffeineTours and you can follow using the hashtag #CBTTC. It will start at 10am Eastern Standard Time (9pm Philippine Time). I invite you to take part in this chat, all about A Shifting of Stars!
Be sure to check out all the blog tour stops to hear more about the novel! 💜💚
July 07 (Sunday)
- Blog tour launch (from Shut up, Shealea)
- Review & excerpt from Becky’s Book Blog
- Review from Bemused Bibliophile
- Review from Book Reviews from Canada
- Review & excerpt from Polish & Paperbacks
- Review from SepiaReads
July 08 (Monday)
- Review & favorite quotes from A Book Devourer
- Review, aesthetics/moodboard, & favorite quotes from The Book Piles
- Review, author interview, & excerpt from The Inked In Book Blog
- Review, author interview, & favorite quotes from Luchia Houghton Blog
- Review & favorite quotes from Tempest of Books
July 09 (Tuesday)
- Author interview (from Shut up, Shealea)
- Review & favorite quotes from bewitchingwords
- Review & author interview from The Infernal Fangirl’s Heaven
- Review & creative photos from Lost in Fiction
- Review & favorite quotes from Provocatrix
- Review, author interview, & own playlist from Sage Shelves
July 10 (Wednesday)
- Review & creative feature post from A Bronx Latina Reads
- Review & creative feature post from Annotated Paperbacks
- Review from Lori’s Bookshelf Reads
- Review, creative feature post, & own quote graphics from Sakhile Whispers
- Review, creative feature post, creative photos, & favorite quotes from Starlight Reads
July 11 (Thursday)
- Creative post (from Shut up, Shealea)
- Review, author interview, creative photos, & own quote graphics from Belle’s Archive
- Review, aesthetics/moodboard, creative feature post, & creative photos from The Bookish Mrs. Harding
- Review, creative photos, & own quote graphics from BookishOwl Reviews
- Review, creative feature post, & favorite quotes from Oro Plata Myta
- Review, creative feature post, creative photos, & favorite quotes from Your Words My Ink
July 12 (Friday)
- Review, aethetics/moodboard, creative feature post, creative photos, & own art from & she Reads
- Review, aesthetics/moodboard, own quote graphics, & own playlist from A Few Chapters ‘til Love
- Review, excerpt, & own quote graphics from Bookish Kimberly
- Review, creative feature post, own quote graphics, & own playlist from Celuna Maria
- Review, favorite quotes, & own art from Read at Night
July 13 (Saturday)
- #CBTTC Twitter chat hosted by @CaffeineTours
- 10:00 AM Eastern Standard Time (EST)
- 9:00 PM Philippine Time
Have you read A Shifting of Stars? What were your thoughts? Or perhaps, do you plan on reading it in the future? Let me know in the comments!