Monday, June 1, 2009

Starfinder by John Marco

starfinder1Starfinder: Book One of the Skylords by John Marco 2009 326 Pages 4.5/5 Skylords. Beautiful yet sinister beings with wings like angels and the power of gods, sworn to patrol the skies of the land beyond the Reach. Mermaids who enchant any human who crosses the reach. Fairies with a sinister heart. Giant pink jelly-fish like creatures with fifty eyes. Centaurs, the bravest of the good guys beyond the Reach. Redeemers, slaves to the Skylords, once human, now winged beasts. And Dragons...beautiful dragons. These are the inhabitants of John Marco's amazing novel, Starfinder. At least these are the inhabitants of the lands beyond the Reach, a vast valley of fog and mist separating the humans of the city of Calio from the enchanting yet dangerous lands that lie beyond. In Calio, humans dream of flight. Governor Rendor has made that dream a reality, creating ships called Dragonflies that enable humans to venture into the skies. One of his star fliers is a young man named Skyhigh and one of his friends is a peasant boy named Moth who dreams to one day control the Dragonflies as Skyhigh does. Moth lives with a man named Leroux who was once friends with Governor Rendor during their days as Eldrin Knights, protectors of the sky. But he is now known as an eccentric with a beautiful kestrel named Esme. The night before Leroux dies, he tells Moth that Esme is actually a Skylord who was changed into a kestrel for defying the other skylords and choosing a life of peace. He tells Moth that he must cross the Reach and bring her back into her beautiful glory as a Skylord. He also tells him of the Starfinder, a device that has the power to rule the skies and a device that the Skylords will fight to the death to obtain again. Moth ventures into the lands beyond the reach with his companion, Fiona, the daughter of Governor Rendor and come upon a land that they never knew existed. They will soon be followed by Governor Rendor who wants the Starfinder as bad as the skylords. They venture towards a wizard known as Merceron, with the help of the Starfinder. Merceron is an old friend of Leroux's. Merceron is a dragon. And possibly one of the most amazing dragons I have ever seen in a book. Here's a description of him when we first meet him:
"It sat alone in a darkened room, paging through a book with it's taloned fingers. Rings of smoke spiraled from it's pipe, clenched between pointed teeth. Amazingly, the thing wore spectacles. They were the kind of glasses old people wore, perched on the edge of it's nose. Occasionaly, the dragon ran a tongue across it's lips as it turned the page, sipping from a teacup."
This dragon, Merceron, becomes an ally to the two as they search for a way to bring Esme into her true self. From here the story explodes into an adventure that begs the reader to continue turning the page, inviting you into an amazingly addictive fantasy world. The final battle scene brings to mind passages from Tolkien and Lewis, harkening back to a golden era of fantasy literature. Starfinder is epic fantasy on a personal level. The scope of it's inhabited world is huge, yet the story is a very character driven one that quickly makes a place in the heart for it's characters. I instantly fell in love with Moth, a young boy on a quest to become a man and to fulfill his dreams. And then there are the fantasy creatures that Marco has a true gift in creating. I can't wait to see what he does with the rest of this series. It was a true privelege to visit the land beyond the Reach. Thanks to TLC Book Tours for giving me the chance to review this one. It's one that I hope gets lots of certainly deserves it! Music Mundays will resume next Munday since I'd like this book to have a full day on the site as the top post.

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