Rating: 4 out of 5.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions are my own.

There is a richness of prose I crave in a fantasy novel; I want to be swept away by the writing. The City of Stardust transports the reader to this  Other place, similar enough to our own to feel familiar but with a fantastical overlay in the form of a place called Fidelis, a place of magic but with limited resources. The City of Stardust is the tale of the Everly family, connected to Fidelis but self-exiled to our more mundane world. The family lives under a terrible curse, losing a family member each generation as the price of the curse.  Violet Everly is the sole heir, and her mother left when she was a child, seeking a way to end the curse and save her daughter. Since Marianne, the mother, hasn’t been seen for many years, and Violet’s existence has been discovered by the powers that be in Fidelis, time is running out to break the terrible contract. 

The City of Stardust follows Violet, so the reader doesn’t have the full story of the Everly family, even halfway through the book. We piece together things as Violet does. 

This book is told in third person POV through multiple characters. Because of the dual worlds, this was a necessary evil but I feel it would have been more immersive in first person. There probably isn’t a solution to this though. Given the third person perspective, it would have been relatively easy to learn more about the curse sooner in the book (the reader doesn’t really know even at the halfway mark).  

Violet is young and sheltered but dreams of faraway lands, a notion come to life through Aleksander, her morally grey counterpart from Fidelis & potential love interest. Unfortunately she knows she can’t trust him since he’s the assistant to the antagonist in the story, a never changing woman named Penelope who steals children from the mortal realm for questionable purposes. 

I didn’t hate the pacing, I rather enjoy a book that keeps me in the dark a bit but would have preferred the mystery to unfold a little quicker. 

Did I enjoy the book? Yes! Georgia Summers’ writing is reminiscent of authors like VE Schwab (ADSOM series, Addie LaRue) and I think we’ll see great things from her future books. This is her debut fantasy novel and with this at her first book, I think they’ll only get better as she continues to hone her craft and find her voice as an author. 

Recommended cocktail pairing: Stardust

Lora ⚜️
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