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Pathfinder Tales: Starspawn Paperback – August 9, 2016
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From the Back Cover
The Stars Are Wrong
Once a notorious pirate, Jendara has at last returned to the cold northern isles of her birth, ready to settle down and raise her young son. Yet when a mysterious tsunami wracks her island's shore, she and her fearless crew must sail out to explore the strange island that's risen from the sea floor. No sooner have they delved into the lost island's alien structures than they find themselves competing with a monstrous cult eager to complete a dark ritual in those dripping halls. For something beyond all mortal comprehension has been dreaming on the sea floor. And it's begun to wake up...
From Hugo Award winner Wendy N. Wagner comes a sword-swinging adventure in the tradition of H. P. Lovecraft, set in the award-winning world of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.
About the Author
WENDY N. WAGNER is the author of the Pathfinder Tales novel Skinwalkers, and has had short fiction published inArmored, Way of the Wizard, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and other markets. She is the Managing Editor forLightspeed and Nightmare magazines, as well as an editor for the Destroy series of anthologies, includingWomen Destroy Science Fiction, Women Destroy Fantasy, and Queers Destroy Science Fiction. She's also a contributing author at the Inkpunks blog, and lives in Portland, OR.
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Top Customer Reviews
The protagonist is Jendara, an ex-pirate mother of a mute son named Kran who's married to Vorrin, the captain of the pirate ship Milday. Jendara was in a previous book entitled Skinwalkers, also by Wagner. There are several mentions of past adventures that took place last year, which I assume is from the first book, but thankfully I never felt lost in this book. I was able to enjoy the current adventure without needing to go grab a copy of Skinwalkers, but if you're like me, you will want to read more about this crew. All right, back to Jendara. She's a very nice character: a strong woman, mother, wife and adventurer. Wagner did a great job balancing all the sides of this character and in the end helped her feel completely real and relatable.
The story starts off simple enough with Jendara and her son Kran on an island in an archipelago, when a tsunami hits and destroys most of her village. Right after the event, her husband and his crew of pirates arrive to offer aid, and explains that an island has risen out of the sea nearby and is covered in ruins and riches. Jendara and her son join the crew on a quick treasure hunt/exploration of the new island in hopes of using it to help the islanders recover from the tsunami. The rest of the story takes off from there. Kran and Vorrin both get enough time on the page to get a sense of their characters, but there isn't a lot of detailed information given. I truly believe these bases were covered in the first book along with the rest of the crew, which didn't bother me a bit. I had enough information about each supporting character that the story warranted. The island itself is the antagonist of this story with plenty of different creatures and groups causing problems for the crew. We get hints to this island's past, but a lot of it was left hidden, which added to the mystery.
Wagner knows how to weave a story. Everything starts off nice and calm, and then wham!, the action starts and it doesn't let up. She threads in plenty of mystery about the island, the people found there and their intentions. We're left to wonder about several different character's fates as the party explores the island. Wagner colors the story with just the right amount of humor to keep things from getting too dark and stressful, but doesn't ruin the overall mood.
My only complaint would be by the ending of the book there were five different groups on the island, including the crew, and I didn't feel I got enough of an explanation about the motives and means of each of the groups. Now, that's not saying the ending is unsatisfying or rushed. I just wish I knew a little more. Wagner gives different levels of information about each group so this is a sliding scale. Not withstanding this one issue, I still thoroughly enjoyed the book. You don't always need to know everything to enjoy a book.
Starspawn is the type of book that brings out the kid in me. There's so much going on and written in such a way that each event builds on top of the other creating a crazy ride. It's books like this one that remind me why I love fantasy and renew my love for the genre. Just knowing there are authors out there writing books like this will keep me young at heart forever. For those of you who would like to know, there is violence and minor language. I would recommend it to teens and adults.
Starspawn picks up where Skinwalkers! left off following the adventures of notorious pirate Jendara Eriksdottir who has since settled down on the island of Sorind with her son Kran and new husband Vorrin. Things don't remain quiet for long as the island is hammered by a tsunami and the returning crew of the Milady report a new island that appears to have been thrust up from the depths of the ocean. With the lure of easy money and the necessity of rebuilding their little town Jendara and the crew head off to investigate the island. Once they reach the island Lovecraftian horrors abound, turning their quick trip into a waking nightmare.
This was a fast paced and fun read. Since it is a hero based fantasy novel the Lovecraftian elements play out more like a Robert E Howard story the anything from the old man himself. It has just the right amount of pulp, like a good glass of orange juice. There were a few twists I didn't expect and it kept me on my toes. If you like Lovecraft and you like fantasy, this book is for you. It's like the Reese's peanut butter cup of horror and fantasy.