Grab your foil, and get ready! Lesley Livingston’s Starling is packed with mythology, fencing, and fun. Returning to the Faerie-adjacent New York City she created with her Wondrous Strange trilogy, Livingston expertly brings in new characters to expand her fictional world.
In this first book, a mysterious young man crashes into Mason “Mase” Starling’s life during a freak storm. Armed with a sword and a smile, he saves the day and then disappears—but not before revealing that all he remembers is he’s called The Fennrys Wolf. Suddenly Mase is avoiding draugr (Norse zombies), finding sirens in the river, and wrapped up in solving the mystery of Fenn’s past.
Mase’s family has secrets of their own. As a student of the Gosforth Academy, Mase and her classmates are more connected to the mythical side of NYC than she realizes. The founding families of the Gosforth Academy serve different gods—and Mase may be the only one not in on the secret. Despite this, none of her friends have been adequately prepared for what’s coming: The walls between worlds are thin and someone wants to kick start Ragnarok.
Through her trademark blend of wit, romance, and action Livingston is sure to score points with paranormal fans. Mase and Fenn are a dynamic duo, and the fencing scenes are written so a reader can watch them play out in her head. I particularly like the character of Heather, who Mase believes to be a rival but comes to see as a friend. More books with positive female friendships!
Think of Starling as like the first episode of Doctor Who with a new Doctor. For a while, there’s this sense that whole lot of history has happened before—but then you’re neck-deep in adventure so what’s happening now becomes far more important. Similarly, Starling creates an easy entry point into Livingston’s entertaining and magical world. (You can always read the Wondrous Strange books while waiting for the next Starling instalment.)