Review of Starlight’s Children: Agents of Kalanon Book Two – Darian Smith

Posted: November 21, 2018 in fantasy, Review
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Children are being hunted in the streets and their parents’ hearts frozen into glass.  Brannon and his team of “unusual crimes” investigators are still reeling from the aftermath of Risen in Kalanon, but now they must face a new monster on the loose.
Tensions between Kalanon and Nilar are on the rise once more as Ylani and the King clash.  Meanwhile, Taran’s past haunts him and the church may not be the sanctuary it once was.  Monsters come in many forms and Taran knows this better than most. Once you’ve been a Child of Starlight,can you ever truly be free?
Failing to solve this new string of murders could cost the missing children their lives, Kalanon its future, and one of their team his sanity
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Starlight’s Children: Agents of Kalanon Book 2

Darian Smith

Wooden Tiger

Purchased at Conclave 3

Reviewed by Jacqui Smith

The fantasy mystery is a rare and difficult thing to write. The reader must quickly gain an understanding of the capabilities and limitations of magic and technology in the world the writer is taking them to, or else the mystery does not work as a mystery. Thus, if teleportation is possible, then locked rooms aren’t a challenge. This necessitates meticulous and detailed world-building, and I’m not entirely sure that has been achieved in this novel. There are no maps, and locations seems sprinkled about with little apparent regard to geography. But what really bugged me was the casual mention of an alchemist using a Bunsen burner… Does the author have any idea of the technology and infrastructure needed for Bunsen burners to work? He lost this reader right there.

That said, there is much to commend here. The book is well-enough written, and the plot (in both senses of the word) thickens enough to be interesting. Children are disappearing, their care-givers turning up dead in grisly fashion, their hearts turned “black and hard like glass”. Is this the work of the Frost Wolf, a monster thought to be mythical? And then there’s the King’s missing gold shipment. And a collection of disputed swords. It is all more-or-less connected of course, and the novel comes to an entertaining climax appropriate to both genres, the villains of the piece getting their just desserts. However, I couldn’t help feeling a bit disappointed. This was the book that won the SJV for best novel. But I think it could have been much improved with more work in the underpinnings.

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