StarSight Vol. I & Vol II by Minnette Meador are a fantasy adventure of classic potential. It includes a world map of locations (I love maps!), the writing is visual and grants a texture of this world for the reader to really sink into.
Volume I introduces a guider, Trenara, who has visions and a crystal staff that grants magical power through musical notes, sung with perfect pitch. Trenara is mentor to Prince Joshan, and both are beloved by all. We meet them, taking a favorite adventure through their world, which is on the verge of trauma (of course!). Primary characters are introduced subtly, and past events that shape the story of the moment, are presented with a full spectrum of texture and emotion that is sometimes poetic, and weaves all the stories into a tapestry.
The primary dilemma Trenara faces is turning Joshan into a Messiah, not what she wants to do, and something a ten-year-old boy has little desire to attain. Even though Joshan magically ages ten years in one night, and has the support of some delightfully crusty characters in Haiden, Vanderliden and the rebel Sark, the ancient evil is already in power and creating havoc through the world. Through battles, deceit and despair, the “good” win in the end and Joshan has become both Emperor and Messiah for his people. BUT! The evil is not defeated….
StarSight II begins as if turning the page in time. (I had a two week lapse until getting Vol. II. I recommend getting them both at the same time!) The victorious and magical team begin the journey to meet and defeat the evil Sirdar, by starting at the Isle of Mathisma, the sanctum of all knowledge and home base of the crystal of power.
As is Vol. I, the stories are vibrant with color and song, unique magic and interweaving stories. But where Vol. II excels is delving deeper into the darkness festering, even within the empire of light. There are scary things where the “good” has dwelled for thousands of years. As the keepers of the magic implode under darker powers, scarier visions take hold of the heroes boldly going where they fear to tread. The story evolves and explodes. Not only does the reader begin to doubt the “good”, but are shown the “evil” as potentially preferred.
Past stories weave the tapestry, and dig deeper into magic, tamper with judging which is good or evil, and a potential twist that could show all the battles as having been – for naught. As a reader, I couldn’t put it down, couldn’t figure out which way the tides would turn, began to feel sympathy for Sirdar (evil) and was horrified at some of the good choices. Characters on the good side in Vol I, are revealed as not, in Vol II. Fortunately, the battles are dealt with in quick slices of horror and gore, then the reader is plowed through the carnage, as the story continues…
I read more on philosophies, science, human history and cultures, than current fantasy novels. This is why these two of Minnette’s books generated a personal connection with me. In her world building, and the challenges characters face, I could see many mirrors to different spiritual and cultural touches, for humanity. Yet no one “power” reigned supreme once all the “good” people united with dignity and a common goal.
The ending was fulfilling, surprising and really sealed my fate. I have no choice but to begin at the beginning, and read this series again. It is that good.