In Amelia’s world, if a parent has committed one of the Seven Deadly Sins, their children can be born as witches. When her younger brother “creates” fire, a sign of being a witch, Amelia leaves home taking him with her. She takes him to Cathedral Reims so she can become a nun and her brother Nathan can become a priest. The common belief is that course of action will absolve them in the eyes of Deus.
That was three years ago. Now, Amelia is awaiting her turn to undergo the trials that she, and other hopefuls, must go through in order to become a professed nun. Her nerves are stretched thin as she is waiting in the small cell that she is sharing with her best friend Colette. Not only are the trials causing her anxiety, but so is that fact that she seems to be the only one seeing the “Shadowmen”. With no idea why she the only one who is seeing them, Amelia struggles to keep her composure and pretend they are not there.
I found “When Stars Die” to be fairly frustrating for the first half of the book. Don’t get me wrong, I did think the plot/storyline was a really good one, I just spent the first half of the book wondering what I had missed. I spent the first few chapters wondering who or what Shadowmen were, where they came from etc. Why was only Amelia seeing them?
Ohhh and Amelia, I just wanted to grab her & shake her so hard. She annoyed me so much. With her constant comparisons of herself to her best friend Colette, Amelia comes across as weak and needy. I realise that other readers won’t think the same as me, but this is what I felt and thought. I didn’t feel sympathy or compassion for her. I did admire her at first for doing what she thought was best for her brother and I admired her acceptance towards the end, but only briefly.
The Love Angle: Oliver is Amelia’s other best friend and she begins to feel the stirrings of something more than just friendship. Each time she holds back because of her wish to become a professed nun to absolve her brother. Holding back becomes harder each time.
Did I like the book? As a whole, yes & no, but it’s not all bad. I think the idea for the story is excellent but I feel it could have been developed more. More information for the reader would be great, not just dump them into chapter 1 and making them wait until nearly halfway into the book to clear the confusion.
The characters did very little for me. I’ve already given my thoughts on Amelia.
We don’t see a huge amount of Nathan so it would have been interesting to see his character develop along with his witchiness.
Colette, almost too good to be true; the girl has the patience of a saint dealing with Amelia and her insecurities.
Oliver: the secret love… It wasn’t very hard to guess who he was and I think a little more mystery around him would have worked better.
Amelia’s parents: There’s very little background given on her mother & father and this leads to unanswered questions.
I felt the ending was a little rushed and not complete. Yes I know there is another book to come, but will these questions be answered then?
The writing style was very good. I liked the almost “old world” feel it had. I wouldn’t like to see that change as I found it flowed quite well to describe the tale as it went on.
Would I read the next in the Trilogy? I think I would, if only to see do I like it better than this one. Maybe Amelia’s new self will be more to my liking. Maybe the questions I have will be answered.
3 Shamrocks from me, with the hopes that maybe the next book can beat this rating.