My rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
How I Got It: eBook Purchase
Publication Date: September 2017
Publisher: Live Edge Publishing
Point of View: 3rd Person Various
Genre: Fantasy Adventure
Technically I read Sunburner last month, but since Claire Luana is the June Author of the Month, I figured I would save my review until now as part of the ongoing feature.
As you can see from my previous review of Moonburner, I was a big fan of book 1 in the series, but I did fear that the sequel might suffer from second-book syndrome. After the huge stakes of the first story, the adventure, the character growth, the complexity of the world, I couldn't help but wonder if the author could actually pull off a book as good . . . or if the stakes would feel lesser and the characters a bit static.
But Claire Luana not only equaled her first book, she also surpassed it!
One thing I really love about the Moonburner Cycle is the presence of a very real and important spiritual world. The gods and goddesses--and those dreadful beings posing in the place of gods and goddesses--matter to the characters, not as a figureheads, but as active parts of their world. The adventure is grounded in the mortal, physical realm, but it all stems from a deeper place. Thus this action-adventure-romance story boasts an added layer of profundity, and everything feels as though it MATTERS more. (If that makes any sense?)
The spiritual element is present in Moonburner, but it all goes so much deeper in Sunburner, as Kai and her true love, Hiro, join with their friends (and fren-emies) on an epic quest to find their missing gods. No spoilers here, but this quest does NOT go anything like our heroes plan, and the turn-about in the mission had me absolutely gasping with surprise and horror along the way.
Kai continues to develop as a heroine. She's no longer the out-of-her-depth girl she was in book 1. She's now a young woman and a queen, finding her way through the tricky waters of ruling a kingdom. She feels unprepared for this daunting task . . . and, as certain unexpected discoveries come to light, she realizes that she might not actually even be MEANT for this role. But regardless of circumstances or even her own beliefs about herself, she is a true queen at heart, and it's wonderful watching her grow into the role.
Hiro gets a lot more page-time in this book as well, and I really loved getting to know him. The two young lovers are separated for large chunks of the story, but I actually really liked that. I liked seeing them acting as individuals. They're always on each other's minds, but they're not bound to each other as such.
My favorite character of the whole book ended up being the Mean Girl from Book 1, however. Again, no spoilers, but . . . Claire Luana's handling of that storyline was amazing and heartbreaking and ultimately so satisfying and just . . . *hugs the book!!!!*
Anyway, all my worries of Second Book Syndrome were completely dashed to pieces. I loved Sunburner to pieces. It was a satisfying story in and of itself--no cliffhangers or anything. But when I reached the end, I felt VERY eager for the third and final book, simply because I wanted to dive deeper into this world and see where these characters go and how they grow. Thankfully, Starburner was only a few weeks away from launching, so I didn't have to wait long!
Claire Luana is my Author of the Month for June, so I'm reviewing the entire Moonburner Cycle this month. There's going to be a GIVEAWAY at the end of the month, with multiple prizes for multiple winners, so be watching for that!
And meanwhile, don't miss your chance to try a delightful sample of Claire's storytelling. Her romantic novella Burning Fate is free on her website! So go visit and grab your copy.
Come back next week for my review of Starburner. I just read it over this weekend and . . . yeah. I've got lots of thoughts to share!!!