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Download The Hidden Stars: Book One of The Rune of Unmaking epub

by Madeline Howard

More than a century ago, the cataclysmic struggle between the wizards and the mages ended in their mutual destruction -- leveling great cities and reducing grand palaces to dust. From the vast graveyard that remained, the Empress

Ouriána rose up to proclaim herself the Divine Incarnation of the Devouring Moon—ruling her wasted realm with the blackest sorcery; turning her priests from men to monsters and setting them loose to enslave or destroy all who would oppose her.

But now signs and portents hint of a champion—a young girl, hidden and talented, who is destined to end Ouriána's terrible reign. And now a brave band of heroes must locate their savior princess—even if it means being pursued to the ends of the world by the withering fury of the dark goddess herself.

Download The Hidden Stars: Book One of The Rune of Unmaking epub
ISBN: 0060575891
ISBN13: 978-0060575892
Category: Fantasy
Subcategory: Fantasy
Author: Madeline Howard
Language: English
Publisher: Harper Voyager; Reprint edition (February 28, 2006)
ePUB size: 1782 kb
FB2 size: 1726 kb
Rating: 4.3
Votes: 382
Other Formats: mbr lit doc mobi

I wanted to enjoy this book, I truly did, but it just did not work for me. For one thing I believe that Ms. Howard has too densely populated her book with fantastical characters: Faey, wizards, healers, sorcerers, princes, warriors, sea dragons, runes, mentions of frost giants; dwarves, werebats, werecreatures, giant turtules with castles on their backs, etc. Every death comes with some portent in the sky, indeed it seems if one can hardly move two paces in her world without something or the other being a sign/portent/omen/curse. I know it sounds ironic, but there was just too much of the fantastical in her book, that it became common and uninteresting. As a result of her cramming everything in none of her characters seemed to have any life whatsoever: all of her wizards are aged and sage, all her princes are honorable and hot headed in their way, the evil characters are all one dimensionally evil, their twisting evident to all. Blah...
The book would have played better if she had gutted three quarters of her fantastical characters, make magic not so easily accessible (too many wizards and what nots), and breathed more life into the characters (an average and unwise wizard perhaps fighting demons of his own that would tamper his outlook and humanize him; this would show more clearly exactly why he is fighting for the common man, other than the empress is evil and has to be stopped angle). Suffice it to say I do not intend to purchase the next book in the series. I do not mind reading fantasy books that travel well worn paths, as long as the path is fun, exciting, and entertaining. What I do mind is reading stories that are not interesting, (too much or too little) and coherently put together.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It had a lot of familiar, expected fantasy elements, but still held plenty of surprises. Things didn't usually go the way I expected. The characters were fresh and interesting. The background plot (world created) was very thorough and detailed, but the information wasn't all dumped at once--it was doled out through out the story. I can't wait for the next books in the series. I highly recommend it. The only thing I missed was a pronounciation guide (the names were rediculous) and a map (I couldn't figure out the geography at all).
in waiting
The Empress Ouriana has declared herself a goddess and is intent on conquering the entire world. Those who oppose her have battled for decades, yet have only defeat and dispair to show for their fighting. But a prophesy holds hope. Someone from the Empress's own bloodline is supposed to bring about her defeat. And Ouriana's sister has a baby daughter. Keeping that daughter alive becomes one of the most important goals in the world. But the wizard who sets out with the baby girl is lost in a battle with Ouriana's priests--and nothing more is heard from the girl.

As Ouriana continues her conquest, years pass. The Empress's conquests move closer and closer to the core areas of the alliance that opposes her. If the girl survived, she would be a young adult now, and they need her help. A small group including a half-elf prince, the most powerful wizard left to the side of light, and the wizard's daughter set off to follow up rumors that a princess in a distant kingdom might not be who she pretends--might actually be the child foretold in prophesy.

Author Madeline Howard delivers a well written and interesting debut novel. The world she creates--one filled with monsters frozen in the deeps, a newly lowered moon that creates earthquakes as it circles, and of powerful magic, will be familiar to fantasy readers while containing creative elements that are all her own.

The story concentrates on the journey of Sinderian, wizard's daughter, and the Prince Ruan, but occasionally switches to the point of view of one of Ouriana's sons or to that of the princess Winloki herself. I didn't find the characters quite as well developed or interesting as the world and magical system, however. Winloki is whiny and impulsive, and Sinderian is a bit whiny herself. While cardboard characters are a staple of fantasy (did we really get to know Aragorn, after all), it would have been nice if these central characters were more fully defined and sympathetic.

THE HIDDEN STARS isn't perfect, but it makes for engaging reading. I was reading it on the train and nearly missed my exit.
Madeline Howard's debut fantasy novel is very impressive. She manages, within only about 400 pages (very short for a fantasy novel!) to create a foreign world, populate it with convincingly three-dimensional characters, and create the framework for a trilogy that promises to be the traditional epic fantasy we all know and love, with a twist of something indefinably new and clever to make it stand out.

Howard's characters are her greatest asset- here, her story-telling really shines. Her heroes are not always heroes, but often walk around with chips on their shoulders. Her villain is terrifying in the extreme, but has a truly sympathetic and honorable son. Her female characters are strong without being brats, and hold their own firmly in a cast of brilliant men.

Howard creates a world already steeped with hundreds, even thousands of years of history- all of it fascinating. She creates languages and cultures and gives all of these a sense of history, too. One can only imagine the amount of effort and work that went into making the background for this story, before delving into the plot itself.

The Hidden Stars is a book that would appeal to any fantasy lover- young adult or old adult :-) It promises a strong trilogy of books that are set in an engrossing world.