by Elizabeth C. Bunce
First sentence: “I’d have gotten away if that little guard hadn’t cracked me in the eye.”
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When we last left our fair Digger/Celyn (if you really don’t want spoilers for Starcrossed, you ought to read that one first and then come back), she had survived the winter snowed in at a remote mountain castle, and helped rescue a prince and incite a rebellion against the ever-increasing militant state of her country and town. Now she’s back in Gerse, doing what she does best: thieving. She never expected to get caught, let alone thrown in jail with Lord Durrell, who’s in there as the main suspect in his wife’s murder. Digger gets enlisted to do the other thing she does best — digging — in order to prove Durrell’s innocence. Along the way, she finds herself in possession of more than one secret she wishes she didn’t have. Ones that people may do everything in their power to keep hidden.
Much like the first book in this series, it’s easy to get lost in Digger’s world. For starters, she’s a fascinating, complex character, full of both flaws and virtues. She’s smart, clever, and strong, as well as loyal enough to go out on a limb for her friends. It’s amazing to sit back and watch her do her stuff.
In addition, this one reads like a historical fantasy mystery novel: if Durrell is innocent (and is he really?), who did kill his wife? And what about all the mysterious goings on with both Durrell’s family as well as his wife’s family? Not to mention the rebellion… The book has a different feel than Starcrossed — grittier is the first word I can think of — and yet is just as rich and engaging and thrilling (and full of swoon-worthy heroes, though I missed Prince Wierolf) as the first book. (Though you do need to read Starcrossed before you read this one. Then again, why wouldn’t you?)
And then there’s the twist at the end: some you saw coming, but the very end… completely out of left field in a most delicious way. I can’t wait to see what Bunce does next with Digger and this world.