A Telling of Stars by Caitlin Sweet

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Book Information  
AuthorCaitlin Sweet
TitleA Telling of Stars
Book Reviews / Comments (submitted by readers)
Submitted by Miriamele 
(Jun 14, 2005)

I have just completed A Telling of Stars. One word is floating around in my head the most: beautiful. The book follows the journey of an 18-year old girl named Jaele. Jaele's story of loss and her search for vengeance, and especially the prose in which it is written, is very beautiful. I haven't read such a throroughly lovely book in a long time, and I was a bit sad when I reached the last page (although perhaps the last few pages were the most delicious of all).

I can't stress enough how much I enjoyed the prose in this book. It was at once utterly sparse and beautifully lyrical. What economy of language! Caitlin's prose reminded me of Guy Kay. But even Kay doesn't pare down his language so much. I was very impressed with the way Caitlin managed to convey sharp images and worlds of meaning with only a few well placed words.

I found it refreshing, after reading so much epic fantasy, to read a book which chronicled the journey of only one person. I think that narrowing the focus of the story to one POV makes it all the more compelling and poignant. Soon into the book I began to care deeply for Jaele and for the friends she meets on her journey.

Much in the book surprised me. A strength of the book is its unpredictability. Everything I figured would happen, didn't. In this unpredictability it had a feeling of real life despite the fantastic nature of so much of the book.

Which brings me to another point: Caitlin has formidable powers of imagination. Starfish that juggle shells, birds that spin webs of silk, an entire orchard of fruit trees underground. And so much more...from beginning to end Telling is filled with descriptions of things and places that made me say, "hey, that's so cool..."

Over the course of Jaele's journey she grows more reliant on her own strength and less on others. It's amazing and wonderful to watch the transformation in her character even as she journeys to such strange and wondrous places.

The ending of the book, in which Jaele comes to a powerful realization about those people she has loved and loss, was breathtaking. A fitting finale for an emotionally powerful book.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys either the lyrical, emotional style of Guy Kay or the sparse yet powerful prose of Ursula Le Guin.

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