Fantasy genre superstar Jacqueline Carey (Kushiel's Dart; Miranda and Caliban) returns with a stunning standalone adventure that sweeps from desert to ocean in a world where the stars walk among mortals as gods.
Born at the same time as the Sun-Blessed Princess Zariya of Zarkhoum, Khai has trained since birth to become her shadow, a protector who will share a soul-deep connection with the girl. Raised in the Fortress of the Winds by a warrior sect, Khai faces potentially fatal initiation rituals before his god, Parkhun the Scouring Wind, marks him as worthy. In the court of the Sun-Blessed, Khai finds his soul's twin in affectionate, sheltered Zariya, but he must struggle with a surprising revelation about his own identity. While Khai tries to protect Zariya from her family's scheming, a goddess bids her marry into one of the other nations, whose cultures vary widely depending on their protector gods. Sun-Blessed and shadow accept the goddess's will, only to stumble headlong into a prophesied war that could rip their entire world apart or heal the ancient rift poisoning it.
Filled with electric action, wild and wonderful magic, and vivid depictions of desert life, Carey's new epic will thrill readers. Though the plot leans on traditional fantasy elements, characters grapple with gender identity, cultural transitions and even physical disability--Zariya's legs atrophied during a childhood illness. Endlessly engrossing and inventive, Starless should captivate Carey's fans as well as fantasy readers looking for a sprawling, romantic story infused with surprising tenderness and humor. --Jaclyn Fulwood, youth services manager, main branch, Dayton Metro Library