cover image The Starless Crown

The Starless Crown

James Rollins. Tor, $28.99 (560p) ISBN 978-1-250-80706-9

A young woman discovers her foreboding destiny in this fun but one-dimensional fantasy adventure from Rollins (A Kingdom of Bones). Nyx, a nearly blind student at the Cloistery of Brayk, survives an attack by monstrous Mýr bats, vicious swamp beasts with lethal venom. But rather than killing Nyx, their venom miraculously restores her vision and imparts a premonition of Moonfall, an impending apocalypse. When Highking Toranth ry Massif learns of Nyx’s survival, he demands to have her brought to his castle; her blood could prove valuable to his physicians and he fears she’s connected to the legend of the Forsworn Knight, whose alleged child was prophesied to be the cause of the kingdom’s downfall. As Toranth hunts for her, Nyx flees with a team of unlikely allies on a perilous journey to find her alleged father, determined to stop Moonfall before darkness takes them all. Though the fantastical creatures and landscapes are imaginative, the fast-paced but shallow narrative takes the easy road by concentrating on a series of chilling beast encounters for Nyx and her party rather than exploring the tension between characters. Readers looking for plot-driven fantasy will enjoy the action but shouldn’t expect much depth. (Jan.)