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Trade Reviews

  Booklist Review

Bunce's William C. Morris YA Debut Award winner, A Curse Dark as Gold (2008), was a fictional retelling of Rumpelstiltskin, and in her second novel, she moves from fairy tales into classical, high-fantasy traditions. In the pulse-pounding start, Digger, a teenage orphaned thief, is on the run after a botched job ends in a violent ambush. Desperate lies help her escape with some young aristocrats, who take her to their remote mountain estate. While posing as Celyn, a ladies' maid, Digger meets a visiting lord who blackmails her into uncovering dangerous political secrets that implicate everyone. A glossary of people and places is appended, but readers may still struggle to track the densely woven particulars of the story's intricate world. Bunce combines irresistible elements, though: a snowbound castle outfitted with trapdoors and tunnels; herbal lore and rare, forbidden magic; crackling banter and poetic description; and memorably nuanced characters, especially lock-picking, bold Digger, whose search for clues leads to a larger understanding of history, politics, friends, and families that teens will connect to their own lives.--Engberg, Gillian Copyright 2010 Booklist

  Kirkus Review

An adolescent thief threads a treacherous labyrinth of politics and sorcery in this fine series opener. Digger knows the rulesStay Alive, Don't Get Caught, Don't Get Involvedbut they're tricky to follow when a job gone sour lands her with a dead partner, brutal Greenmen on her trail and a cushy hideout as an aristocratic lady's maid. Blackmailed into spying on her kindly employers, she's soon juggling a dizzying tangle of plots, betrayals and lies, desperate to preserve the most dangerous secret of all...her own. The narrative plunges immediately into action with a daunting barrage of arcane names, places and concepts, but determined readers are rewarded with an enthralling yarn of magical intrigue, all in Digger's irresistible voiceclever, cynical, cocky, with an undercurrent of aching loneliness. Given that everyone in one faction is warm, generous and wise and their opponents uniformly vicious, spiteful and cruel, it's not hard to guess which way Digger will jump; it's downright impossible not to follow wherever her quick tongue, nimble fingers and itchy feet will carry her next. (Fantasy. YA)]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Sixteen-year-old Digger thrives as a spy and sneak-thief among the feuding religious factions of Llyvraneth, dodging the Green men who have banned all magic from the city. But when a routine job goes horribly wrong and her partner and lover tegan is killed, she has to get out of the land, fast, and hides herself in a merry group of nobles to do so. Accepted as a lady's maid to shy young Merista Nemair, Digger finds new peace and friendship at the Nemair stronghold-as well as plenty of jewels for the taking. But after the devious Remy Daul catches her in the act of thievery, he blackmails her into becoming his personal spy in the castle, and Digger soon realizes her noble hosts aren't as apolitical as she thought... that indeed, she may be at the heart of a magical rebellion. <p>Brilliantly combining the richness of fantasy with the twists and turns of the besy spy stories, StarCrossed proves Elizabeth C. Bunce is a writer who's here to stay.</p>
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