Continuing my exploration of Shea Ernshaw's catalogue, I grabbed A Wilderness of Stars* as a Book of the Month add on as soon as I saw it. If you've been here a while, you're probably read my reviews of her other books including A History of Wild Places, The Wicked Deep and Long Live the Pumpkin Queen.
In A Wilderness of Stars, young Vega is the last Astronomer in a world that is being destroyed by a vicious consumption sickness. Being the Astronomer means she has learned and mapped their entire sky, as each Astronomer had before her, waiting for a single from the sky.
It also means that she is a wanted commodity. There are many out there who seek her wisdom, believing her capable of curing the disease. Vega must find The Artchitect, another keeper of ancient knowledge, and make her way to the sea in order to save her world.
I started the book with high expectations. I've adored Ernshaw's work so much, and I anticipated I would pick up this story and not put the book down just as I had with her other stories. Sadly, this one disappointed me. I liked it, don't get me wrong, but I didn't love it. It started off slow and struggled to like Vega. She felt flat - probably by design as her entire life was about one thing. She had no common sense and more than once I wished some of the other characters would smack her.
The book gets better if you tough out the beginning. By the end I was pleasantly hooked - after the halfway point I felt like it started to finally feel like there was a purpose to the story. There were a fair amount of situations that felt forced to cause drama without particularly driving the plot. The ending was almost entirely unexpected, which was a pleasant surprise.
Did I love A Wilderness of Stars? No. But I did enjoy it and would recommend it for young adult readers.
*if you sign up for Book of the Month through my link, I will recieve a free book credit