Review: Splintered Stars (The Sevens #1) (ARC)

Published: February 23rd 2021, 321 pages

Author: Rachel Madbury

The greatest witch ever born doesn’t know she is one.

Some secrets aren’t best kept. Some powers can’t be contained. And for Haley Quinlan, when her sister is kidnapped she’ll learn that the life she’s built is a pale shadow to the one she’s meant for.

If she lives long enough.

He’s been watching her for three years but for the first time Lucas Turner sees the truth of who Haley is. It’s nothing he ever imagined. And it’s nothing he’s allowed to have. He’ll usher her into a world she’d been kept from and protect her life with his own, but when their connection sets them on a course filled with darkness and lies, will their greatest risk be each other?

When the world learns who she is, he’ll die for her without question, but what if she lives? What if he does? 

The Splintered Stars novel is a promising start to the Sevens series. The book starts straight into the action before it backtracks with a little backstory as the main character learns more about what is actually going on. As this is a series, the story is set up to continue in the next novel and I’m curious about this series will look in the big picture, as I wonder if any of the other members of the Seven will be featured as a main, similar to other stories where different characters take turns to be the main.

Haley Quinlan is having dinner with her sister, Penny, when the unthinkable happens as they are walking back to Haley’s car. Demons, that look similar to humans, come out of nowhere and end up kidnapping Penny and attempting to kidnap Haley. The only reason Haley was saved is due to a man suddenly appearing to rescue her. Before we get to this action, we get a glimpse into Haley’s personal life where she is very career driven in her late twenties, who wants to become a VP for her company by the time she is 35. She has not had luck with romance and has no interest in dating.  Neither is mentioned or explored again after the kidnapping takes place and the main part of the story begins. It could be something that is brought up later, but it really did not do much for me as it felt unnecessary to use sentences to describe this when it could be used for the other parts of the story.

It turns out that Haley is a witch, and so is her mother and sister, but she was kept in the dark. The man who rescued her is Lucas, who is actually her magical guardian. He is a Seven, which is an elite group of semi-immortal warriors sworn to protect witches.  He has been assigned to watch over Haley for the past three years and is very attracted to her, even though he knows they should not be together as Sevens are not allowed to be with their charges.  Most of the other members of the Seven come together to assist Lucas and Haley in their missions to (1) teach Haley about who she is and (2) rescue Penny. The majority of the story is Haley learning about her powers and learning more about the magical world. She learns about demons and witches, but it is not explored about why demons exist and their general motivation for going after witches.

The pacing can seem slow as it is a lot of set up where Haley, and the reader, are learning details about the magical world and the plot doesn’t propel forward as much as I thought it would. There are events that move the story along, but a lot of it is daily life where a lot of explanation takes place. Haley learns different magical skills and discovers a lot about her powers. I do wish that there were more struggles with learning each new skill as she seemed to just be great at everything she tried. For me, I am not a huge fan of instant perfection for characters and prefer at least some struggle, even the witches in Charmed were super powerful, but weren’t perfect at it on day one. Every reader is different, so they might not believe the same type of character is preferable.

The members of the Seven are what kept me interested in this story as all of them have their own tragic backstories. I wanted to learn even more about them as there are lot of unanswered questions I have about all of them. They have excellent banter and they support each other. They are a great family without being related by blood and I like that they communicated well together. They were great with their interactions with Haley, too. Haley was great in moments, but it was hard to remember that this is a woman in her late twenties as it felt more young adult based on some of her thoughts and actions.  

Overall, it is a series that is worth a try as everyone will have their own opinions about the story and characters. I would be interested in continuing in order to learn more about the Seven, as I am not as invested in the main couple or even Haley/Penny events as much as I thought I would be.  The magical powers in the story are very interest to learn about. The series has great potential as there are elements that are very interesting. As it is the start of the series, it is difficult to fully judge it as the second one and beyond could be perfection. Therefore, I would be willing to read the next one and see how everything continues/turns out.

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