Book Review: Star Mother (Star Mother #1)

Published November 1st 2021

Author: Charlie N. Holmberg

A woman’s heart proves as infinite as the night sky in a breathtaking fantasy by Wall Street Journal bestselling author Charlie N. Holmberg.

When a star dies, a new one must be born.

The Sun God chooses the village of Endwever to provide a mortal womb. The birthing of a star is always fatal for the mother, and Ceris Wenden, who considers herself an outsider, sacrifices herself to secure her family’s honor and take control of her legacy. But after her star child is born, Ceris does what no other star mother has: she survives. When Ceris returns to Endwever, however, it’s not nine months later—it’s seven hundred years later. Inexplicably displaced in time, Ceris is determined to seek out her descendants.

Being a woman traveling alone brings its own challenges, until Ceris encounters a mysterious—and desperate—godling. Ristriel is incorporeal, a fugitive, a trickster, and the only being who can guide Ceris safely to her destination. Now, as Ceris traverses realms both mortal and beyond, her journey truly begins.

Together, pursued across the Earth and trespassing the heavens, Ceris and Ristriel are on a path to illuminate the mysteries that bind them and discover the secrets of the celestial world.

Star Mother is the first novel in the duology of the same name. The two stories are companion novels and can be read as standalones. As I had the ARC for the sequel, Star Father, I wanted to attempt both novels.  In this story, Ceris Wenden, a mortal living in the village of Endwever, offers her womb to the Sun God to birth a star knowing that those who do will die. She does this knowing that her betrothed, and the man she loves, is in love with another woman. She ends up surviving only to find that 700 years have passed since her sacrifice and now she is curious to figure out a new place to belong. On her journey to locate her descendants, she meets godling, Ristriel, who acts as her guide.

Throughout the novel, there are themes of love, loss, sacrifice, and loyalty, which were all incorporated well. Ceris loves a man that does not love her in return when she survives something that no other has before her only to find that time has moved forward faster than anticipated all adding to her as a sympathetic character. As a reader, I rooted for her to find some time of happiness after everything she has gone through. I did wish there were more details of the environment when she returned to her village after 700 years. There is a little, but I wanted a little more just to further explore how much time has passed and experience it through the eyes of Ceris.

Ristriel was a nice addition as he was mysterious and I enjoyed how he slowly revealed himself to the reader over time. The relationship between him and Ceris does move a little quickly for me, but I did enjoy it. The two shared a great dynamic and they kept me invested to see how everything would turn out. The pacing of their story does go up and down depending on the chapter as there are some lulls throughout the journey. There is a build-up to a climax and reveal for why Ceris survived and why time passed so quickly, which were well done. The characters were complex, including the Sun and the other immortals, which I was not expecting as much. At first, I believed they would be present, but they would not become so layered, and I was pleasantly surprised. Overall, this novel was an interesting and entertaining read that was rich in mythology. I greatly look forward to beginning Star Father next!

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