Twenty-four hours later, she's been taken in by a group of hungover (and, in some cases, possibly still drunk) rich young revelers. One thing leads to another, and she stays on with them as a lady-in-waiting to thirteen-year-old Merista Nemair.
Digger plans to grab what she can and ditch the group as soon as possible, but the longer she stays with them, the harder it is to leave. Not only because she's becoming fond of the people she's living with (and then there's that avalanche), but also because of a situation much more dangerous: Lord Daul, who knows Digger's true identity, and has threatened to expose her if she doesn't agree to spy on -- and steal from -- her hosts for him.
But the more she discovers about her hosts, the more she knows that she mustn't reveal -- not only because what she's learned could bring about their torture and execution, but because the Nemairs and their allies have begun to represent Digger's first -- and possibly only -- chance at true freedom. Not just from Lord Daul, but from her own past.
Elizabeth C. Bunce is two for two. Despite my longstanding desire for more stand-alone books, I was FREAKING DELIGHTED when I hit the three-quarter mark of StarCrossed and realized that there was NO POSSIBLE WAY that she'd be able to wrap everything up by the end of the book.
She's created a world with a complex political situation and an ongoing war between religion and magic (I'm making that much simpler than it actually is), she's populated it with well-drawn, three-dimensional¹ characters and she's introduced it through the eyes and voice of a sympathetic, bright, brave, attitudinal and subtly humorous heroine:
I still hadn't figured out how I was going to attach myself to the party bound for Caerellis, and looking at them now, I was having second thoughts. They kept hugging everyone. Maybe there was a village somewhere near Favom. I could learn about pigs.
Also, there's the distinct possibility of some future romance. SPARKS FLY, PEOPLE. SPARKS FLY.
It's a world that deserves multiple volumes. I know this is a short write up, but this is a case in which your best bet is to just pick the book up.
Highly, highly recommended to fans of Robin McKinley, Megan Whalen Turner and Sherwood Smith's Crown Duel duology.
¹Mostly. Phaedra was a bit of a stock character.
Book source: Review copy from the publisher.