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Publisher's Summary

"Jacqueline Carey's writing flows so beautifully that her stories beg to be experienced on audio...Listeners looking for something different will appreciate this unconventional stand-alone." (AudioFile Magazine)

Jacqueline Carey is back with an amazing adventure not seen since her New York Times best-selling Kushiel's Legacy series. Lush and sensual, Starless introduces listeners to an epic world where exiled gods live among humans, and a hero whose journey will resonate long after the last chapter concludes.  

I was nine years old the first time I tried to kill a man.... 

Destined from birth to serve as protector of the princess Zariya, Khai is trained in the arts of killing and stealth by a warrior sect in the deep desert; yet there is one profound truth that has been withheld from him. In the court of the Sun-Blessed, Khai must learn to navigate deadly intrigue and his own conflicted identity…but in the far reaches of the western seas, the dark god Miasmus is rising, intent on nothing less than wholesale destruction. If Khai is to keep his soul's twin, Zariya, alive, their only hope lies with an unlikely crew of prophecy-seekers on a journey that will take them farther beneath the starless skies than anyone can imagine.

©2018 Jacqueline Carey (P)2018 Macmillan Audio

What listeners say about Starless

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  • DabOfDarkness
  • 06-08-18

The most beautiful thing I've enjoyed this year!

I’ve just been on an adventure with Khai and Zariya. The desert sand is still wedged in creases, the sea salt adhering to my hair, and some jungle forest mystery patch is making it’s home in the shady part of my imagination. I’m a long time fan of Carey’s works but Starless may have surpassed them all. The plot was unexpected, the characters unforgettable, and the settings deadly beautiful.

A beautiful mythology wends it’s way through the plot. The stars, children of the sun Zar and he three moons, were cast from the heavens ages ago. Now these stars reside throughout the world, each gifted and bestowing their gifts upon mortals. Sometimes this is through direct interaction, sometimes through objects like rare seeds or a magical pearl.

The story is told through Khai’s eyes. He grows up in a desert fortress being trained by the monks on a variety of skills. He was born with a destiny: to be the Shadow to the Sun Blessed, Zariya. Once we’ve gotten to know Khai good and well (several years have passed), he goes to the royal palace to serve as Zariya’s body guard and confidante.

Since I had already fallen in love with Khai, I wasn’t sure I would bond as well with Zariya. Her world is so very different from the desert fortress but she has not been without her trials. An affliction challenges her daily. On top of that is the endless intrigues, making it difficult to trust anyone other than her Shadow. Zariya, being the last daughter of the last wife, believes she is destined for a simple marriage and child bearing. However, prophecy steps in and drags Zariya and Khai off on a world-saving adventure.

If Jacqueline Carey were ever to write horror, she would send a tremble through the entire genre. The creepy critters from the sea that threaten to decimate the world are truly things of nightmares. I thought the ants from the 3rd trilogy in the Terre D’Ange Cycle were scary; however, the critters from Starless take the cake.

I loved the gender fluidity of Khai’s character. The desert people call it ‘bazim’ (not sure on spelling). Khai grew up among only males but once he moves to the palace, he spends most of his time in the women’s quarter, guarding Zariya. There he learns about women and starts questioning his own gender-based roles in society. It’s all very well done. As Khai interacts with more cultures, each shares their take on the matter, sometimes in subtle ways, sometimes bluntly. Khai grows by leaps and bonds and I loved his character all the more by the end of the tale. 5/5 stars.

The Narration: Caitlin Davies did a great job with this book – a truly top notch performance. She provided so many different accents, keeping all the characters unique. Plenty of emotions, subtle and not, were on display in this tale and Davies gave them all their due. I especially enjoyed the valiant Mayfly. 5/5 stars.

13 people found this helpful

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  • Mya & Taryn
  • 31-05-20

Incredible!

This book is so good, and the queer representation is on point. I’ve read some of Jacqueline Carey’s other work, and this is by far my favorite and most recommended. Beautifully written, incredible story, and amazing performance by Caitlin Davies. Get it, listen to it, recommend it, and listen to it again. 10/10 easily.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Mary
  • 09-07-18

Enough "my darling"

The narration was tough for me. She was terrific for the majority of the characters but the others... became caricatures, and annoying ones at that. This, combined with the author's extreme use of the endearment "my darling" began to turn this amazing story into a slog. I think we can all agree that JC is a phenomenal world builder and original beyond compare. However, the pacing seemed a little off, and a little unraveled, for me at about the halfway mark. By the time the climax was reached, I felt surprised, but also still wasn't sure who some of the support characters were if only referred to by name and not description. I just didn't care enough. I think I would have liked this book better if I'd read the physical copy as I could have allowed my eye to skim over the "my darling" and not be so irritated by the men's voices that are done as an 8 year old would if they were dressing up as an elderly, cranky, neighbor.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Daniel Rouk
  • 29-06-18

Starless

Another fantastic novel from Jacqueline Carey. Her world-building is superb and I immediately became a huge fan of her main character. First half of the novel is equal to the best she's done. Second half suffered a bit as the support characters weren't nearly as developed, but still a solid story.

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  • Sehra
  • 02-08-18

Don't expect it to be like her other books

I enjoyed the first part of the book but the second was a slog. Still a reasonably enjoyable book but by the end I just wanted it to be over.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Lincoln
  • 19-12-20

Another stunning story from Jacqueline Carey

As when I begun the Kushiels Legacy series, this book grabs your attention with new and fantastical ideas and characters. What a wonderful idea! The gods live amongst us! The twists and turns of the plot left me so sad each time I had to turn off the book. I kept finding myself wondering about what would happen next to these loveable protagonists. Jacqueline has such a talent for creating such unique, fully realized characters. Caitlyn Davies is unmatched in narration skills. The tones, accents and pitch used for each character is simply perfection. You can't imagine the characters sounding any other way. Just a lovely book and I am so sad it's over. I would love to see this book turned into a series, I am so interested to hear more about what adventures await the protagonists next. Books like these make me so happy that I choose to spend my time reading rather than spending hours vegging in front of a TV. There is nothing compared to how a beautifully written story and amazing narrator can transport you to such fantastic places.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Bee
  • 09-11-19

Breathtaking

This stand alone novel transports your to a beautiful world. Carefully crafted and eloquently molded where you truly can’t stop listening. I am truly touched by her righting.

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  • Malaika
  • 21-09-19

Absolutely Wonderful!

I’ve read a lot of Jacqueline Carey books. This is the first review I’ve ever written. She’s one of my all time favorite authors and this has to be one of THE BEST stories she’s ever told. This is on the same level as Kushiel’s. Wow! I’m sooo mad it’s not a series!!

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  • Lori Hart
  • 13-09-19

I love this author and this book

I've shared this story with m as my people and everyone has loved it. Beautiful story with perfect narration. Great job!

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  • Jesse P Vogel
  • 04-04-19

Amazing Read!

I hope there is a follow up to Starless! This was such a great book I have listened to it in it"s entirety 4 times.

1 person found this helpful

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  • A L McMahon
  • 30-11-20

Absolutely brilliant

Jacqueline Carey on top form. Truly brilliant, loving the new world. I can't wait for a sequel.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 13-08-18

8 first hours are good. then sloppy boring mess

well I guess you can imagine that I didn't like this book. and I stopped with like 2 hours left. because I couldn't take any more of this predictable unoriginal read. this might ofc just be my personal preference crashing with the writing style of this book. but at this point I've just given up.

that being said. this book might be for those who have never read any fantasy before. so you won't see how blighted this is with phrases from other fantasy, that has been reused, after swapping out one word.

wouldn't recommend this to anyone. unless you just want to read/listen to the first 8 hours. which are ok.

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  • Mike
  • 03-08-18

Some good ideas, badily written.

The book had a very promising start but abiut a third of the way through I was struggling to stay interested. There is the potential for a really good story but it isnt very well written and really rushed. There is no real story or character development along the way and as the book drags on, the auther throws in every fantasy cliche under the sun in. With more writing experiance, the author should revisit and improve. The book has alot of potential, it is just a shame it's not there yet.