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North Star Guide Me Home

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Some things are broken beyond mending ... Grievously wounded in battle, Isidro's life hangs in the balance - but the only person who can help him is the man he can never trust. Sierra is desperate to rebuild shattered bonds with her old friends, but with Isidro incontrovertibly changed and her own wounds still fresh, things can never be as they once were. Burdened by all h Some things are broken beyond mending ... Grievously wounded in battle, Isidro's life hangs in the balance - but the only person who can help him is the man he can never trust. Sierra is desperate to rebuild shattered bonds with her old friends, but with Isidro incontrovertibly changed and her own wounds still fresh, things can never be as they once were. Burdened by all he's done at Kell's command, Rasten knows he cannot atone for the horrors of his past. But when their enemies in Akhara follow Cam's small clan back to Ricalan, carrying a thirst for vengeance, the skills Rasten swore he'd renounce may be their only hope for victory...


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Some things are broken beyond mending ... Grievously wounded in battle, Isidro's life hangs in the balance - but the only person who can help him is the man he can never trust. Sierra is desperate to rebuild shattered bonds with her old friends, but with Isidro incontrovertibly changed and her own wounds still fresh, things can never be as they once were. Burdened by all h Some things are broken beyond mending ... Grievously wounded in battle, Isidro's life hangs in the balance - but the only person who can help him is the man he can never trust. Sierra is desperate to rebuild shattered bonds with her old friends, but with Isidro incontrovertibly changed and her own wounds still fresh, things can never be as they once were. Burdened by all he's done at Kell's command, Rasten knows he cannot atone for the horrors of his past. But when their enemies in Akhara follow Cam's small clan back to Ricalan, carrying a thirst for vengeance, the skills Rasten swore he'd renounce may be their only hope for victory...

30 review for North Star Guide Me Home

  1. 4 out of 5

    Krystal

    Wow I finally finished the series! ... I think. I mean, with that ending ... are we getting a spin-off? Coz I could totally go a spin-off. This series is really tricky to rate. I loved it, and enjoyed every moment of reading it, but I don't really know what happened? WARNING: The following review contains spoilers for the previous two books in the series. Here's what I liked: - The characters -The magic -The way it cut out all the boring trekking etc -Unpredictable Here's what I didn't like: -Hard to keep Wow I finally finished the series! ... I think. I mean, with that ending ... are we getting a spin-off? Coz I could totally go a spin-off. This series is really tricky to rate. I loved it, and enjoyed every moment of reading it, but I don't really know what happened? WARNING: The following review contains spoilers for the previous two books in the series. Here's what I liked: - The characters -The magic -The way it cut out all the boring trekking etc -Unpredictable Here's what I didn't like: -Hard to keep track of what's happening -Delphine I mean, this was definitely all about the characters for me. I fell instantly in love with Sierra and Isidro in the first book, but Rasten captured my heart in book 2 and he was definitely my fave here. He has such an interesting story and I loved that he was so physically powerful yet so mentally broken. Isidro starts this book clinging to life precariously, so my heart was aching for him as well, and he also has really interesting development. The relationship between him and Sierra is all messed up, and she's vouching for Rasten which adds a lot of tension to this novel. For me, the best part of this book - and the entire series - was seeing what these characters go through, how they deal with it, and how they find the strength to keep pressing on. Delphine is someone I could have done without, though. I mean, she played her part in book 2 but is it really necessary to try to integrate her? She felt like such an outsider in this book, and while that makes me feel for her, it also meant I felt awkward every time she was involved in the action. The actual journey back to the homeland was a bit confusing - I never really understood what their goal was, how they'd ended up where they were, and what the point was to anything they were doing. That could be because I forgot so much of what had happened in the previous books, but I think it's also because the story works hard to cut out all of the long arduous treks, and political conflicts, that it ends up missing important information. I suppose the world-building was a little weaker than I'd have liked, but to be honest I didn't really care about why they were doing what they were doing, as long as the characters were doing interesting things. I do feel that the atmosphere was utilised quite well, though - the first book is all cold, harsh winter, whereas with this last installment you do get the sense that the land is beginning to thaw, and the snow beginning to melt. Although apparently that's not the case at all back in their homeland. The magic system was totally badass, though. I love how prominent the violence was. Like, sure, these are some hardcore mages we're dealing with, but they pay a steep cost. It's pain, blood, and sacrifice, and it just added this element of rawness that made it so much more interesting to me. It was also interesting how they all kinda had their own signature to their magic. Very cool. Finally, here's some spoiler thoughts: (view spoiler)[ -I'd forgotten that the clans are all for polygamy, so I was trying to work out how Issey would go about choosing Sierra over Delphine, when Delphi was carrying his child. But they can all just marry each other! What an easy solution to messy love-triangles! -I really liked the relationship between Rasten and Cam - Cam is such a typical golden boy, who is all about honour and protecting the people, so of course he has this black and white view that Rasten is bad and so must die. But as he gets to know him, he's able to learn that maybe Rasten is not so bad, after all. -Speaking of Rasten and relationships, his love for dogs completely stole my heart. It made me so happy. I love that Issey's strategy to keep Rasten from killing himself is to give him puppies. So beautiful. -Issey is actually really thoughtful and considerate, considering the hell he's been through. - ... but on that note, wasn't it mysterious the way he 'woke up' with extra power? Did we ever get an explanation for who was behind it? -I wanna know who's baby Sierra is carrying! I mean, that girl got a lot of action. Personally, I'm hoping it's Rasten's, and their kid is the reason for a spin-off series. I'd 100% read it. (hide spoiler)] To conclude, I love these characters, and they were way more interesting to me than the story. The series is probably not particularly epic, or deep, or even logical, but I just had such a fun time with these characters. So if you are like me and enjoy the process of falling in love with characters (especially bad boys) then I'd highly recommend you give this series a try.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Tsana Dolichva

    North Star Guide Me Home by Jo Spurrier is the final instalment in the Children of the Black Sun trilogy. I have also reviewed the first two books, Winter Be My Shield and Black Sun Light My Way, both of which I loved, especially the first book. This review contains spoilers for those earlier books but any spoilers for this one are under a spoiler tag. My favourite storyline in this book was Isidro's. The story starts with him pretty out of it after the events of book two. He's lost a lot of bloo North Star Guide Me Home by Jo Spurrier is the final instalment in the Children of the Black Sun trilogy. I have also reviewed the first two books, Winter Be My Shield and Black Sun Light My Way, both of which I loved, especially the first book. This review contains spoilers for those earlier books but any spoilers for this one are under a spoiler tag. My favourite storyline in this book was Isidro's. The story starts with him pretty out of it after the events of book two. He's lost a lot of blood and his crushed arm is not getting better. Saving his life results in the loss of the troubling arm (which has been an ongoing problem for him since the first book) and also the loss of a lot of blood. What I really liked in this book is that instead of falling into the much-overused trope of the characters suddenly inventing blood transfusions (think about how often that happens, also tracheotomies get invented a lot), Spurrier takes the more sensible path of having Rasten be familiar with with the side-effects of extreme blood loss and letting the characters deal with it from there. The side-effects included fatigue and, more crucially, Isidro's wits being addled. (That isn't a spoiler, it happens very early on.) Watching him deal with this once he regains consciousness was fascinating, scary and sad, especially when he's sufficiently self-aware to realise that there's something wrong with him. Obviously it was hard for him, but it was also hard for the people around him to deal with. Delphine's reaction, in particular, was heartbreaking, and interestingly at odds with what Isidro was feeling as he got better. On a slightly different Isidro note, after spending two books putting up with a dysfunctional arm that caused him a lot of pain, he now has to adjust to a missing arm. On the one hand, once it heals it doesn't hurt, but on the other, things like picking up a baby become a bigger deal than for two-armed people. Isidro, Sierra and Rasten all have emotional wounds as well as physical ones — or more so than physical ones, a lot of the time — that have to heal before they can move on with their lives. Isidro has difficulty sliding back into family life once he's physically strong enough. As well as overcoming the physical ordeals he's been through, he also found himself with "tainted" power, because of a blood magic ritual Kell forced him to be part of. Because blood magic is inherently pretty evil, Isidro has to grapple with the feeling of having been made into something evil (from his point of view) and it's an interesting struggle. It's not hard to see the parallels with real world stigma. Sierra's emotional journey, by contrast, is more about learning that it's OK to be safe in one place and that she is loved and wanted, not just needed. And forgiven, when she didn't necessarily expect to be. Rasten, of course, is the most broken character. He spent a decade as Kell's servant, suffering abuse and doling it out on command. Sierra is the first person, since his family was murdered when he was ten, to care about him and he has difficulty coming to terms with that idea. His coping strategies mean that he isn't present for the whole story, but they are entirely plausible. I know a lot of people who have been reading this series have enjoyed Rasten's character development most, and I don't think those people will be disappointed. I wasn't (although I still liked Isidro's story more). The last thing I want to say about Rasten is a spoiler for the very end and it is under a spoiler tag. Hover or highlight to read. (view spoiler)[ What I liked best about Rasten's story is the way Spurrier subverted the Noble Sacrifice trope. It's so often easy to kill off the redeemed bad guy to avoid dealing with the ongoing fallout of their earlier actions. But it gets old. And I'm not sure that it's a healthy trope. Rasten wanted to die so much, but him living was a more interesting outcome, not only for him but also for Cam, Mira and the others, who have to deal with his presence. Isidro and Sierra moved on from hating him relatively early, having some idea of what he'd gone through to become who he was. But for the others and for Rasten himself, it's a much longer journey to acceptance. (hide spoiler)] The middle book of the series, Black Sun Light My Way, was definitely the darkest of the lot. This one was almost gentle in comparison. If you were hesitating over reading the conclusion because of the darker aspects in the second book, don't. It's not that nothing violet happens, but it's more action-movie violence (battles, exploding heads, generally quick deaths) rather than degrading torture. (I had actually managed to block out the details of the most horrific scene in Black Sun... until the specifics were mentioned. For most of this story, you don't have to relive the characters' past horrors, just remember that they had happened.) On a final note, this series has very good titles. They are both metaphoric (there's no actual North Star in the story) and accurately descriptive (they do go home). They describe the main thrust of the story (or, at least, Sierra's story if not everyone's) well enough that I think can distinguish which arcs go in which books reasonably well. Clever. If you've read and enjoyed the earlier books in the Children of the Black Sun trilogy, you absolutely have to read North Star Guide Me Home. If you haven't read the series, but got this far in my review anyway, then I can't recommend it enough. All fans of BFF (/epic/high/grimdark fantasy) should give it a go. I look forward to seeing what Spurrier writes next. 5 / 5 stars You can read more of my reviews on my blog.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Courtlytea

    I held the first two books in this series in high regard. I have to admit the final book fell markedly from the standard of its predecessors and I was pretty dissatisfied with it after being so invested in the story and characters. Between fight scenes, the plot dragged through inner monologues that reprocess the characters' same woes ad nauseum, and repetitive arguments between characters that never progress toward any resolution. (view spoiler)[Isidro's desertion by Sierra. Delphine's rejection I held the first two books in this series in high regard. I have to admit the final book fell markedly from the standard of its predecessors and I was pretty dissatisfied with it after being so invested in the story and characters. Between fight scenes, the plot dragged through inner monologues that reprocess the characters' same woes ad nauseum, and repetitive arguments between characters that never progress toward any resolution. (view spoiler)[Isidro's desertion by Sierra. Delphine's rejection by Isidro. Delphine sitting around 'being pregnant' (my pet peeve in the genre). Cam and Isidro's debates about Rasten's morality. Cam's hypocritical comfort of Isidro brooding over his initiation to the Blood Path. (hide spoiler)] It got so tedious I started skimming paragraphs and skipping pages. Meanwhile, we are only given glimpses of the most fascinating character's development from brainwashed villain to Byronic hero. The relationship dynamics began to baffle me. Virtually no reasons are given for characters' relationship choices as they change capriciously from chapter to chapter, and the words the characters speak to each other count for nothing. (view spoiler)[Isidro both loses interest in Sierra and completely blanks Delphine, who is carrying his child, even after he recovers from his blood loss. In book 2 it was made clear that Sierra was only exploiting Rasten's love for her to kill Kell and return to Isidro, but here the story dismantles Sierra and Isidro's commitment, while depicting Rasten and Sierra's twisted bond as evolving into more. Rasten is established as the only one who understands Sierra and who can withstand her power during intimacy, and he embarks upon a path of redemption that sees him reform into an attractively sympathetic antihero worthy of her love. Despite all this Sierra ceases her passionate intimacy with him with cold finality. Combined with a toning down of the use of Blood Path rituals, the effect was a neutering of the searing passions and blood-pumping violence that made books 1 and 2 riveting. Next, Cam proposes to Sierra to marry into a polygamous family. He claims that he and his partner Mira were discussing it in the Spire – strange considering Sierra's last interaction with them there resulted in her inadvertently draining their life force, risking their lives and causing them great distress. Isidro's feelings for Sierra had soured at that point so it was also hard to see how a family consisting of Cam, Mira, Sierra, Isidro and Delphine would work if only the first three desire each other. (hide spoiler)] My frustration built as Sierra seemingly forms a harem of thralls – men she's slept with a handful of times and then discarded from her furs, who remain devoted to her and ready to drop anything to sacrifice themselves for her safety long after she's withdrawn intimacy from them. She plays them shamelessly, disinterested in clarifying her boundaries with any of them. (view spoiler)[When Rasten is suicidal Sierra cups his face begging him to stay for her, telling him she needs him because he is the only one who truly understands her, and that Isidro is out of the picture and barely talking to her. Two chapters later Sierra and Isidro confess their enduring love for one another, giving Rasten the flick again. (hide spoiler)] It really made a mockery of the male characters' intelligence and devalued the emotional intimacy Sierra shares with them. As it grew in complexity the magic system lost internal consistency. I felt like every time I began to understand a new rule, it was later contradicted with no explanation. (view spoiler)[Sierra's talent has become so greedy it depletes enchantments of power, and drains bedpartners (and couples making love in her vicinity) of life force; but in this book Sierra starts sleeping with Cam and later Isidro again with no issue. Apparently screwing Rasten a lot 'taught' her control over her power but the mechanism for this is a mystery. Why was it remotely necessary for her to grudgingly resort to sleeping with Rasten to raise power for him to use in the final act, when he can siphon her power regardless of who she generates it with? It was just creepy. (hide spoiler)] Gutted as one of Rasten's sacrifices.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Rochelle

    I really liked the first two books but sadly I just did not feel the connection with this book, and the ending just bloody bothered me! Maybe I am being a prude or whatever but the idea of loving everyone and being with everyone in your 'family' and having god only knows who's child just did not work for me.... Anywhoo that is my main problem with the end to the trilogy. Oh also i found I did not like Rasten turning into a sook! Other than that the writing was great and I wonder what Jo Spurrier I really liked the first two books but sadly I just did not feel the connection with this book, and the ending just bloody bothered me! Maybe I am being a prude or whatever but the idea of loving everyone and being with everyone in your 'family' and having god only knows who's child just did not work for me.... Anywhoo that is my main problem with the end to the trilogy. Oh also i found I did not like Rasten turning into a sook! Other than that the writing was great and I wonder what Jo Spurrier will write next?

  5. 5 out of 5

    Aneta

    This book had the audacity to have 'Some things are beyond mending' as the tagline, and then spend nearly 500 pages proving that sentence wrong. Longer review to come, maybe? But tl;dr it was brilliant and I loved it so, so much. It cemented the series as one of my all-time favourites. After the darkness of the first two books, this one was much more hopeful and focused on healing, forgiveness, and trying to build a future. It was still dark, of course, as progress isn't linear and recovery is a This book had the audacity to have 'Some things are beyond mending' as the tagline, and then spend nearly 500 pages proving that sentence wrong. Longer review to come, maybe? But tl;dr it was brilliant and I loved it so, so much. It cemented the series as one of my all-time favourites. After the darkness of the first two books, this one was much more hopeful and focused on healing, forgiveness, and trying to build a future. It was still dark, of course, as progress isn't linear and recovery is a messy process, but Jo Spurrier didn't extinguish the light at the end of her characters' tunnel. The ending, which was just beautiful (I did cry), included puppies.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Nicole Luiken

    Final book in a trilogy. I quite enjoyed this series. While the first half of the book had a bit of a compressed feel, the last hundred and fifty pages were awesome. The kind of climax I like with lots of characters in jeopardy and twists and turns. The characters are also nicely complex, affected by the trauma of the previous books, yet still striving for salvation.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Alyssa Grace

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This isn't a coherent review, just me jotting down my major impressions of the series, basically venting my thoughts because it's criminally underrated and there's nobody to discuss it with. I binged Children of the Black Sun in a few days. This was an incredible series, I realise now, for basically one reason in the form of my new favourite villain so evil he's cartoonish-turned-actual sympathetic antihero that I shed tears for repeatedly. Other characters aside from Delphine sort of became less This isn't a coherent review, just me jotting down my major impressions of the series, basically venting my thoughts because it's criminally underrated and there's nobody to discuss it with. I binged Children of the Black Sun in a few days. This was an incredible series, I realise now, for basically one reason in the form of my new favourite villain so evil he's cartoonish-turned-actual sympathetic antihero that I shed tears for repeatedly. Other characters aside from Delphine sort of became less interesting as the series went on. I was so afraid for Rasten in this book. Holy shit. It seemed that someone of the main cast had to die at the end, and Rasten was the expendable one by far, especially when Redemption Equals Death. I promised myself I'd stop reading when Rasten died. On my commute home today I realised that interestingly, out of all the main cast, Sierra has no concrete skills. Isidro knows politics and tactics, Cam knows leadership and battle, Mira knows diplomacy, Delphine knows science and theory of magic, Rasten knows magic, enhanced interrogation (lol) and is shockingly one of Ricalan's best surgeons. Sierra has nothing but empathy, a little bit of cunning (she did manage to kill Osebian, a truly vile character, and fool Kell for a short while) and a whole lot of raw, unrefined power that she never truly learns to master the way a typical fantasy heroine would. I'm not sure how I feel about this. On the one hand, she'd be a nobody without her magic, essentially useless. On the other hand, no one could ever accuse her of being a Mary Sue. She's not the saviour. She's an ordinary girl - genuinely ordinary, not the 'normal' of a YA heroine - dragged into a terrible mess, who gets through it with optimism and a certain degree of kindness, worn down somewhat by the last book. But it's fascinating in its own right. Where is Rasten going to go in the end??? Is Sierra still fucking him? Her conversation with Mira implied so. I feel unbelievably cheated that we didn't get a final scene between the two of them. It's baffling. Yes, have the send off with Isidro, but Rasten's link to the world has always been Sierra. She's his fucking lifeline, and they don't talk in the epilogue? There's no closure. I feel like the epilogue would have gone down much better had it been set in the distant future, with one or multiple of the characters looking back to the past. There's really not enough emotional or even plot closure. Sure, they've won the capital for now, but it feels like Akharians are going to be back and bashing down the door at any moment. Now I'm in a book hangover, and it's all because of this series, which by the way has the most beautiful, poetic titles ever, and covers that set the atmosphere damn well. Save me.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Shahrizai

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I would say the author discovered polygamy between writing books 2 and 3 and went all in like a teenage girl discovering her first subculture, but she threw in a few throwaway sentences about it in the earlier books. Still, it seems like Spurrier decided she had no idea how to solve the love tetrahedrons she created and just said FUCK IT, EVERYONE'S NON-MONOGAMOUS, EVEN THE ONE FROM A HEAVILY MONOGAMOUS CULTURE. Sierra and Rasten mentioned growing up with multiple adults, but it was framed as a s I would say the author discovered polygamy between writing books 2 and 3 and went all in like a teenage girl discovering her first subculture, but she threw in a few throwaway sentences about it in the earlier books. Still, it seems like Spurrier decided she had no idea how to solve the love tetrahedrons she created and just said FUCK IT, EVERYONE'S NON-MONOGAMOUS, EVEN THE ONE FROM A HEAVILY MONOGAMOUS CULTURE. Sierra and Rasten mentioned growing up with multiple adults, but it was framed as a survival mechanism and not a matter of love. Isidro, Cam, and Mira were all children of leaders who lived in populated areas and had resources. And don't even get me started on Delphine. Great choices she has: if she wants her daughter to know her father, she either has to agree to polygamy or watch the man she loves build a family with another woman. Spurrier did her dirty, no one in the cast gave a shit about her predicament. But don't worry, these are the good guys, so Cam will respect her decision not to sleep with him!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Erin-Claire

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This review is informed by having finished all the series, but I'll just repeat the review in each one. Overall I'm glad to have read to the end of the third book, I thought the story was worthwhile and well done, the character development definitely improved over the series, and the magic system was pretty original (I would really like to read a series set later in time that explored the magic a lot more). Warning for spoilers ahead. Characters: Sierra – did we ever really get to know her? Motivat This review is informed by having finished all the series, but I'll just repeat the review in each one. Overall I'm glad to have read to the end of the third book, I thought the story was worthwhile and well done, the character development definitely improved over the series, and the magic system was pretty original (I would really like to read a series set later in time that explored the magic a lot more). Warning for spoilers ahead. Characters: Sierra – did we ever really get to know her? Motivations were often a little unclear and seemed more to suit the plot than actually fit her character, and her character moved further and further from the limelight as the series continued. The character development was limited in a way because the reader never really got to know much about any of the characters. While avoiding info-dumping is important, I really wish I could have got a sense of each character’s back story fairly early in the book, because I was still trying to piece together exactly where everyone was from and how they fit together halfway through the third book. Having said that, Rasten's character arc was fantastic and the characterisation of his mental state mostly very believable. Magic system: Totally lacking in clarity! A bit like characters – there was an info dump on how magic worked somewhere in I think the third book. This should have been somewhere near the start of the first because it was never completely clear til then. The reader needs to understand the system so it’s not a distraction wondering if you understand it yet. Torture: Torture was a central theme of the book. Questionable whether it was perhaps too much, too often. Was it really believable? Especially, is it believable that anyone can put up with that much? The author does a fairly good job of showing the post-traumatic injury done to everyone by the torture, especially in the second and third books. But is it realistic? Slavery: I could just about cope with the torture scenes, but the whole depiction of slavery was a bit too much – made me want to throw the book against the room. I don't really enjoy slogging through those 'how much awful can we put the character through before they rise in triumph on the other side' type books (although the redeeming feature here I guess is the lack of rising in triumph...) I didn't really find the behaviour of the ‘slavers’ group that believable. It felt at times like the author had read the worst accounts of child abuse, torture and slavery and decided that in societies where these things happened, they must happen in their worst form, all the time, to everyone. Real people and societies are much more varied, their motivations and personal convictions clash. I didn’t feel this came through well in the first book in particular. Disability, acquired injury, trauma: The way the author deals with the mental and physical trauma and disability acquired through a traumatic incident seems good (although speaking from limited experience or research). At least she doesn’t have them get over it and get better, and especially not within an unrealistic timeframe. Because it’s such a trope of fantasy books, I kind of expected Sierra’s power would actually turn out to be a power to heal, so it was nice to be surprised here (even though her power was never really well explained). Relationships and romance: I liked the diversity of relationships, and especially a whole culture where monogamous relationships were not the norm (although it was never quite explained how the family system worked). The development of relationships between the characters, whether romantic or not, was one of the best bits of character development in the books and one of my favourite parts of the books.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    Wow, what a different reading experience between this book and the previous two. The first book took a few weeks to read, the second took me all summer, but this one, as soon as I started it I couldn't put it down and finished it in one day. I never finish epic fantasy in one day. I'm still trying to figure out why. My best guess was the first two books had very bleak outlooks, where barring a miraculous last minute save that would have felt so unrealistic it would have jarred me right out of th Wow, what a different reading experience between this book and the previous two. The first book took a few weeks to read, the second took me all summer, but this one, as soon as I started it I couldn't put it down and finished it in one day. I never finish epic fantasy in one day. I'm still trying to figure out why. My best guess was the first two books had very bleak outlooks, where barring a miraculous last minute save that would have felt so unrealistic it would have jarred me right out of the zone, I couldn't see how the ending wouldn't be awful for the majority of our characters. But instead, Spurrier has a unique ability to turn tragedy into opportunity, and by the this third book the main characters are finally getting ahead of things, leaving room for hope and hard-earned triumph. I appreciate that at least three separate characters, who have all been victims of prolonged torture, finally get a chance to process their traumas, and express their PTSD in realistic ways (instead of the more dramatic Hollywood style). Though this series has a decent-sized ensemble cast of main characters, I consider there to be a core three: Isidro, Sierra, and Cam. Major supporting characters who are only a slight step in importance behind tier 1 includes: Rasten, Mira, and Delphine. Isidro, Sierra, and Rasten are fully realized characters with a lot of depth and very well written. Delphine and many of the secondary characters are also well-written. But Cam and Mira feel very one dimensional, and considering their importance to the entire story-arch, this is disappointing. I think Cam is meant to be Captain America, but instead he's a generic lovable leader. Overall, I think the Black Sun trilogy is an excellent addition to the genre and I highly recommend it!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Tim Stead

    I enjoyed this book. It concludes what was a very readable trilogy and I am disappointed that there doesn't seem to be anything else out there by this author. Cam, Isidro, Sierra, Delphine and Rasten all find themselves back in Ricalan, but they are attacked and captured. The rest of the book is essentially the story of how they undo the harm of that attack, rescue prisoners and set things right again. Apparently these books are not published outside Australia (so says Wikipedia) which is a shame. I enjoyed this book. It concludes what was a very readable trilogy and I am disappointed that there doesn't seem to be anything else out there by this author. Cam, Isidro, Sierra, Delphine and Rasten all find themselves back in Ricalan, but they are attacked and captured. The rest of the book is essentially the story of how they undo the harm of that attack, rescue prisoners and set things right again. Apparently these books are not published outside Australia (so says Wikipedia) which is a shame.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Dennis

    I really enjoyed the book! I think it was the best one in the trilogy. Maybe because I am really buyest as Rasten always was my favorite character in the series. As in the books before. I struggled in the first book as the plot never really advanced as most of the places always seemed the same but this time there were really major swaps and new places to discover. I thoroughly enjoyed this last book and really liked the series. I can highly recommend it although, the end was a bit of a cliche.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kerry

    Loved the rich tapestry of this series and couldn’t put the books down. Whilst the brutality, horror and pain got my heart racing and anxiety spiking, the light, hope and love weaved throughout the story filled me with joy. I’d invested in the characters with the skill of the writer, and I feel bereft the series has ended.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Binny Bond

    This series was absolutely brilliant. I loved the first two books and devoured them quickly. Unfortunately, this book just fell a bit short for me. While it was still a great read, it just kinda felt a little like it was written for the hell of it. It definitely entertained though and is a must for fans of this series. It wraps everything up nicely and does justice to the characters you have come to love, or hate. Overall, a worthy addition even if it didn't quite live up to it's predecessors. This series was absolutely brilliant. I loved the first two books and devoured them quickly. Unfortunately, this book just fell a bit short for me. While it was still a great read, it just kinda felt a little like it was written for the hell of it. It definitely entertained though and is a must for fans of this series. It wraps everything up nicely and does justice to the characters you have come to love, or hate. Overall, a worthy addition even if it didn't quite live up to it's predecessors.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Bill Wittgow

    Another great addition to the Children of the Black Sun series I enjoy Jo's writing. She has a great way of creating believable relationships and sympathy for the villains in her stories. There is some room for improvement in her action sequences but that's a compromise I'm willing to make for the quality of the rest of her writing. Another great addition to the Children of the Black Sun series I enjoy Jo's writing. She has a great way of creating believable relationships and sympathy for the villains in her stories. There is some room for improvement in her action sequences but that's a compromise I'm willing to make for the quality of the rest of her writing.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Alex

    The trilogy had enjoyable varied male and female characters who developed through out the series. Trauma occurring in book one had consequences through out the series and was acknowledged as something that actually effected the characters and their relationships which was nice to observe. Well wrapped up ending of the main plot.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Margaret

    I thoroughly enjoyed this whole series, and how the characters developed and reacted. Four stars for this 3rd book because I felt that some of the threads were straightened out and tied off a bit too smoothly and easily. Looking forward to whatever she writes next.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Barbara Howe

    4.5 stars. It had some weak spots, but overall a satisfying conclusion to a terrific series. See here for a review of the whole trilogy. 4.5 stars. It had some weak spots, but overall a satisfying conclusion to a terrific series. See here for a review of the whole trilogy.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jenny

    All in all not really my cup of tea, finished the series so in some part I found it interesting or I was just being stubborn. The whole swapping partners was a bit ick and the torture throughout argh and with all that power and no one could heal Isidro's damn arm-mmm why did I keep reading? All in all not really my cup of tea, finished the series so in some part I found it interesting or I was just being stubborn. The whole swapping partners was a bit ick and the torture throughout argh and with all that power and no one could heal Isidro's damn arm-mmm why did I keep reading?

  20. 5 out of 5

    Susan Sweat

    Must have ! These books really takes you through so many emotions. All of them , Laughter to tears . You truly need to read them. If you read the first you will see, you will have read through to the end.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Christine Ku

    I'm glad of the ending. Overall, I think it's a solid work but can't say it's a series that really clicks with me. I do tend to read more epic and sword&sorcery fantasy whereas this is more grimdark with most of the main characters being broken. Not that if that's it. I'm glad of the ending. Overall, I think it's a solid work but can't say it's a series that really clicks with me. I do tend to read more epic and sword&sorcery fantasy whereas this is more grimdark with most of the main characters being broken. Not that if that's it.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Mark Webb

    This review forms part of my contribution to the Australian Women Writers 2014 Reading Challenge. All my 2014 AWWC reviews can be found here. North Star Guide Me Home by Jo Spurrier is the third book in the Children of the Black Sun trilogy. You can read my review of the first book, Winter Be My Shield, here and the second, Black Sun Light My Way, here. There are some spoilers for the first two books in this review, so if you haven't started on the trilogy yet, you might want to wait until you've This review forms part of my contribution to the Australian Women Writers 2014 Reading Challenge. All my 2014 AWWC reviews can be found here. North Star Guide Me Home by Jo Spurrier is the third book in the Children of the Black Sun trilogy. You can read my review of the first book, Winter Be My Shield, here and the second, Black Sun Light My Way, here. There are some spoilers for the first two books in this review, so if you haven't started on the trilogy yet, you might want to wait until you've read the first two books before reading this review. The Blood Mage Kell, who loomed so large in the first two books, is gone and the three mages (Isidro, Sierra and Rasten) have to come to terms with what their lives are without him in them. I mentioned in the review of the second book that I was surprised by the ending but didn't mention what that ending was for fear of spoilers. The death of Kell was that ending - I had assumed that at least one thread of the story would have focused on Kell right until the end of the trilogy. However, in retrospect, killing Kell in the second book made sense. It was clear that Sierra and Rasten wouldn't really be able move on without confronting Kell, and their stories (in particular Rasten's) faced limitations without moving through that issue. The story isn't all good cheer though - Spurrier still puts the characters through the ringer. Hands are chopped off, a lot of blood is spilled and most of the characters are given an emotional workout. However, there isn't as much graphic torture or degradation in this book. Indeed, while the atmosphere of the third book is just as hard and unforgiving as the first two, I found that the story more oriented towards recovery. As with the previous books, there was some interesting exploration of how people from different cultural backgrounds interact and form families. The politics of the world were also well realised and expanded in this third book. I normally don't comment on endings as I don't like to spoil the books I review too much (and indeed, please feel free to skip this paragraph if you're yet to read the book). (view spoiler)[The whole trilogy came together well and I didn't have any issues with the ending as such. However, I was expecting more major characters to be killed, and killed in a heart wrenching way. As it was, the ending seemed a little, well, nice considering the tone of the rest of the books. Still, given how much hell the characters went through, I should begrudge them a little happiness, should I? (hide spoiler)] Overall this is an excellent end to a trilogy. If you're interested, definitely go back and start with Winter Be My Shield though. North Star Guide Me Home isn't really a stand alone book, and you won't get anywhere as near as much impact without having seen the characters through their earlier trials. As in the last review, I should also mention that back in 2013, Sean Wright, leader of the intrepid Galactic Chat crew, interviewed Jo Spurrier for the podcast. That podcast can be found here. I also reviewed this book on my website.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Shaheen

    I always get sad when I finish a series, and I’ve loved Jo Spurrier’s Children of the Black Sun ever since I read the first book, Winter Be My Shield, so reading this book has been an emotional experience. Our beloved characters have come through a lot in the earlier books, but that’s not stopping Spurrier from really sticking it to them in North Star Guide Me Home. This is a heart-wrenching book. It’s full of passion and love, and copious amounts of heartbreak, some great sacrifices and a lot of I always get sad when I finish a series, and I’ve loved Jo Spurrier’s Children of the Black Sun ever since I read the first book, Winter Be My Shield, so reading this book has been an emotional experience. Our beloved characters have come through a lot in the earlier books, but that’s not stopping Spurrier from really sticking it to them in North Star Guide Me Home. This is a heart-wrenching book. It’s full of passion and love, and copious amounts of heartbreak, some great sacrifices and a lot of pain and blood. I feel the darkness in the story is perfectly balanced with hope and love, and that it’s written incredibly well. Sierra has changed a lot since we first met her. She’s been hardened by her experiences. She’s stronger, much more powerful, and finally understands the kinds of sacrifices that will be necessary for her to help Cam, Mira and Isidro take back Ricalan. The distance between her and Isidro seems insurmountable now: both are haunted by what they went through at the hands of Blood Mages Kell and Rasten. I’ve found Isidro’s personal story very compelling in the earlier books, but it was Rasten that moved me in North Star Guide Me Home. His journey broke my heart. His redemption and the horrible things he had to endure for those around him really got to me, especially because of how genuinely he wanted to help. North Star Guide Me Home shows us how a Ricalan marriage (usually two men and two women) works, with interesting results (for me anyway). It’s already been established that Cam and Mira love each other. Sierra and Isidro have a history. We get to see where Delphine would fit into the scenario in this book and explore the relationship Cam and Sierra would have in such a marriage. I found it interesting, although I still can’t fully wrap my head around the polygamy: I had a hard time understanding how everyone could be sexually attracted to everyone else, and found myself wondering if they draw up timetables for who shares a bed with whom and when. I don’t mean to trivialise the idea, I just personally had a bit of trouble understanding it all. But Spurrier does an amazing job of taking us through it and I think that she successfully shows readers how this kind of marriage would work. One of the most exciting aspects of the book is that the world expands and we get to experience a few different cultures. We meet the sea-faring people of Tomoa who offer their help and mages to Mira and Cam. They’re nice, and what they’re offering seems too good to be true, so everyone’s on high alert for a betrayal. I love the politics of it all, especially that Mira gets to have such a pivotal role in what is usually a male domain (although Cam did take over a bit). Jo Spurrier has introduced us to an amazing world and wonderful cast in this series, and I can’t recommend her books highly enough. If you’ve enjoyed Winter Be My Shield and Black Sun Light My Way, there’s no way you can miss North Star Guide Me Home. If you’re a bit sick of all your fantasy being the same basic story, then I urge you to pick up this series and give it a go. I don’t think it will disappoint. Spurrier is on my auto-buy list now, and I’m looking forward to whatever she writes next!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Anika Claire

    After the (view spoiler)[defeat of the evil Blood-Mage Kell (hide spoiler)] at the end of Black Sun Light My Way, Sierra, Rasten and Isidro are hiding from the Akharan army while Cam and Delphine are busily trying to find them. Once reunited, they hope to bring together a slave army to re-take their home country of Ricalan from the over-extended Akharans. Added to their other difficulties through this book is the fact that both Delphine and Mira are pregnant on the road, and infants add an extra After the (view spoiler)[defeat of the evil Blood-Mage Kell (hide spoiler)] at the end of Black Sun Light My Way, Sierra, Rasten and Isidro are hiding from the Akharan army while Cam and Delphine are busily trying to find them. Once reunited, they hope to bring together a slave army to re-take their home country of Ricalan from the over-extended Akharans. Added to their other difficulties through this book is the fact that both Delphine and Mira are pregnant on the road, and infants add an extra level of trouble to their quest to return to Ricalan. After the horrors of the previous books I was a little worried that nasty things may befall the new mums or their little ones, but thankfully all the scenes with children involved were very loving and didn’t rub my new-mother nerves the wrong way. In fact all the family scenes in this book were lovely, and I’m so glad the extended family were finally able to get together at the end, even with the slightly odd Ricalan marriage customs. Rasten spent a good deal of this book in deep depression contemplating suicide. With Sierra and Isidro also dealing with their demons this makes for a rather dark story, but there were moments of happiness that made the book much nicer to read. I’d say the main theme is that redemption is possible for someone who was forced to do horrible things under duress. Rasten genuinely wants to make amends for the horrible things he has done while Kell’s apprentice, but he believes himself broken and can’t see that anything can fix him. Isidro helps him to see that time and forgiveness are great healers. I wasn’t quite sure what to make of the alliance with the southern Tomoans. I suppose if this had been Game of Thrones, they would have betrayed Mira and killed everyone. As it turns out they were true to their word, and I felt slightly disappointed. What has ASOIAF done to me?! My only major problem with this book was that, while there were some battle scenes, they weren’t quite as magical as those in the earlier books. This book was more about the characters dealing with their guilt than with their magic, most of the time. That didn’t bother me too much, I just loved to read about Sierra kicking arse in the previous ones! This series has been difficult to read at times, with graphic violence, torture and abuse of all sorts, but the characters are so well-written and the magic system and different cultures so detailed that I really enjoyed it. I’d recommend it to fans of Robin Hobb, GRR Martin or Rowena Cory Daniells. I hope there’ll be more stories about this world and its people! This review was originally posted on Tea in the Treetops in June 2014.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Alice

    The final book in a trilogy often falls flat, but not so with this one! Every bit as good as the first two. I was a bit wary about it - after all, they'd defeated the big baddie in the last book, so what was left that could possibly take up a whole extra book? A lot, it turns out. Not just plot-wise (which was very good, enough action and intrigue to keep things interesting and not feeling like it was just tying up loose ends), but also in terms of the characters, who still had a lot of growth t The final book in a trilogy often falls flat, but not so with this one! Every bit as good as the first two. I was a bit wary about it - after all, they'd defeated the big baddie in the last book, so what was left that could possibly take up a whole extra book? A lot, it turns out. Not just plot-wise (which was very good, enough action and intrigue to keep things interesting and not feeling like it was just tying up loose ends), but also in terms of the characters, who still had a lot of growth to go through. That was especially good, since the effects of a traumatic situation don't end the moment you get out of the situation - something that is acknowledged and handled very well and realistically by Spurrier. The only thing that irritated me a bit was that at times that character growth was a bit too slow - e.g. Isidro's depressed monologues and Cam's refusal to see anything but evil in Rasten got a bit repetitive. But that was only a minor complaint. The writing, as usual, was spot on. All in all, an excellent end to an excellent trilogy. Also, I absolutely adore the titles of the three books - very poetic and intriguing (and why I picked them up in the first place!)

  26. 5 out of 5

    Pamela Atkinson

    I enjoyed this series very much. So much in fact I went looking for more from this author. I was invested in the characters from the very beginning and was sorry to say goodbye to them at the end. This is a series i will read again because there is so much to it.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Katharine (Ventureadlaxre)

    Katharine is a judge for the Aurealis Awards. This entry is the personal opinion of Katharine herself, and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of any judging panel, the judging coordinator or the Aurealis Awards management team. To be safe, I won't be recording my thoughts (if I choose to) here until after the AA are over. Katharine is a judge for the Aurealis Awards. This entry is the personal opinion of Katharine herself, and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of any judging panel, the judging coordinator or the Aurealis Awards management team. To be safe, I won't be recording my thoughts (if I choose to) here until after the AA are over.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Emong

    Rasten, Rasten, RASTEN! What else can I say. This entire book had my heart wrenched and aching for him, if it hadn't already in the last 2 books. (view spoiler)[ The ending left me satisfied, knowing everyone is safe and happy for now. Most importantly Rasten's somewhat come to terms with living again. (hide spoiler)] Rasten, Rasten, RASTEN! What else can I say. This entire book had my heart wrenched and aching for him, if it hadn't already in the last 2 books. (view spoiler)[ The ending left me satisfied, knowing everyone is safe and happy for now. Most importantly Rasten's somewhat come to terms with living again. (hide spoiler)]

  29. 4 out of 5

    Eerika

    This book was filled with almost too much despair to bear. Still they didn't give up on each other. I couldn't but the book down. It was action filled and story flowed effortlessly. Still this wasn't an easy read, because of all the agony. This is a very dark trilogy, but the characters are bright stars among the darkest night and there was always hope. This book was filled with almost too much despair to bear. Still they didn't give up on each other. I couldn't but the book down. It was action filled and story flowed effortlessly. Still this wasn't an easy read, because of all the agony. This is a very dark trilogy, but the characters are bright stars among the darkest night and there was always hope.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Judy

    Compelling trilogy! I'm couldn't stop until I'd read every word. Spurring has woven a fascinating and complex world and filled it with characters from wildly different cultures. I hope she treats us to many more stories that come from her fertile imagination; mined, refined and presented with skill and good writing. Compelling trilogy! I'm couldn't stop until I'd read every word. Spurring has woven a fascinating and complex world and filled it with characters from wildly different cultures. I hope she treats us to many more stories that come from her fertile imagination; mined, refined and presented with skill and good writing.

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