North Star Guide Me Home by Jo Spurrier – review

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

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 Shieldhere 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). 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?

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 Goodreads. View all my reviews.

Creative Commons License

This work by Mark Webb is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Australia License.

Author: mark

A writer of speculative fiction and all round good egg. Well, mostly good. OK, sometimes good.

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