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A War of Swallowed Stars

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A prince without his kingdom. A kingdom without its princess. The destruction of the stars themselves. War is destroying the galaxy. Esmae has vanished without a trace. A terrifying, ravenous beast is devouring the stars one by one. Titania is offered a gift that may well be a curse. Alexi, the exiled prince, is asked to pay a heavy price for his mistakes. And far, far away, A prince without his kingdom. A kingdom without its princess. The destruction of the stars themselves. War is destroying the galaxy. Esmae has vanished without a trace. A terrifying, ravenous beast is devouring the stars one by one. Titania is offered a gift that may well be a curse. Alexi, the exiled prince, is asked to pay a heavy price for his mistakes. And far, far away, on a dark, mysterious planet, a sleeping god stirs awake. War or family. Pride or peace. As the end of the world draws ever closer, Esmae and Alexi must decide how far they’ll go to win—and who they’ll sacrifice along the way.


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A prince without his kingdom. A kingdom without its princess. The destruction of the stars themselves. War is destroying the galaxy. Esmae has vanished without a trace. A terrifying, ravenous beast is devouring the stars one by one. Titania is offered a gift that may well be a curse. Alexi, the exiled prince, is asked to pay a heavy price for his mistakes. And far, far away, A prince without his kingdom. A kingdom without its princess. The destruction of the stars themselves. War is destroying the galaxy. Esmae has vanished without a trace. A terrifying, ravenous beast is devouring the stars one by one. Titania is offered a gift that may well be a curse. Alexi, the exiled prince, is asked to pay a heavy price for his mistakes. And far, far away, on a dark, mysterious planet, a sleeping god stirs awake. War or family. Pride or peace. As the end of the world draws ever closer, Esmae and Alexi must decide how far they’ll go to win—and who they’ll sacrifice along the way.

30 review for A War of Swallowed Stars

  1. 5 out of 5

    Fanna

    April 17, 2021: I HAVE AN E-ARC. AHH. can't wait for everyone to appreciate this book for the way it's going to conclude a trilogy of chaos in the galaxy, political intrigue, complex family dynamics — a story of gods and stars, of gifts and curses, of love and power. November 30, 2019: The title is AMAZING 😍 Also, one of my most anticipated finales will get a battle scene with a space dragon?!? I can't be any more excited than I already am ✨ And, luckily, my name is gonna be there in the story April 17, 2021: I HAVE AN E-ARC. AHH. can't wait for everyone to appreciate this book for the way it's going to conclude a trilogy of chaos in the galaxy, political intrigue, complex family dynamics — a story of gods and stars, of gifts and curses, of love and power. November 30, 2019: The title is AMAZING 😍 Also, one of my most anticipated finales will get a battle scene with a space dragon?!? I can't be any more excited than I already am ✨ And, luckily, my name is gonna be there in the story and I'm lowkey hoping the dragon's name is Fanna 😭😭😭

  2. 4 out of 5

    charlotte,

    Actual rating 4.5 Rep: Indian-coded cast, sapphic mc & li Galley provided by publisher If there’s anyone who’s going to smash a final book in a trilogy out of the part, you know it’s going to be Sangu Mandanna. A War of Swallowed Stars is a book I’ve been anticipating for a long time, and it more than lived up to my expectations. The story picks up straight after the end to book two which, for obvious reasons, I will not be summarising, but let me just say the first chapter is one that drags you str Actual rating 4.5 Rep: Indian-coded cast, sapphic mc & li Galley provided by publisher If there’s anyone who’s going to smash a final book in a trilogy out of the part, you know it’s going to be Sangu Mandanna. A War of Swallowed Stars is a book I’ve been anticipating for a long time, and it more than lived up to my expectations. The story picks up straight after the end to book two which, for obvious reasons, I will not be summarising, but let me just say the first chapter is one that drags you straight in. You read on because you have to find out what happens to Esmae (and it lets you stew on it for a good while). It’s a high stakes and fast paced book. Perhaps what I enjoyed most about this book was that, because Esmae is where she is for the most part, you get to see a lot more POVs. Which was good since, really, there’s not a lot that happens in the book. I don’t mean that in a bad way—it makes sense since this is the final book of the trilogy and it was set up like that. But I did enjoy seeing it from more points of view than I had before. (Although I sort of wish we’d had Alexi’s POV, if only because I needed to sympathise with him just a bit more.) In general, this is a book that centres on family (duh, given what it’s a retelling of), and Sangu Mandanna is so good at making you feel that, here as she has been for the entire series so far. You feel Esmae’s betrayal, and the grief at people’s deaths, and everything in between. It’s that feeling that makes the series so compelling to me. So, basically, if you haven’t picked this series up before now, why on earth not? Go on, go do it, I can guarantee you won’t regret it.

  3. 5 out of 5

    michelle (magical reads)

    4.5 stars read on my blog rep: Indian-inspired world and characters, wlw side characters; British Indian author **I received an ARC from the publisher through Edelweiss. These are my honest opinions, and in no way was I compensated for this review.** This is a cycle without an end. It doesn’t matter what it costs us. Somehow, sooner or later, we end up back here, full of fury and sorrow. I’ve been anxiously yet desperately awaiting this book since I finished the second book two years ago. I l 4.5 stars read on my blog rep: Indian-inspired world and characters, wlw side characters; British Indian author **I received an ARC from the publisher through Edelweiss. These are my honest opinions, and in no way was I compensated for this review.** This is a cycle without an end. It doesn’t matter what it costs us. Somehow, sooner or later, we end up back here, full of fury and sorrow. I’ve been anxiously yet desperately awaiting this book since I finished the second book two years ago. I love this world and don’t want to see it end, but I also had to know what became of some of my favorite characters! As soon as I could get my hands on an eARC, I immediately dropped everything to read it. Full of revenge and sorrow and love, A War of Swallowed Stars brings an epic ending to this gorgeous trilogy. This review contains spoilers for books one and two. Picking up right where we left off, this book opens with Esmae escaping into the forest after she ordered Titania to fire on Arcadia. Flash forward to a month later, Titania, Max, Radha, and Sibylla are desperately searching for her, unwilling to believe she’s truly gone. They’re facing enemies from all sides: Sorsha is on the loose, growing closer and closer while devouring stars and planets along the way, and Alexi bides his time, waiting to strike to regain his kingdom one way or another. Meanwhile, a god on a faraway planet awakens, for good or for bad. As in the first two books, I adored the characters in this book. Even though they’re outnumbered and constantly on edge, they never back down. Every scene with Esmae, Max, Titania, Radha, and Sibylla (and with any combination of them) shows how much they truly and deeply care for each other. It was fascinating to see their growth and their love for each other over time, and I really loved where they ended up. We’re all with you to the end, Esmae. Whatever that end may be, we will be there, with you. You know that, don’t you? Esmae’s character arc, in particular, is one of my favorite aspects of this series. In A House of Rage and Sorrow, she’s clearly spiraling in grief, but in this book, she’s starting to realize that rage and sorrow are not enough to subsist on; eventually, they run out, and she must decide where she will be when they do. This war has taken so much from her and will only continue to do so unless she can dream of a better world, one that she can convince Alex of too. We get Titania’s point-of-view again, which I really enjoyed. Despite being a (sentient) warship, she undergoes such a lovely character arc, and I really liked following her. Her chapters offer a perspective of the gods that we wouldn’t otherwise get to see. Radha also has her own chapters; I enjoyed reading from her perspective. It is also worth noting how Mandanna captures each character’s narrative so distinctly. Titania is observant and omniscient, as is her character while Esmae’s point-of-view is more introspective and succinct. Likewise, Radha narrates with an open mind that allows us to see more of her characterization. Mandanna really pulls no punches in this book. It’s a little over 200 pages, which is extraordinarily short for a novel in a SFF series, but she packs so much into this time. No moment is wasted; every scene carries the story along without rushing anything. I relished every second of it and already can’t wait to read this book again with the first two books! I’d say I read this book in one sitting, but I had to keep putting it down because there would be a seemingly innocuous line that absolutely gutted me. I don’t want to spoil anything in this book, so I can’t really talk much more about the plot. I will say that all the character arcs end so well. Esmae and Alexi will do whatever it takes to beat each other, but there’s something more underlying their relationship, something that the other characters attempt to get them to see. The gods also play such an interesting part despite needing to stay neutral. Like I said in my review of A House of Rage and Sorrow, “amidst this war is so much love, love that’s overshadowed by duty and honor, by rage and sorrow” and in A War of Swallowed Stars, we get to see what will win: love or the complex emotions of everyone involved in this war. Bold and bright, A War of Swallowed Stars was a stunning, gripping finale to this series. I adored the characters and their arcs, and the plot had my eyes glued to the page. I found it a beautiful ending to one of my favorite series; if you haven’t picked up the Celestial trilogy yet, I genuinely can’t recommend these books enough. original review: this was so beautiful and i'm in tears right now

  4. 4 out of 5

    Anjali (bookstersisters)

    A War of swallowed stars is the third and final instalment of the celestial trilogy by Sangu Mandanna. I had very high expectations after the devastatingly spectacular book 2, House of Rage and Sorrows and I was not disappointed in the least. This finale picks up right after the epic cliffhanger in book 2. Esmae is missing, the universe is being consumed one star at a time by a dragon and Titania is offered a deal that just might change the entire game. The brilliant brilliant character developme A War of swallowed stars is the third and final instalment of the celestial trilogy by Sangu Mandanna. I had very high expectations after the devastatingly spectacular book 2, House of Rage and Sorrows and I was not disappointed in the least. This finale picks up right after the epic cliffhanger in book 2. Esmae is missing, the universe is being consumed one star at a time by a dragon and Titania is offered a deal that just might change the entire game. The brilliant brilliant character developments we saw in book 2 continues in book 3 as well and these already precious characters become even more precious and the thought of anything bad happening to them puts you on the warpath. The truly heartbreaking part is that you end up rooting for both sides. Not only Esmae but Alexi too manages to carve a spot inside your heart and the thought of either of them falling prey to this endless power game just rips you apart. Titania is another character who just surprises you at every single turn. I cried for her, I laughed with her, I was delighted for her, I was afraid for her , I was terrified for her at one point and devastated at some of the things she’s made to do, basically I was put through the entire gamut of human emotions by this one single character. And it’s not just these three characters, every single character in this book just makes you invest so much in them that every new development in the plot pulls you in a dozen different directions. The plot itself was handled in the bestest way possible with plenty of action and a conclusion that could not have been any more perfect. Yes, it’s emotionally devastating and will leave you in tears but it was also deeply satisfying. This entire trilogy has been such a huge surprise. I never expected to fall so deeply in love with this but I did and I cannot recommend this enough. One of the best Ya space operas I have read!!!! Each book in the book just gets better and better and better, so go grab yourselves these amazing amazing books and come cry with me!!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Shelley

    *Source* Publisher *Genre* Young Adult / Science Fiction *Rating* 3.5 *Thoughts* A War of Swallowed Stars is the third and final installment in author Sangu Mandanna's Celestial Trilogy. This book picks up immediately where A House of Rage and Sorrow finished then jumps 36 days where Titania picks up the story from Esmae. This story focuses on several key characters. Esmae Rey, Titania, and Radha. The series is inspired by the Hindu epic The Mahabharata and places it in space. Mandanna's trilogy tak *Source* Publisher *Genre* Young Adult / Science Fiction *Rating* 3.5 *Thoughts* A War of Swallowed Stars is the third and final installment in author Sangu Mandanna's Celestial Trilogy. This book picks up immediately where A House of Rage and Sorrow finished then jumps 36 days where Titania picks up the story from Esmae. This story focuses on several key characters. Esmae Rey, Titania, and Radha. The series is inspired by the Hindu epic The Mahabharata and places it in space. Mandanna's trilogy takes the tropes of fate, love, and bargaining with the gods and shoots them to the stars. Fans of mythology and retellings will eat this up. *Full Review @ Gizmos Reviews* https://gizmosreviews.blogspot.com/20...

  6. 5 out of 5

    Shealea

    This book swallowed my heart and spat it out. How rude. 🌻 Pre-order links: Amazon | Book Depository 🌻 My links: Blog | Instagram | Twitter This book swallowed my heart and spat it out. How rude. 🌻 Pre-order links: Amazon | Book Depository 🌻 My links: Blog | Instagram | Twitter

  7. 5 out of 5

    ♠ TABI⁷₈⁷ ♠

    THERE'S A THIRD BOOK????? hallelujah THERE'S A THIRD BOOK????? hallelujah

  8. 4 out of 5

    diana

    Review originally posted on My Bookish Escapades. "The remaking of shattered things doesn’t happen overnight." I knew this was going to be a quick read. But I kept putting it off knowing that I'm not ready to say goodbye to this world and its characters just yet. And eventhough it's sad and painful to see this trilogy come to an end, it's definitely one that I will not soon forget. A War of Swallowed Stars brings everything to the table. Sangu Mandanna didn't pull any punches. This was brutal, ex Review originally posted on My Bookish Escapades. "The remaking of shattered things doesn’t happen overnight." I knew this was going to be a quick read. But I kept putting it off knowing that I'm not ready to say goodbye to this world and its characters just yet. And eventhough it's sad and painful to see this trilogy come to an end, it's definitely one that I will not soon forget. A War of Swallowed Stars brings everything to the table. Sangu Mandanna didn't pull any punches. This was brutal, exciting, action-packed, devastating, unforgiving, heartbreaking and will keep you turning the pages 'til 3 am. I don't want to say too much. But just know that I cried, I laughed, I swooned. I had a lot of WTF moments. And in the end? I was an emotional wreck. I have SO MUCH LOVE for this world and its complex, flawed characters. I just want to wrap Esmae in a cocoon of safety and happiness. Max, I will forever love. Titania is still my favorite. Sybilla, I will adore endlessly. Amba I will always remember as that grouchy aunt who loves you secretly. I will miss all of them so much! I can't imagine a more perfect end to the trilogy. Sangu Mandanna's writing is addictive, exciting, brilliant and magical. I look forward to what she has in store for us next! PS. I need everyone to please read this trilogy and suffer with me. “You found me,” I whisper. His voice shudders out of him. “You found me first.” “It reminded me of you,” Radha explains. “You know? Because it’s pretty, prickly, and hard to kill.” "Maybe it’s not about what we deserve,” he replies. “Maybe it’s about what we need. And at the end, I think we’ll need a different girl. One made up of both rage and hope. A girl who won’t swallow the stars but will light them up instead.” "I want to be messy, and finite, and marvelously, miraculously human." I received an ARC via Edelweiss+ to read and review. Quoted excerpt/s may change in the final print.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kal ★ Reader Voracious

    Time to be emotionally devastated! EDIT: I finished and am bereft. Beautiful conclusion to a truly stunning trilogy, but Sangu Mandanna gotta pay for my therapy bills. You can read my (kinda coherent) full review on Reader Voracious here . - Intensely satisfying end to an epic space opera. - Radha and the succulent! - Titania's character development! - Made me cry dozens of times. - I love these characters so much, send help. - Capricious gods meddling. Boons and tricks and love and sacrifice. - Cycl Time to be emotionally devastated! EDIT: I finished and am bereft. Beautiful conclusion to a truly stunning trilogy, but Sangu Mandanna gotta pay for my therapy bills. You can read my (kinda coherent) full review on Reader Voracious here . - Intensely satisfying end to an epic space opera. - Radha and the succulent! - Titania's character development! - Made me cry dozens of times. - I love these characters so much, send help. - Capricious gods meddling. Boons and tricks and love and sacrifice. - Cycles of violence. - Seriously, I cried so much. - At least 100 of my 397 annotations are "NO!" A Spark of White Fire is grossly underrated with less than 1,000 ratings on Goodreads at the time of my writing this review for the trilogy's conclusion. The series is inspired by the Hindu epic The Mahabharata and places it in space, but the trilogy is a far cry from hard science fiction. With a fast-paced and character-driven narrative, the Celestial Trilogy will suck you in, make you love the characters, bring pain upon you... and you'll beg for more. The book community has been sleeping on one of the best trilogies I've ever read in my life: now the perfect time for you to see what the fuss is about. eARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss for my honest review. This has not affected my opinion nor the contents of my review. Quotations are from an unfinished proof and subject to change upon final publication. ---- THAT COVER! THAT TITLE! Be still my bleeding heart! Sangu shared the cover art and cover copy (synopsis) on twitter this evening and i've transcended to another plane of existence. Blog | Twitter | Pinterest

  10. 4 out of 5

    USOM

    I need this book SO MUCH! I'm going to frantically just wait until release day. I need this book SO MUCH! I'm going to frantically just wait until release day.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Krisha||Bookathon

    This book made me weep and hurt my heart and I am never getting over it. Full review soon.

  12. 5 out of 5

    USOM

    (Disclaimer: I received this book from Edelweiss. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.) I have been so excited for this finale book for so long. The Celestial Trilogy is an amazing series that examines family, ethics, and war. A War of Swallowed Stars delivers on the foundations Mandanna has been building from the beginning. The cuts and bruises only family knows how to dispense. All the ways that our own thirst for vengeance and power play out in the stars. Intelligent (Disclaimer: I received this book from Edelweiss. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.) I have been so excited for this finale book for so long. The Celestial Trilogy is an amazing series that examines family, ethics, and war. A War of Swallowed Stars delivers on the foundations Mandanna has been building from the beginning. The cuts and bruises only family knows how to dispense. All the ways that our own thirst for vengeance and power play out in the stars. Intelligent spaceships meets gods that pick sides and complex families. A War of Swallowed Stars manages to be introspective - asking questions about loyalty and love - while also being action packed. The amount of growth and character development that has gone into this world is astounding. I have always loved the world building kernel and the ways Mandanna merges fantasy and science fiction elements. But where A War of Swallowed Stars shines is the way it highlights these character arcs. My favorite has to be Esmae's and the ways she has to realize that our quest for revenge, to fill the holes in our heart, the quench the anger, won't always lead us to a better future. full review: https://utopia-state-of-mind.com/revi...

  13. 5 out of 5

    Charvi

    As predicted, I am NOT OKAY after finishing this book

  14. 5 out of 5

    jess bennett ⋆

    I am literally buying this the moment it comes out I don’t even care. The hype is real.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Akriti Purbey

    Book: A War of Swallowed Stars (The Celestial Triology #3) Author: Sangu Mandanna Genre: Young adult fiction, Science fiction, Fantasy Fiction, Epic Fiction Number of pages: 288 Published by: Sky Pony Published on: 29 June 2021 My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Description: A prince without his kingdom. A kingdom without its princess. The destruction of the stars themselves. War is destroying the galaxy. Esmae has vanished without a trace. A terrifying, ravenous beast is devouring the stars one by one. Titania is offered Book: A War of Swallowed Stars (The Celestial Triology #3) Author: Sangu Mandanna Genre: Young adult fiction, Science fiction, Fantasy Fiction, Epic Fiction Number of pages: 288 Published by: Sky Pony Published on: 29 June 2021 My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Description: A prince without his kingdom. A kingdom without its princess. The destruction of the stars themselves. War is destroying the galaxy. Esmae has vanished without a trace. A terrifying, ravenous beast is devouring the stars one by one. Titania is offered a gift that may well be a curse. Alexi, the exiled prince, is asked to pay a heavy price for his mistakes. And far, far away, on a dark, mysterious planet, a sleeping god stirs awake. War or family. Pride or peace. As the end of the world draws ever closer, Esmae and Alexi must decide how far they’ll go to win—and who they’ll sacrifice along the way. Premise: A War Of Swallowed Stars is the third and final book in The Celestial Triology. The book starts with Esmae missing and the world in danger of being eaten by a huge beast. For the first few parts of the book, Titania plays the main character where we learn more about her and the secrets she knew and kept away from letting out. With the first book from Esmae's perspective, second from Esmae's and Titania's , the third book is from three perspectives- Esmae, Titania and Radha. Since Esmae tackled too much betrayal at the end of book 1 yet she had the hope of finally meeting her mother only to be shattered in book 2 where she learns of all the dirty and painful truth and secrets which everyone knew except her. In this book, Esmae is vengeful yet conscious. She thinks before making a decision. This book witnessed Esmae's best character growth where she realised all that she still have even though she lost some precious things and memories. Titania is an indestructible warship but she wishes to be a human despite knowing everything a human is capable of, despite knowing how vengeful a human can be, all she wishes for is to not be a warship but a human. She shows us what truly being a human means when she enjoys every little thing which we take as granted. Sybilla and Radha are an amazing duo who knows how to stand strong and loyal and give cheesy moments. The characters are the plus point of the book. Max, Esmae, Radha, Sybilla and Titania shows us how much it matters to have someone to watch our back and stand with no matter what the situation demands. To be very honest, I didn't feel even an ounce of love or generosity for the other side of Esmae's family. I genuinely would have killed some characters only if I was capable of. The end of the story was something I didn't wish for. The end was nothing I wanted it to be but that doesn't mean that I'm not satisfied with it. Honestly, the author wrote the best ending possible. As I think about it from time to time, I understand how much the end makes sense. Everyone lost someone precious to them but the best way was to not lose anyone anymore by making a sensible decision. Because at last we need to take responsibility for our own actions and not blame them over fate. No matter what decisions we make, we will always get a chance to make better decisions and have a better future. With teary eyes, I bid a final goodbye to the book. Hope to read a physical copy of this amazing series soon. I absolutely loved and enjoyed Mandanna's writing and will surely be reading more of her.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Marta Cox

    This completes the trilogy that fans of fantasy will be intrigued by. Yes its YA and yes it's set in space but with its meddling Gods, curses and so much anger and pain this definitely gave me fantasy vibes. I will be blunt and say it's my first book by this author so obviously having started this I felt the need to read the first book at least before finishing this and leaving this review. A displaced Princess, exiled Princes , an embittered Queen not to mention a vengeful God made this compelli This completes the trilogy that fans of fantasy will be intrigued by. Yes its YA and yes it's set in space but with its meddling Gods, curses and so much anger and pain this definitely gave me fantasy vibes. I will be blunt and say it's my first book by this author so obviously having started this I felt the need to read the first book at least before finishing this and leaving this review. A displaced Princess, exiled Princes , an embittered Queen not to mention a vengeful God made this compelling reading. The story is told from multiple points of view but each one has their own voice so it was easy to follow. As I mentioned I did download the first book because with so many characters in play I felt I needed to go back to the beginning. I loved the sentient space ship Titania and yes resourceful, Esmae was definitely my favourite character. Her choices have led the world to war but she's not alone in making mistakes. Sometimes being liked is not the most important thing but giving others a second chance just might pave the way to peace. This story of acceptance and love might have started with rage and angst but the message is clear that tomorrow is another day full of possibilities if we only try. This voluntary take is of a copy I requested and my thoughts and comments are honest and I believe fair

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jamie Coudeville

    I wish the first 2 books weren't such a blur to me. There were twists that I didn't quite like and I'm not 100% sold on the ending either. But I did like it overall. I wish the first 2 books weren't such a blur to me. There were twists that I didn't quite like and I'm not 100% sold on the ending either. But I did like it overall.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Aleighsha

    i love this series so much! I adore Esmae.❤️ I'm so sad it's over, but it had such a great ending! I can't wait to read everything else this author puts out! i love this series so much! I adore Esmae.❤️ I'm so sad it's over, but it had such a great ending! I can't wait to read everything else this author puts out!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Isabelle | Nine Tale Vixen

    ★ 4.5 stars ★ content warnings: (view spoiler)[major character death(s), loss of loved ones, grief & guilt, war, blood, non-graphic violence, mind manipulation (hide spoiler)] rep: (view spoiler)[Indian mythology & worldbuilding; WLW MCs [Sybilla & Radha], F/F main romance, blind secondary character [Elvar], physical disability [Esmae, Rickard & others]; diverse minor & secondary characters (hide spoiler)] I received an advance review copy from Sky Pony (Skyhorse Publishing) through Netgalley; all ★ 4.5 stars ★ content warnings: (view spoiler)[major character death(s), loss of loved ones, grief & guilt, war, blood, non-graphic violence, mind manipulation (hide spoiler)] rep: (view spoiler)[Indian mythology & worldbuilding; WLW MCs [Sybilla & Radha], F/F main romance, blind secondary character [Elvar], physical disability [Esmae, Rickard & others]; diverse minor & secondary characters (hide spoiler)] I received an advance review copy from Sky Pony (Skyhorse Publishing) through Netgalley; all opinions are my own and honest. [review] ----------- CONVERSION : 12.67 / 15 = 4.5 stars Prose: 5 / 10 Characters & Relationships: 9 / 10 Emotional Impact: 9 / 10 Development / Flow: 8 / 10 Setting: 9 / 10 Diversity & Social Themes: 5 / 5 Intellectual Engagement: 4 / 5 Originality / Trope Execution: 5 / 5

  20. 4 out of 5

    DB (DB's Guide to the Galaxy)

    WHY DID NO ONE TELL ME THIS HAS A COVER??? IT'S SO BEAUTIFUL! WHY DID NO ONE TELL ME THIS HAS A COVER??? IT'S SO BEAUTIFUL!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Ellie J.

    5/5 stars Recommended for people who like: multiple POVs, sci-fi, space operas, morally gray characters, mythology, LGBTQ+ characters, trilogies Note: there will be spoilers for previous Celestial Trilogy books in this review. TW: ableism I was so nervous coming into this one because 1) we still hadn't seen all of the curses come to fruition yet, and 2) I was expecting at least one character to die in the book. While both of these were valid things to be nervous about, I'm actually pleased with how 5/5 stars Recommended for people who like: multiple POVs, sci-fi, space operas, morally gray characters, mythology, LGBTQ+ characters, trilogies Note: there will be spoilers for previous Celestial Trilogy books in this review. TW: ableism I was so nervous coming into this one because 1) we still hadn't seen all of the curses come to fruition yet, and 2) I was expecting at least one character to die in the book. While both of these were valid things to be nervous about, I'm actually pleased with how both played out and Mandanna even managed to surprise me with 1) (okay, and admittedly in some areas of 2) as well). I feel in some ways this book was darker than the other two, which is saying something because House, especially at the end, was pretty dark. However, in this one our favorite cast of characters is facing problems from multiple sources, not least of which include Alexi and Sorsha. On top of that, Esmae, Amba, and Titania have to deal with the shit that went down at the end of House, so the three of them in particular are in some rough spaces in the book. This is a bit of a tangent, but the 'bowstring thumb' thing confused me a lot until I got about 1/2-2/3 way through the book. I've done archery before, but I've only learned Western techniques and so am not super familiar with the way other cultures do it. I assumed Esmae and co. were knocking their arrows using their index and middle fingers and drawing using those (or those + ring finger)...which would mean the thumb plays no part in knocking, drawing, or shooting. It wasn't until someone showed Esmae how to shoot the way I described above where it clicked that they were using a totally different method (and then I looked up traditional Indian archery techniques and.....uh.....yeah, you need a thumb for that). I was glad that got an additional explanation in this book, though, because I think I might've remained lost (or eventually remembered the internet exists and looked it up). Esmae and Alexi got to talk a bit more in this one than they did in the last one, which I think was good, though admittedly it could've been better. Esmae really gets a chance to let loose on some of the things she thinks about him, particularly his desire to be seen as the 'golden boy' as well as his seeming inability to contradict/think outside of their mother. Frankly, she's right and I don't think Alexi ever really gets it (which is kind of funny considering both Leila Saka and Kyra said something similar to him). I thought their dynamic was interesting in this one and it kind of came full-circle in a way. Esmae still wants Alexi destroyed, but she also still wants peace (or at least doesn't want Kali and its people hurt/destroyed), whereas Alexi still isn't willing to settle for a compr0mise. I will say, this might be one of the few books where I think the author actually could've written more and the book would not have suffered. The way things are resolved in the end re: the crown, Kali, and Esmae and Alexi could have, I think, used a bit more page time to explore. There is an epilogue-esque kind of ending that takes place months later, but it doesn't really focus on those things and I do wish we'd gotten to see more of that. Perhaps another short story at some point in the future? Onto individual character analyses, Esmae is, as mentioned, not really in a great place when the book opens (and I don't just mean physically). She does initially rebound fairly quickly, but everything that's been happening over the past three books does collapse back on her and we get to see the psychological toll that it's taken. Also as mentioned, she still wants to destroy Alexi, but she also takes a moment to reassess things and is willing to try something other than all-out war if possible. Esmae also has to struggle with having lose her 'bowstring thumb' and re-learning how to do certain things with a prosthetic. The process frustrates her and we do get a sense of her loss, but she's also willing to train and work to get to a place where she can still fight, whether it's with her left hand or a different way of using her right. Esmae develops as a character throughout each book and that development is really seen here as she starts to grow away from the solely revenge-driven person she had been in House. Titania gets a POV again in this book and also gets more chapters from her POV. As a ship it's hard to remember how young she is, but she really is just a child still and has seen so much. She yearns to be human, but also knows she's useful as a ship and wants to be able to help Esmae and Max and everyone with the coming war. Despite not being happy with what happened at Arcadia at the end of the last book, Titania seemed to have used Esmae's disappearance as a way to distract herself/rebound and for most of the book she's the same bubbly Titania we've always known. Things do change, as they must, but Titania remains a big part of the story. Radha also gets a POV, which was somewhat surprising as I'd been expecting Sybilla to be a POV character. However, Radha is able to give insight into events and people that the other characters cannot. For instance, at the end of the last book, Radha went back to Wychstar, and so we get to see what's going on there as well as some of the other political events that she's privvy to but that other characters either aren't or don't bother with. I liked seeing inside her head because she is a nice person and she is loyal to Esmae and her new friends on Kali, but also has moments when she doubts herself. Her interactions with Sybilla are fun to read since they have very different dispositions and Radha knows exactly how to tongue-tie Sybilla. Sybilla, while still thorny, lets herself show more emotion in this one. She and Esmae's friendship is perfect and Sybilla offers a good amount of gentleness and hard truths. I feel like we see less of her in this book, though, and I would have liked to see more. I enjoyed reading as she became more open to other people and expressed that softer side of herself. Max underwent some development as well, and while he still prefers peace, we do get to see him in battle a little. Like with Sybilla, I wish we saw more of him in this book, but at least the parts that we do see are rich in content and characterization. I've always appreciated his general demeanor when it comes to Esmae and continue to do so in this book. War is, obviously, not what he wanted, but he's still willing to support whatever she decides. It's also fun to see him and Amba interact more since she's always around now. Alexi is, understandably, frustrating. I mentioned above that he very much cares what others think and that he listens a little too much to Kyra. He's also generally unwilling to listen to anyone else. He does do some good things in the book, don't get me wrong, but he does a lot in this book and misunderstands a lot. I suppose we could say the same of Esmae, but, obviously, we're getting things from Emsae and her friends' POVs, so Esmae's faults seem/feel different than Alexi's. Bear is still pretty much the same he's been in the last two books. He's tied between loyalty to Alexi and loyalty to Esmae. He loves them both and doesn't want either of them fighting and, I think, could himself make a pretty good negotiator/peacemaker given the time and page space. He matters a lot to Alexi and Esmae, which is another reason I think he could've mended things, but he has even less page time here than in House so that isn't his role. Also, while he is stuck in the middle of the two sides, he does consistently chose Alexi, even if he does help Esmae at times. Thus, while he is caught between the two and perhaps could have helped stopped the war, he is also too strongly on Alexi's side for much of his Alexi-Esmae-get-along desires to work out. Sorsha can't really be discussed without spoilery things being revealed. I did like the idea of a space dragon who eats stars, so that was pretty cool. Overall, I did like the book and thought that it was a nice, fitting conclusion to the trilogy. I do wish it had been a bit longer so that we could get more page time with some of the characters, have a bit longer build up to the climax, and then see how things played out a little more after things got (mostly) resolved.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Leigh Kramer

    I have been on pins and needles waiting to see how this YA space opera trilogy would resolve. While I haven’t yet read The Mahabharata (I decided to hold off until the trilogy ended), I know that it does end not well for the characters involved and I’ve been worried about what that would mean for Esmae, Max, and their crew in this retelling. Well. Let me tell you it was worth the wait. I don’t want to spoil one thing about how everything unfolded but I will say I’m impressed with how Mandanna le I have been on pins and needles waiting to see how this YA space opera trilogy would resolve. While I haven’t yet read The Mahabharata (I decided to hold off until the trilogy ended), I know that it does end not well for the characters involved and I’ve been worried about what that would mean for Esmae, Max, and their crew in this retelling. Well. Let me tell you it was worth the wait. I don’t want to spoil one thing about how everything unfolded but I will say I’m impressed with how Mandanna let characters evolve and how she explored the notion of hope in the face of hopelessness and the tradeoffs we make. Esmae’s growth throughout the trilogy was a marvel to behold. I didn’t always know if she’d get there but I always enjoyed watching her figure it all out. I adore the secondary characters (except for that awful mother and her general, of course.) Titania’s evolution as a sentient spaceship was particularly fun and unexpected. I got a kick out of her character glossary at the beginning. There’s also a great secondary FF love story, which was lovely to see. The alliances continued to shift and change and I loved what this revealed about everyone and what truly mattered. Plus, there are all the gods and what Amba makes of life as a mortal. Then there was Esmae and Max’s relationship. This gave me so many feels! I cannot say enough good things about this trilogy. Highly recommended. I can’t wait to see what Mandanna writes next. CW: (view spoiler)[missing main character, imprisonment, death of brother, perceived death of love interest, grief, main character kept in medical stasis, physical assault, prosthetic thumb, murder, war/battle, past attempted murder by mother, mother arranged for father’s murder after imprisoning him for 12 years (hide spoiler)] Disclosure: I received an ARC from Sky Pony in exchange for an honest review.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Shruti Ramanujam

    head empty, only tears

  24. 5 out of 5

    Ana

    I received a free eARC from the author/publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. [This review will be posted on my blog on 30 July 2021] Content warnings: War, violence, scars, imprisonment, death, blood *Some spoilers for A Spark of White Fire and A House of Rage and Sorrow, with an early spoiler from A War of Swallowed Stars* A War of Swallowed Stars is the long awaited third, and final, instalment in the Celestial trilogy. If I could sum up this whole series with a quote, it woul I received a free eARC from the author/publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. [This review will be posted on my blog on 30 July 2021] Content warnings: War, violence, scars, imprisonment, death, blood *Some spoilers for A Spark of White Fire and A House of Rage and Sorrow, with an early spoiler from A War of Swallowed Stars* A War of Swallowed Stars is the long awaited third, and final, instalment in the Celestial trilogy. If I could sum up this whole series with a quote, it would be this: A person often meets his destiny on the road he took to avoid it - Jean de la Fontaine. A War of Swallowed Stars changes things up a bit, and we have three narrators who share, more or less equally, the story: Esmae, Titania, and Radha. This book starts a month after the events of A House of Rage and Sorrow, but quickly jumps back to fill in the gaps with chapters from Titania and Radha's perspectives. I thought including all three POVs was a good choice in order to follow more of the threads of the story, especially considering (*Early spoiler*) that Esmae has been missing for that month. Again, this instalment is short, fast paced, and action packed. While the characters (and the readers) are still reeling from the events of the last book, and all the revelations that happened, there are plenty more to come. The stakes are higher for everyone, and war between Esmae and Alexi is all but inevitable. I truly believe that Esmae's arc throughout the series was a masterclass in characterisation. Her growth hit all the right beats at the right times. She starts out as a girl who is desperate to reunite with her family, experiences love and grief and betrayal, and this crucible forges her into a weapon. But as a strategist, you have to know which battles to pick. I thought Radha's arc was also quite satisfying, and has many similar elements to Esmae's. But because they are different people, with different personalities and skills, their stories don't play out in the same way. I was also a fan of Radha's romance with Sybilla. Not only do I love the prickly bodyguard falling in love with their charge trope, but I appreciated that it was a slow burn. Things are not easy for them, and it takes time and patience for their relationship to bloom. I also really enjoyed some of the other characters' arcs throughout the series, particularly Rickard's, King Darshan's, and King Elvar's. Since they all get comparatively little page time, I was super impressed with how fleshes out their stories were. I think the biggest strength of this book, and the series as a whole, is the author's ability to draw you in emotionally. It's been quite a while since I felt this invested in a character and the story. I laughed, and I cried, and I raged. haracter and the story. My anger continued long after Esmae's had begun to dim. And I'm not afraid to admit that there are a few characters I would have liked to have seen shot in the heart. I like that the characters are neither good nor evil. Whether you are hero, or villain, or a victim, is all a matter of perspective. The author took the antagonists of the original epic, the Mahabharata, and made them the protagonists in this series, which allowed her to explore some really deep themes. The series is all about revenge, and betrayal, and the cycle of violence. It’s about how our stories started long before we did, by the choices of those who came before. But it’s about deciding how we act, and taking responsibility for those choices. It looks at the devastation of war, and how its effects ripple out and change the lives of everyone it touches, even if they are not directly involved. It's also about grief, and how people respond to it. It can be an opportunity for solidarity and unity, or it can be a destructive force. Some people turn that destruction inward, and others let it stoke the fires of their rage, and lash out at other people. But ultimately, this series is all about love and family, and all the different permutations. Families can be complicated, and messy. The people you love can hurt you, and betray you, and fail to live up to your expectations of them. But family can also be the people who support you no matter what you do or say. I will say that the very last pages contained a trope I really dislike, so while I appreciated the end of the series in general, I could have lived without the last couple of pages. And no, I won’t spoil it, but it did lessen the emotional impact for me. I'm sure many other readers will be perfectly satisfied with the ending, and it will depend on personal preference. In conclusion, there is something so delightfully addictive about this series. Partially it's the twists and the action, but also the focus on characterisation. I read all three books in less than two days, because I was so completely riveted, and I had to know what was going to happen next. I cannot recommend this series enough. I think it would appeal to fans of retellings, sci-fi/fantasy mashups, and fans of family dramas.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Sahitya

    Now this is how a finale that I’ve been waiting for almost two years should feel like. I just don’t have any words to describe what I’m feeling, but I hope I’ll be able to articulate my thoughts here. The one thing that has remained constant throughout this trilogy is how fast paced it is. I literally swallowed this book whole(pun fully intended) in a single sitting. And I know it couldn’t have been any other way, because I wouldn’t have been able to sleep tonight if I hadn’t finished reading it Now this is how a finale that I’ve been waiting for almost two years should feel like. I just don’t have any words to describe what I’m feeling, but I hope I’ll be able to articulate my thoughts here. The one thing that has remained constant throughout this trilogy is how fast paced it is. I literally swallowed this book whole(pun fully intended) in a single sitting. And I know it couldn’t have been any other way, because I wouldn’t have been able to sleep tonight if I hadn’t finished reading it. The author’s storytelling is realistic and brutal and painful and just ohhh so brilliant, that I can’t believe I’ve had the opportunity to read such a wonderful story. The emotional depth that the author is able to create is spectacular and I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to rage or cry or despair, basically feel everything that the characters were feeling. The original Mahabharata story may have been about a war fought between brothers for the throne, or it may have been for the sake of establishing Dharma - ultimately one thing we should remember is that it is also about the consequences of greed, jealousy, the desire for revenge, and finally the devastation of war. While we only see the true devastation during the 18 days and after the war is over in the original story, the author here tries to make the characters see the brutal reality much earlier, probably in the hopes that the longing for peace might overcome pride and the outcome is different. There is also a lot of emphasis on love and family, which is just like the original, but we also see how honor and righteousness may not always be the need of the hour. Now if you wanna know how that plays out in the story, you’ll have to read it, but I thought the author did great justice to the spirit of the epic. The characters have also been a very excellent part of this trilogy. Esmae as a main character is full of rage and sorrow over the things she has lost and things she has done, but she also understands she is lucky enough to have friends and family who care. And as such a flawed and human character, it’s so easy to fall in love with her and feel everything she does. Max will always remain a favorite because he is loving and kind and compassionate, but I almost felt like he got less page time because there was so much going on. But however little he was present, he was awesome as always. Titania is a delight as always but it was so fascinating to see even more new aspects of her. When she became a human temporarily, the way the author described her joy and the feeling of touching water and even just trying to walk or run, it brought tears to my eyes because she was so happy. Titania is the light of this story even if she was made to be an indestructible warship. Sybilla and Radha are such great side characters, loyal and brave to the end and I was so happy to see some cute scenes together. They were probably the only respite in an otherwise painful story. I don’t even know if I want to talk about the other side of Esmae’s family. My blood boils at the thought of some of the things they did in the previous books, and the author ups the angst quotient even more by showing us that they are capable of worse. I don’t think I have ever felt so strongly about wanting a character to die an extremely painful death, but that’s what happens when you get so attached to some characters that they start feeling like someone you know and care for. And I don’t know if I should feel happy or angry with the author for making me so overwhelmed with emotions. And then there are so many gods - some good, some indifferent, some awful - and while their stories of birth and their curses and motivations are all very fascinating to read in an abstract context, it’s quite anger inducing when they meddle in the lives of our favorite mortal characters and make a mess out of everything. In the end, this book felt painful and hopeless at times but it was such a satisfying finale that I am extremely upset it’s over, but also overjoyed that I got to read it in advance, and along with all my dearest friends Dany, Shruti, Sim, Prags, Krisha and Jayati. This trilogy has always been an experience that I have loved sharing with my friends and I’m so happy we could do it this time as well. “The chat room of rage and sorrow” is a delight to be a part of and I hope we’ll find another series like this to gush about together, though I know the Celestial trilogy is truly special. If you are someone who has never read this series, but would love a YA space opera fantasy with gods and mortals, battles and duels, celestial weapons and sentient warships, and characters you’ll either love or hate with a passion - you can’t miss this series. And if you are someone like me who has enjoyed the Mahabharata story while growing up, then I promise this trilogy will delight you. Goodbye Esmae and Max and Titania, but only for now, because I know I will meet you again 😊😊

  26. 5 out of 5

    Simant Verma

    Umm hello, I am not okay 😭 This finale was everything I expected and more. I don't know if i ever will be able to write a coherent review of this, but go read Sahi's review here and understand what we feel. And don't miss this series. It deserves all the appreciation in the world. And please preorder A War of Swallowed Stars and order the previous books and support this series. A War of Swallowed Stars (Book 3): Amazon | Bookshop A House of Rage and Sorrow (Book 2): Amazon | Bookshop A Spark of Whit Umm hello, I am not okay 😭 This finale was everything I expected and more. I don't know if i ever will be able to write a coherent review of this, but go read Sahi's review here and understand what we feel. And don't miss this series. It deserves all the appreciation in the world. And please preorder A War of Swallowed Stars and order the previous books and support this series. A War of Swallowed Stars (Book 3): Amazon | Bookshop A House of Rage and Sorrow (Book 2): Amazon | Bookshop A Spark of White Fire (Book 1): Amazon

  27. 4 out of 5

    Akriti Purbey

    Book: A War of Swallowed Stars (The Celestial Triology #3) Author: Sangu Mandanna Genre: Young adult fiction, Science fiction, Fantasy Fiction, Epic Fiction Number of pages: 288 Published by: Sky Pony Published on: 29 June 2021 My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Description: A prince without his kingdom. A kingdom without its princess. The destruction of the stars themselves. War is destroying the galaxy. Esmae has vanished without a trace. A terrifying, ravenous beast is devouring the stars one by one. Titania is offered Book: A War of Swallowed Stars (The Celestial Triology #3) Author: Sangu Mandanna Genre: Young adult fiction, Science fiction, Fantasy Fiction, Epic Fiction Number of pages: 288 Published by: Sky Pony Published on: 29 June 2021 My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Description: A prince without his kingdom. A kingdom without its princess. The destruction of the stars themselves. War is destroying the galaxy. Esmae has vanished without a trace. A terrifying, ravenous beast is devouring the stars one by one. Titania is offered a gift that may well be a curse. Alexi, the exiled prince, is asked to pay a heavy price for his mistakes. And far, far away, on a dark, mysterious planet, a sleeping god stirs awake. War or family. Pride or peace. As the end of the world draws ever closer, Esmae and Alexi must decide how far they’ll go to win—and who they’ll sacrifice along the way. Premise: A War Of Swallowed Stars is the third and final book in The Celestial Triology. The book starts with Esmae missing and the world in danger of being eaten by a huge beast. For the first few parts of the book, Titania plays the main character where we learn more about her and the secrets she knew and kept away from letting out. With the first book from Esmae's perspective, second from Esmae's and Titania's , the third book is from three perspectives- Esmae, Titania and Radha. Since Esmae tackled too much betrayal at the end of book 1 yet she had the hope of finally meeting her mother only to be shattered in book 2 where she learns of all the dirty and painful truth and secrets which everyone knew except her. In this book, Esmae is vengeful yet conscious. She thinks before making a decision. This book witnessed Esmae's best character growth where she realised all that she still have even though she lost some precious things and memories. Titania is an indestructible warship but she wishes to be a human despite knowing everything a human is capable of, despite knowing how vengeful a human can be, all she wishes for is to not be a warship but a human. She shows us what truly being a human means when she enjoys every little thing which we take as granted. Sybilla and Radha are an amazing duo who knows how to stand strong and loyal and give cheesy moments. The characters are the plus point of the book. Max, Esmae, Radha, Sybilla and Titania shows us how much it matters to have someone to watch our back and stand with no matter what the situation demands. To be very honest, I didn't feel even an ounce of love or generosity for the other side of Esmae's family. I genuinely would have killed some characters only if I was capable of. The end of the story was something I didn't wish for. The end was nothing I wanted it to be but that doesn't mean that I'm not satisfied with it. Honestly, the author wrote the best ending possible. As I think about it from time to time, I understand how much the end makes sense. Everyone lost someone precious to them but the best way was to not lose anyone anymore by making a sensible decision. Because at last we need to take responsibility for our own actions and not blame them over fate. No matter what decisions we make, we will always get a chance to make better decisions and have a better future. With teary eyes, I bid a final goodbye to the book. Hope to read a physical copy of this amazing series soon. I absolutely loved and enjoyed Mandanna's writing and will surely be reading more of her.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jill booksandescape

    I received an advance ebook copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for review. A War of Swallowed Stars by Sangu Mandanna is the third and final book in the Celestial Trilogy. In this finale, it is war. Esmae has gone missing. A beast is swallowing the stars. Sentient ship Titania has been offered a gift, but should she take it? Alexi and Esmae must decide what is more important to them: death or life, war or peace, power or family? Mandanna brings this impressive science fiction trilogy I received an advance ebook copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for review. A War of Swallowed Stars by Sangu Mandanna is the third and final book in the Celestial Trilogy. In this finale, it is war. Esmae has gone missing. A beast is swallowing the stars. Sentient ship Titania has been offered a gift, but should she take it? Alexi and Esmae must decide what is more important to them: death or life, war or peace, power or family? Mandanna brings this impressive science fiction trilogy to a close with a bang. I couldn’t get enough of this series. I love everything about these books, especially the characters.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Nikki

    Halfway through the book, I felt like a big part of the conflict was resolved so I was curious where the rest of the book would go. (view spoiler)[ i.e Sorsha getting defeated (hide spoiler)] When (view spoiler)[ Max was dying, I was like "Max, NOOOO!" I had a feeling he was gonna be revived or there being a flash forward to Esmae meeting his reincarnation down the road---something like that. Or maybe it was just me hoping that would happen. But it still sucks seeing a character you've went on a Halfway through the book, I felt like a big part of the conflict was resolved so I was curious where the rest of the book would go. (view spoiler)[ i.e Sorsha getting defeated (hide spoiler)] When (view spoiler)[ Max was dying, I was like "Max, NOOOO!" I had a feeling he was gonna be revived or there being a flash forward to Esmae meeting his reincarnation down the road---something like that. Or maybe it was just me hoping that would happen. But it still sucks seeing a character you've went on adventures with and grown attached to, die. Sometimes even when you think you know what will happen, authors may intentionally do the opposite to throw you for a loop (hide spoiler)]

  30. 5 out of 5

    Amber

    I really enjoyed this series, of which the last installment, A War of Swallowed Stars, was arguably the best. It was hard not to compare it to The Pandava Quartet Quintet, a middle grade, contemporary approach to the same myth that Mandanna takes on as a young adult space opera, and in comparison, I think The Celestial Trilogy falls short. But on its own, it's a good story with fully-developed central characters (the peripheral ones are more one-dimensional than they could be) and a beautifully- I really enjoyed this series, of which the last installment, A War of Swallowed Stars, was arguably the best. It was hard not to compare it to The Pandava Quartet Quintet, a middle grade, contemporary approach to the same myth that Mandanna takes on as a young adult space opera, and in comparison, I think The Celestial Trilogy falls short. But on its own, it's a good story with fully-developed central characters (the peripheral ones are more one-dimensional than they could be) and a beautifully-written conclusion.

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