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Starling (Starling Saga Series #1)

Starling (Starling Saga Series #1)

4.3 9
by Lesley Livingston

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Mason Starling is a champion fencer on the Gosforth Academy team, but she's never had to fight for her life. Not until the night a ferocious, otherworldly storm rips through Manhattan, trapping Mason and her teammates inside the school. Mason is besieged by nightmarish creatures more terrifying than the thunder and lightning as the raging tempest also brings a


Mason Starling is a champion fencer on the Gosforth Academy team, but she's never had to fight for her life. Not until the night a ferocious, otherworldly storm rips through Manhattan, trapping Mason and her teammates inside the school. Mason is besieged by nightmarish creatures more terrifying than the thunder and lightning as the raging tempest also brings a dangerous stranger into her life: a young man who remembers nothing but his name—the Fennrys Wolf. His arrival tears Mason's world apart, even as she feels an undeniable connection to him. Together, they seek to unravel the secrets of Fenn's identity as strange and supernatural forces gather around them. When they discover Mason's family—with its dark allegiance to ancient Norse gods—is at the heart of the mystery, Fennrys and Mason are suddenly faced with a terrifying future.

Set against the gritty, shadowed back-drop of New York City, this first novel in award-winning author Lesley Livingston's epic Starling Saga is an intoxicating blend of sweeping romance and pulse-pounding action.

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—Star athlete Mason Starling is practicing with her fencing team at an exclusive high school in Manhattan when a freak storm topples a tree right into the athletic center. The team is startled when unearthly creatures begin to attack them. Just in time, a naked stranger arrives, wielding a sword and saving them all. His name is the Fennrys Wolf and he has no idea where he came from or who he is aside from his unusual name, but bit by bit his memories come back to him. Despite the objections of her teammates, Mason is drawn into a relationship with Fenn. Through their romance, she discovers her connection to ancient mythology (most specifically her family's allegiance to Norse gods of which she was unaware) and Fenn's ties to the Otherworld and his ability to travel between death and life. Mason feels herself becoming more and more attached to the mysterious guy. As an ancient prophecy begins to come true, she is alienated from her friends and former crush, Cal, but finds an unexpected ally in Cal's ex-girlfriend. Fast paced and full of action, this series opener will appeal to teens who are fascinated with mythology and need a story with a lot of action to hold their attention.—Kathy Kirchoefer, Henderson County Public Library, NC
Publishers Weekly
The Fennrys Wolf (last seen in Livingston’s Tempestuous) is bigger and badder than Red Riding Hood ever imagined, and he’s just landed in Manhattan—tumbling naked through a stained-glass skylight, sword in hand. Few recognize him as the harbinger of Ragnarok, the end of the world, but many of those in the know are connected with Gosforth Academy, where the privileged, beautiful scions of the super-rich are expensively educated. Fennrys saves the fencing team from an inhuman onslaught with the timely assistance of Mason Starling, the team’s Olympic hopeful. Each goes away from the encounter feeling a strange connection with the other, but Fennrys doesn’t know who or what he is, and Mason discovers that she doesn’t know herself much better. Livingston chooses action over introspection in this series launch, and lays out the plot in short scenes from various points of view that are kaleidoscopic without drawing readers too far into any one character. Like a stylish TV pilot, there are special effects and eye candy galore, making for a quick, pulse-pounding read. Ages 13–up. Agent: Jessica Regal, Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency. (Sept.)
ALA Booklist
Praise for Tempestuous:“Livingston’s artistry at creating imaginary worlds that exist side by side with contemporary New York remains strong...fans of the first two entries will gulp this one down with gusto.”
Claudia Gray
“I’d recommend anything by Lesley Livingston.”
Julie Kagawa
“Thrilling and intense; pulls you along like the inevitable rush toward Ragnarok.”
Children's Literature - Mary Thompson
Dedication to the fine art of fencing takes on a whole new meaning for Mason Starling during a team practice in the gym of the elite Gosford Academy. A severe thunderstorm erupts in the quad causing an ancient tree to crash through the ceiling ushering in a horde of unearthly zombie-like creatures. Mason and her teammates owe their survival to a mysterious, extremely handsome, and naked guy who materializes out of the rubble to battle the demons. Their rescuer who remembers nothing but his own name, Fennrys, heals the injured, magics them all to sleep and then vanishes. Mason finds herself inexplicably drawn to Fennrys and he to her. Soon they are spending as much time together as possible in order to make sense of the strange events occurring around them and to retrieve Fenn's lost memories. The Starling clan headed by Gunnar Starling has ties to the ancient Norse Gods. The family's greed and ambition release a dark and deadly dangerous prophecy that puts Mason's life in jeopardy. Mason and Fenn are a great paranormal team—equal parts romance and action. There is a fair amount of foundation building with a cliffhanger ending. The youngest of Mason's three brothers, Rory, is an easy-to-hate villain paired nicely with the charming and protective oldest brother, Roth. There is no shortage of sword fighting, with new and ancient weaponry, and a truly hair-raising train ride. This fantasy debut is perfect for fans of Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini.
VOYA - Cynthia Winfield
Mason Starling, high school junior, is the protagonist in a novel doubtless to be the first in a series. Her story opens at the end of fencing practice one fateful evening at the super-elite Gosforth Academy, just before a horrendous storm unleashes unbelievable creatures—draugr—upon the students and coach now trapped in the brand new athletic facility. When Fennrys Wolf, a monster-slaying fighter, is dropped, naked, into the building he leaps to the rescue and saves everyone, including the once-beautiful Calum Aristarchos, now disfigured by the battle. Although Fennrys leaves before the students awake, Mason cannot stop thinking of him. As the story unfolds, Norse mythology and folklore figure prominently, while gods and goddesses from otherworld mythologies populate the sidelines and realms beyond this world loom large. Mason's father has waited a lifetime for the coming of Ragnarok, the Norse epic battle destined to destroy current civilization to make way for a new order. So fixated is he that he would trade the souls of his children to hasten the coming apocalypse. The novel ends at a critical point, leaving multiple unanswered questions and unfulfilled prophecies, practically ensuring a sequel and, likely, a series. Livingston's intense novel will be popular with readers across genres; its incorporation of romance, mystery, intrigue, and magic, as well as the strength of the main characters, will appeal to an audience beyond those dedicated to fantasy fiction. High school and public librarians will want to include multiple copies to satisfy eager readers. Reviewer: Cynthia Winfield
Kirkus Reviews
A less-than-impressive addition to the plethora of mythology-based YA romances. On a dark and stormy night, Mason Starling and her posh, Gosforth Academy fencing mates are saved from an attack of malicious mythological creatures by a handsome, disoriented stranger who only remembers his name: the Fennrys Wolf. Predictably, Fenn and Mason's instant chemistry leads to a romance, which is lackluster at best. Their travels around New York City are recorded in meticulous detail that makes the novel feel more like a map than a story, as they attempt to solve the mystery behind the attack and unravel Fenn's past. Meanwhile, Mason's father and brothers are dedicated to the service of the Norse gods and hellbent on bringing about Ragnarok (the Norse destruction and rebirth of the world), and they plot to place Mason in harm's way in hopes of goading Fenn into fulfilling a prophecy. Though Mason, unlike many of her counterparts, does get to fight, she is, disappointingly, still very much a damsel in distress. And while Livingston's melding of mythologies and the faerie world with ours is interesting, characters with little dimensionality and questionable motives, along with a frustratingly choppy pace and dull romance, leave much to be desired. The cliffhanger ending may convince insatiable paranormal-romance readers to give the next book in this series a try. (Paranormal romance. 13 & up)

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Starling Saga Series , #1
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Sales rank:
File size:
1 MB
Age Range:
13 - 17 Years


What People are Saying About This

Julie Kagawa

“Thrilling and intense; pulls you along like the inevitable rush toward Ragnarok.”

Claudia Gray

“I’d recommend anything by Lesley Livingston.”

Meet the Author

LESLEY LIVINGSTON is an award-winning author of teen fiction best known for her Wondrous Strange trilogy. Captivated at a young age by stories of the distant past and legendary heroes and warriors, Lesley developed into a full-fledged history buff and mythology geek. Her fascination with ancient Celtic and Classical civilizations—spurred on by recently discovered archaeological evidence supporting the existence of female gladiators—inspired Fallon’s story in The Valiant.

Lesley holds a Master’s Degree in English from the University of Toronto and was a principal performer in a Shakespearean theatre company, specializing in performances for teen audiences, for more than a decade.

Web: lesleylivingston.com

Twitter: @LesLivingston

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Starling 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Buried-in-Books More than 1 year ago
I'm not quite sure how this one seems to have slipped under everyone's radar but I thought it was fantastic once I got a chance to read it. This is new stuff- Norse mythology which I know next to nothing about. Vikings, Asgard, Odin, Thor, Loki and that's about it. I don't know who is good or bad or anything else. But this was a really gripping novel! It starts with a bang with fencing practice being interrupted by a h*llacious storm and I do mean h*llacious with monsters that look like they come from that very place. And a beautiful naked man wielding a sword that can kill these monsters with one blow. He puts the fencers to shame as they cower behind him, all but Mason Starling, daughter to Gunnar Starling sister to Rothgar and Rory. When you meet Rothgar, you're going to want him to have his own series or at least have a lot more time in the story. Biker guy, very protective of his little sis and able to appease the very volatile and demanding Gunnar Starling, yeah,Fennrys Wolf was very swoon worthy, but so was Rothgar So, you've got a bunch of Vikings, actually descendants of them, stinking rich and they know how to use swords. Rory and Mason attend an elite prep school that make elite schools we've previous read about look like public school. There's a boy with a distinctly Greek sounding name and his mother and Gunnar get into a fight after the monsters attack the school. Hmmm, Vikings, Greeks....Just think on that. And then there's the Fennrys Wolf who is inexplicably drawn to Mason and she to him. The problem is, Fenn cannot remember anything before that night. He has nightmare and wisps of memories, but nothing is clear to him. And then there are the pesky monsters that are constantly chasing he and Mason, trying to kill them. I tell you, I was flipping pages so fast I wasn't sure if I had read the last words on the previous pages before I had started the next page. I've never read Lesley Livingston's Wondrous Strange series, but I am going to read it now. She knows how to tell a story. I think I was holding my breath at the end. The characters, Fenn and Mason are revealed to us and yet held back. We don't get to see what they don't know so it's hard to truly know them. But we know the mettle they are made of and they are our kind of people. I loved this book! I cannot wait for the next in the series. This one ended on a big cliffhanger, but I don't feel like I'm dangling if that makes any sense. You'll just have to read it to see what I mean. I loved the Nordic mythology. I love Valkyries and anything to do with them, though they weren't specifically in this novel, I have a feeling it's only a matter of time. There were other mythologies sprinkled in as well so the lore could become very complex. But in a genre that is full of Greek Gods and Goddesses, this Nordic mythology is a welcome addition! And definitely worth reading for the fast paced action, the family intrigue and Rothgar!
Redcingirl More than 1 year ago
This new novel/series is amazing. This auther writes is so imaginative, discriptive, and thrilling that everything she writes is amazing. I love the characters in this book. Cant wait to see how the love interest blooms with Fenn and Cal. Great book...cannot wait for the next one!!
BookSakeBlogspot More than 1 year ago
I loved the idea behind the story and absolutely love the role that fencing played in it. Mason has got some serious skills and any scene having to do with her fencing was written wonderfully. And who can resist a character that doesn’t remember anything more than his name – and what a name it is – the Fennrys Wolf. All of the characters were realistic and I easily felt as if I knew the characters personally. In some books authors will make a character do something out of character to create a moment, but Livingston kept all of her characters true to form which is the way I prefer it to be done. As this is a beginning to a series, I understand why there was so much story buildup in this book, but I wish there would have been more substance. I felt like nothing much happened after the opening. If it weren’t for the characters being intriguing I may have lost interest. As I do like the idea for the story, I will read the next book, I want to see where it goes and hope that it will go in a more fast paced direction. ARC reviewed by Jessica for Book Sake.
WhatsBeyondForks 9 months ago
The world has just turned upside down for Mason and her friends. I listened to the audio version, which was narrated by the author, and she did a wonderful job. I think the mythology through this book is Norse or at least mostly Norse. The plot was intriguing with action and the tease of a romance. I'm very interested in the Fennrys Wolf. He's still a mystery to me in many ways. Many of the characters are, including Mason herself. I feel like we have much to learn about this world. Then, you have that crazy cliffhanger ending, and well... I'm just going to have to hunt down the next book in this series pretty darn quick.
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Some_Reading_Required More than 1 year ago
It started with a broken window, hoard of black-bluish beasties and a *hot* naked guy with a case of amnesia. Needless to say, I was hooked from the beginning. Starling caught my attention right away but unfortunately it couldn’t hold it. I may have started out with a high opinion but towards the end my happy feelings tapered off leaving me very let down. Don’t get me wrong, there was a lot to love about Starling, but there was also a lot to dislike. Mason Starling is extremely likable as the main heroine. She’s very gentle yet totally kick-ass. Mason can basically be your best friend or your worst enemy. When paired with a sword, you best hope that she’s your friend because she can be downright deadly. Heather was also a great female character. She starts out as Mason’s frenemy then quickly become one strong, loyal and protective “true” friend. Two other standout characters were Rory and Roth… two Starling brothers and two complete opposites. I REALLY hated Rory. (We’re totally meant to… at least I hope). He’s entirely self-absorbed, petty, and downright homicidal. If it would help advance his status, Rory would literally kill his own sister. As far as I know it there’s nothing reputable about Rory. Then there’s Roth, edgy and mysterious and regarded as the “golden” Starling child. He basically can do no wrong. Especially compared to Rory, Roth is placed on an extremely high pedestal. And finally the fifth character that I found rises above the rest is Fennrys Wolf a.k.a. Mr. Amnesia. It was hard really getting to know him mostly because he doesn’t know himself (LOL). But his protective and sweet-natured ways do shine through the confusion and memory loss, especially around Mason. There’s also quite a few other characters but I don’t feel they’re entirely worth mentioning. Many times I actually asked myself “Why do we need to meet this character or what purpose do they play?” Starling featured 3rd person multiple POVS. ”Oy vey.” I don’t know if it’s because I don’t read many 3rd person POVS or it was Livingston’s style but half the time I was utterly confused, not knowing who was saying or doing what. I had a very hard time keeping track and distinguishing between multiple characters. Many times I had to re-read a section. I also found the sheer number of POVS overwhelming. Just about every character introduced was spotlighted either frequently or periodically. There was just too many people to keep up with. The mythology aspect was pretty interesting and entirely unique. Before Starling I’d never read any book featuring Norse gods or myths. From the synopsis I figured we’d just be dealing with Norse, but surprisingly we also get some Egyptian and Greek god(s) interfering in the story. I personally love whenever an author features multiple mythological beliefs and paths because I’m a firm believer that all gods stand on equal footing. I know very little of Norse mythology so luckily Livingston provides us with the inside scoop to get us familiar with the Norse “tales of old”. There was also a downside to these scoops. The majority of the time I found myself waist-deep in information overload. As a newbie I was fed a bunch information regarding Ragnarok (Norse version of “the end of the world”). Many times I was confused when a character would act a certain way because of Ragnarok, especially when it came to the other gods. I felt like I was given a lot of information but couldn’t actually utilize it fully. Overall Starling was a decent book. It was an entertaining yet difficult read. Although the story and characters we’re imaginative and detailed; I just found too much fault when it came to the mechanics. I’m sure I’ll read book two but I don’t think I’ll necessarily rush to get it.