Fans of the Deltora Quest books were excited when this novel was published – after all, Deltora Quest got many into reading who otherwise would not have glanced at a book. The Star of Deltora series takes place a few decades after Deltora Quest.

This book is amazing on a number of levels. Many readers report having found a “familiarity” with various themes in the story.

To tap into the emotions and thoughts of readers like this demonstrates that Emily Rodda is nothing short of a brilliant author.

Items to be traded like a rare cobalt blue candlestick, an old character from ‘before the siege’ who is secretly collecting old lanterns and a young girl who must prove herself despite her family’s misgivings – these are all elements of the plot.

The story goes that rather than have inheritance determine her ship’s future, an old woman captain advertises a competition to find the best traders in the land. The winners will become apprentices aboard the Star.

In a series of tests, Britta must prove she has the character, skills and knowledge to take her place on the ship as an apprentice trader. Like her father, she has trading in her blood and is determined and ambitious, but Britta must cope with the criticism of her family as well as unfair advantages given to her competitors. A shameful family secret also stands in her way and is an obstacle she must overcome.

Britta is thrown into jail and has to deal with several ghostly characters along the way, adding drama to the story.

“Waifs” or shadows beckon and call to her. The waifs are never evil; they are frightening, but helpful to Britta when she is in need. When there is a death in the story, it is never malicious or with evil intent, though the story experiences some relief at the harmful character’s passing.

For young readers who need encouragement, I would recommend persistence. By mid-story, this story becomes fascinating. In true Emily Rodda style, a storyteller’s feast awaits the reader.

Like many others, I admire Emily Rodda’s characters because they struggle against difficult backgrounds or tragic circumstances. Evil characters do not thrive and good always wins out in the end with Emily Rodda’s stories.

I enjoyed the story very much and look forward to reading more in the series.

A former children’s librarian, Jane Fagan is currently a full-time wife and mother of two.