Last year I had the opportunity to read and review The Mountains Bow Down by Sibella Giorello. I enjoyed it and was excited when the next installment in the series, The Stars Shine Bright, came out.

While I still think Giorello is a very talented writer, and I did enjoy the novel, I honestly don’t think it lived up to my expectations. I think this one would be more difficult to understand without some of the back story, as previous events are frequently referenced. I also found the Christian/faith aspect to be a little more heavy-handed in this installment, and sometimes it feels a little forced – like out of nowhere Raleigh (the main character) is praying or something.

The two main problems I had with The Stars Shine Bright are that 1. Raleigh is extremely angst-y about lying…but she’s an undercover FBI agent. I personally don’t regard an undercover op as lying; it’s more like acting. I guess if being an actor automatically makes one a liar then I could see why she would feel so guilty, but you would think the FBI would include training on this subject before they send an agent out into the field. 2. There are some “political” messages tucked in there, also feeling kind of forced. One regards creation vs. evolution and the other is about abortion. Personally I do not turn to a work of fiction to learn a moral lesson or re-consider my political views so I find it really annoying to run across this sort of thing in a novel.

However, I found the premise of the story interesting: Raleigh is undercover at a horse track, so it was interesting to learn more about that world. And the backstory was progressed in some interesting (although not unexpected) ways. This book actually reminded me very strongly of the Temperance Brennan novels, except Raleigh is a forensic geologist instead of a forensic anthropologist so there’s way less blood. But if you enjoy the Kathy Reichs/Temperance Brennan series, you would likely enjoy this series as well. Unless you just really like reading about decayed tissue.

Here are the other blogs on the tour, and here is a Kindle Fire giveaway hosted by the author, Sibella Giorello.

This book was provided for review by the LitFuse Publicity Group.

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