May 3
2021

Booklist on Star Eater

Star Eater by Kerstin Hall

“El works as part of the Order, a sisterhood and core central body that rules Aytrium and keeps it running. Her magic, or “lace,” is powered by consuming the flesh of her ancestors. This power comes at a harsh price, and it’s one that El is willing to escape at any cost, which is why she agrees when a resistance group asks her to spy on the sisterhood’s top officials. Hall’s world is intricately woven, with a complex web of side characters, suspenseful pacing, and slowly unraveling revelations. The Order and the world of Aytrium is exceedingly dark, and sexual assault and body horror are major parts of the plot….All of that said, Star Eater is an exciting horror-fantasy about power, violence, and control, and El’s complicated quest to be free of the violent magic system at the sisterhood’s core will keep readers compelled from the first page.” — Booklist

Mar 11
2021

Library Journal starred review for Star Eater

Star Eater by Kerstin Hall

“As a member of the Sisterhood of Aytrium, Elfreda Raughn is part of a magical bloodline that preceded her, from her mother to her grandmother and generations back. But it is the same bloodline that forces Elfreda into eventual pregnancy and unavoidable death. Hoping for a way to escape her fate, Elfreda finds a mysterious group, those who believe the power of the Sisterhood has gone too far. Acting as their spy, Elfreda infiltrates a world of opulence and cunning, as drought and rationing affects the rest of Aytrium. With her closest friends by her side, Elfreda discovers that freedom could come at great cost, for the Sisterhood has made many sacrifices to keep its power, and Elfreda could find she is the next to pay. Systemic power structures built on the back of a dead god, ritualistic cannibalism, and magical disease are balanced with emotional themes of love and regret. VERDICT: Hall’s (The Border Keeper) solid worldbuilding and strong prose create an utterly gripping novel that blends the boundaries of horror and fantasy.” — Library Journal, Starred Review

Feb 1
2021

Star Eater is one of Book Riot’s Most Anticipated Books of 2021

Star Eater by Kerstin Hall is one of Book Riot’s Most Anticipated Books of 2021!

“This book had me at phantasmagorical fantasy. As a fan of Kerstin Hall’s sprawling novella The Border Keeper, I’ve been eager for more of her work, and Star Eater sounds like a bloody knock-out. It follows Elfreda, who wants out of the Sisterhood that seeks to use her to create a powerful bloodline. This book tackles issues with hereditary magic, which is often used for the passing of power in so much of the fantasy genre. For that alone, this will be a haunting and much-needed read, but then there’s also spying and cannibalistic magic. Yes please, put this book in my veins (blood pun intended).” — Book Riot

May 19
2020

The Border Keeper shortlisted for Nommo Award!

The Border Keeper by Kerstin Hall has been shortlisted in the novella category for the 2020 Nommo Awards from the African Speculative Fiction Society!

Jul 30
2019

Tor.com on The Border Keeper

The Border Keeper by Kerstin Hall

“In Kerstin Hall’s Border Keeper the characters are required by natural law to tell the truth, and yet no one is what they seem. Familiar mythology is turned on its head. And ruminations on grief and healing are whispered alongside a quest narrative that is at once traditional and anything but.

If this sounds like a lot for one little novella, it is. Hall’s economy of worldbuilding is nothing less than profound. The Border Keeper, even aside from its haunting prose and memorable characters, is a wonderful example of its form. It is short, sweet, and anything but shallow.

The Border Keeper is simply creepy. It’s haunting and evocative, even beyond this toying with our expectations and comfort zones. Images like baby doll arms rattling in the wind, a child trapped inside of a crab, and creatures playing demonic symphonies on ghost ships fill the pages of the novella, every one of them surprising and vivid and a little bit terrifying. If Hall has built her world in familiar mythology, she has made that world interesting by turning it sideways and shaking it.

The Border Keeper is both readable and re-readable. So much in the story is significant only in hindsight, and its imagery is just as surreal and unsettling the second time. The ending itself, while abrupt, felt earned. Hall could write a whole series in this world, and I’d read ithowever, I love that this is a novella. Its compactness and its finely drawn characters make it a real delight to read and ruminate on.” — Tor.com

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