Thursday, February 5, 2015

The Stillness of the Sky by Starla Huchton - Review, Guest Post & Giveaway



The Stillness of the Sky
A Flipped Fairy Tale

Starla Huchton

YA Fantasy
February 2, 2015

Amazon | Goodreads


"Once upon a time, my life was certain: it was insignificant, and it was cruel. But I refused to let it define me, no matter how great the cost.

Once upon a time, I made a wish. The world I knew grew wider than the sky and higher than the stars, and I listened to the voice within me, reaching out for freedom.


Once upon a time, my wish became my fate, and my destiny the hardest lesson to learn: kindness may be the most difficult path, but it can save entire kingdoms.”

Guest Post by Starla Huchton

Which Fairy Tales had the Biggest Effect on Your Childhood??

Well, I’ll be completely honest here. While I did read some fairy tales growing up, they aren’t really the stories I remember from my youth. At least, the typical Grimms Brothers tales aren’t, as I always preferred Greek myths. Fairy tales were always filled with helpless princesses and people doing some really dumb stuff, and they didn’t really speak to me as a kid. That might be a little shocking coming from someone who’s writing flipped fairy tales now, but I think maybe the problems I had with those stories as a kid are responsible for why I’m rewriting them now.

Take my new book, The Stillness of the Sky, as an example. The original tale of Jack and the Beanstalk is about a boy who gets conned by an old man into trading his only possession for magic beans. Of course he gets in trouble because now he and his mother are going to starve. The beanstalk grows anyway, Jack goes up, and then manipulates the giant’s wife into hiding him so he can steal from the giant not once, not twice, but THREE TIMES. And then kills the giant when the dude comes to take his stuff back.

Now, you can look at this as a “poor boy uses his cleverness to make something of himself” story, or you can look at it as a “Jack did something really dumb, stole a bunch of stuff, and killed someone” story.

I know which way I’ve always seen it. I’ve never really held Jack in high regard.

So this really comes down to taking a story I didn’t like so much and turning it into something I thought was better. Jack is now Jacqueline (Jack for short, of course), but she doesn’t make that stupid deal. But even though she’s never had much luck, she’s always tried to make the best of every situation and get by without hurting anyone, and helping where she can. Jack doesn’t steal a goose that lays golden eggs, she befriends a bird desperately in need of someone who truly cares for him. Rather than steal a magical golden harp, Jack IS the harp and finds a way back to freedom when she’s locked away. When presented with an option to bring harm to those who’ve wronged her, she instead looks for the best possible solution for everyone. Kindness in all things is Jack’s motto, and it’s a much, much better message than telling kids to sneak into people’s houses, steal their stuff, and murder them if they try to get their things back. At least, I like to think it’s a better message anyway.

I’d liked to say I “fixed” the original story, but what I think is better to say is that I planted something in fertile soil, just to see what might grow out of it. Sometimes you get lima beans. Other times, you get a massive beanstalk leading the way to enchanted Bards, daring adventures, real love, and a new kind of hero that doesn’t need armor or a sword. In times like those, you get far more than you ever dreamed possible, and not even the sky can limit you.

My Review: I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review

If you haven't read anything by Starla Huchton, you are really missing out on a great author. Whether superhero romance or a fairy tale retelling, her stories pull me in like few can. The Stillness of the Sky is no exception-- in fact I think this may be my favorite of her novels.

In this flipped fairy tale, Jack was a sixteen-year-old girl, and a wonderful role-model for anyone. She led a hard, traumatic life, yet had nothing but kindness for everyone around her. I loved the characters in this novel. Whether good or bad, they were all so well-developed. Ro, the magical bird, was a particular favorite.

The story was captivating, drawing me in to the point that I was completely lost to the outside world. I laughed and I cried a lot. Filled with vivid descriptions, Ms. Huchton wove an amazing tale as we followed Jack on her journey of self-discovery. I loved the romance between Jack and Will-- it was just so sweet. The ending left me smiling... but best of all, the story left me with a feeling of hope.

The Stillness of the Sky is appropriate for all age levels. Sweeping adventure and romance make this novel impossible to put down once started. One of the best I've read in a long time.

About the Author

A geek of all trades, Starla Huchton has been crafting stories in various genres since 2007. Her first novel, The Dreamer’s Thread, was released as a full cast audiobook podcast, becoming a double-nominee and finalist for the 2010 Parsec Awards. After releasing short fiction of steampunk, noir fantasy, and other varieties, she released the first three books of the Sci-Fi Romance Endure series in 2013. All three books of the Evolution series, a New Adult Superhero Romance series, were released in 2014, as well as a Steampunk Fantasy novel, Master of Myth (the Antigone’s Wrath series, book 1), which was the first place winner of the Crested Butte Writers’ contest, The Sandy, in 2012. Shadows on Snow, a gender-flipped retelling of Snow White, releases in November 2014.

When not writing, Starla trains three Minions, a black lab, and a military husband whilst designing book covers for independent authors and publishers at DesignedByStarla.com.

Author Links

Other Works by Starla A.K.A S.A.
Evolution Series

The Endure Series
Maven #1
Paradigm #4 (WIP)

The Antigone’s Wrath Series

Master of Machines #2 (WIP)

Stand Alones

A Flipped Fairy Tale

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13 comments:

  1. I'm so happy the story resonated with you, Kimber! Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts!

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  2. I would wish for my husband that his bad back and blood clots in his legs would go away so he could enjoy walking normally again.
    Bonnie Hilligoss
    bonnie at bonnieanddave dot com

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  3. I would wish my Uncle Tommy wouldn't go blind from diabetes. (Which is slowly happening. Or not so slowly, depending on how you look at it.)

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  4. I would wish for my younger sibling's college debts and things to be paid off. Or for my parents to get a bigger, nicer house and a decent, working car since their other one broke down.

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    Replies
    1. It would be nice to lose the college debts, and having a working car is crucial... at least where I live.

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  5. I would wish for my mom to get better!

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    Replies
    1. When I was a child, I used to wish that my brother would get his sight and hearing back.

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