From the moment Dominque Valente’s debut children’s novel, ‘Starfell: Willow Moss and the Lost Day,’ landed on my doorstep I had a feeling that this book was going to be something special and I’m pleased to say my instincts were spot on. I was immediately drawn to the gorgeous cover illustrated by Sarah Warburton, promising a truly delicious read, bursting with magic and wonder. I’ve always been a fan of books with witches so was intrigued to see how ‘Starfell,’ would bring an unique twist to the magic genre and it has truly delivered an intriguing and original concept. Willow Moss is the youngest and least powerful witch in her family, the power to find lost socks, missing teeth and misplaced glasses is not very exciting. Not only that, Willow failed to inherit her mother’s striking looks – unlike her sisters – feeling like a general disappointment to her family, she’s constantly left behind. But this seemingly dull power to find things that are lost becomes crucial when Tuesday disappears and Willow is sought out by the most powerful and intimidating witch in the whole of Starfell. Can Willow find the lost day and save Starfell from impending catastrophe?
Dominque has conjured up the most glorious of places in Starfell, through the most exquisite and intricate world-building. I felt an immediate connection to the misfit Willow who feels lost and unloved except by her somewhat eccentric and confused Granny Flossy. Her willingness to step into the unknown with Moreg Vaine in the face of confusion and uncertainty is admirable. At last Willow is being given the chance to prove she is as worthy as the rest of her family. It shows the reader the transformative power of someone having belief in your abilities and how it can give you the courage to face the world. The characterisation in this story is just sublime, Dominque has assembled the most magnificent cast of characters. I have a particular fondness for Oswin the cantankerous kobld – who is most definitely not a cat, despite the canny resemblance. Just when you think this book can’t get any better, enter Sarah Warburton with the most dreamy, beautiful illustrations and fabulous imaginings of the characters. I’ve long been a fan of her brilliant ability to capture the essence of someone’s personality in her creations. ‘Starfell,’ is magical storytelling at it’s very best. An enchanting start to this wonderful series, I can’t wait to go on more adventures with Willow.
Thank you to Laura and Harper Collins for sending me a gifted copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. ‘Starfell: Willow Moss and the Lost Day,’ is available to buy online now or from any good bookshop.