By Frederic S. Durbin
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $16.99, 310 pages

The only life twelve-year-old Cymbril clearly remembers is that of being on the Rake – a massive traveling merchant town on top of a wagon. She is slave to the master of Rake, Rombol, and sings at each village stop for the townsfolk doing their trading. Cymbril is lonely but accepting of her life until an elfen boy Loric is purchased by Rombol. Stealing moments away to talk with Loric, Cymbril learns more about herself, her origins and her capability than she ever thought possible. Together, they must work fast to escape the village of Rake or face a lifetime of slavery.

The Star Shard is a delightful children’s novel by author Frederic S. Durbin. His first children’s book, it is an impressive debut.  He has created a world full of possibilities and danger in Rake and the towns it travels to and shows a world in which bargaining for anything and everything is the status quo among humans and fae alike. The character of Cymbril springs to life on the page, as do the supporting characters. Both children show that anything is possible as long as you don’t give up. Older children will greatly enjoy this novel.

Reviewed by Barbara Cothern