Title: A Wish Upon the Stars (Tales From Verania #4)
Author: T.J. Klune
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: March 27th 2018
Genre(s): High Fantasy
Page Count: 450 pages
Reviewed by: Belen
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.63 stars out of 5
Nearly a year ago, blinded by grief and betrayal, Sam of Wilds made a desperate decision to follow the Great White into the Dark Woods. Now, he emerges to a world changed.
The City of Lockes is a prison. The King has been locked away in the dungeons. The Kingdom of Verania has fallen, and the Dark wizard Myrin sits on the throne.
But soon after his return, Sam learns of a resistance fighting in his name, led by a courageous knight, a defiant prince, a pissed-off unicorn, and a half-giant who wants to smash everything in sight. If he has any hope of defeating the villains who have taken their home, Sam must face the consequences of his choices—and the friends he left behind.
Note: This review will include spoilers from the Tales From Verania series. If you haven’t read the series, including The Consumption of Magic look away now!
Are they gone?
Okay. So to recap. And beware – this might get…ramble-y.
It hasn’t been easy for Sam and his friends. Between being captured constantly and fending off Dark Wizards while also trying to complete his wizard training, Sam Haversford aka Sam of Wilds has had a lot on his plate.
Falling in love with Ryan Foxheart (the dreamiest dream to have ever been dreamed) and having Ryan fall in love with him too was nerve-wracking and epic. But ever since meeting and being bad-touched by his gypsy-grandma, Vadoma, and being told he has A Destiny of Dragons, things have gotten pretty crazy.
I have awoken, O human child. In this forest deep, in the dark of the wild. And I have seen what is in your heart. Take heed of my warning: you are not ready.
A warning. All of you will not survive until the end. There will be loss, Sam. And it will burn like nothing has ever burned before. You must remember to keep in the light, even when the dark begins to curl around your feet.
He went on a quest to gather the dragons of Verania: the desert dragon, the mated pair in the Northern Mountains, the Great White in the Dark Woods.
During his journey he is marked for consumption by Morgan’s brother, and Randall’s great love and cornerstone (can’t forget that part), Myrin who escaped a shadow realm he was banished to because Morgan and Randall didn’t have the hearts to kill him.
There is loss that shapes the decision for Sam to take the Great White dragon up on his offer to help him.
Come away with me, O human child.
In this forest deep, in the dark of the wild.
Where in these woods, you’ll face your fear,
as time doth stretch toward a year.
Which brings us to the final chapter in this epic journey. A Wish Upon the Stars.
Fate can be a terrible thing.
I love a lot about A Wish Upon the Stars. From the laugh out loud humor that never overshadows the story, and provides enough of a break from some heavy emotional times, to the fact that even though Sam has been gone for nearly a year his “homecoming” was everything I thought it would be. And I love its satisfying conclusion to Sam’s journey.
But, let’s be honest, mostly I have just waiting for the big showdowns: The comeuppance of Myrin, Caleb, Ruv, and Tina and to find out what the hell happened to Gary’s horn.
Morgan’s death at the end of The Consumption of Magic wrecked me. Literally, like snot-nosed, red-eyed, hitching breaths wrecked me. Aside from Tiggy, Morgan was my favorite character of the series. He was like a brother-uncle-father all rolled into one gloriously sarcastic package.
I wanted Caleb, Ruv, and Myrin to die. I wanted revenge upon the vile betrayer, Lady Tina DeSilva! I wanted to see her flayed alive and then burned slowly with acid for the part she played in turning the entire kingdom of Verania against Sam and actively participating in the plot with Caleb and Ruv to kill Sam which resulted in the near death of Ryan Foxheart and the consumption of Morgan by his evil Dark brother, Myrin.
- I believe my exact words were: “My raging hatred for her is epic and I want her to die slowly and painfully, preferably to be flayed alive and have her skin be used to bind Sam’s grimoire.” I wanted to see the proper comeuppance of the she-bitch Tina. And let’s just say, without spoiling anything (too much) that happens in A Wish Upon the Stars…I was bitterly disappointed in that regard. But not about what else happens. Nope, no disappointment there.
The crowd gasped dramatically.
“Still not disappointed!” that first voice called out again. “In fact, I am so far from disappointed, it’s ridiculous!”
Told from Sam’s point of view, but the reader is given glimpses of other points of view through Morgan, Myrin, and Randall’s journals, wait! I meant grimoires, and Gary’s reenactment of the day he lost his horn.
“Having a horn doesn’t make the unicorn,” Mom told Gary.
“Yes,” Dad said. “It’s about what’s on the inside that counts.”
“And your insides are filled with rainbows and sunshine,” I said. “And also rage, murderous intentions, biting sarcasm that can destroy self-esteem in four words or less, sexual deviancy that puts even whores with the loosest of morals to shame, a tendency to trample first and ask questions later, a fierceness unrivaled by anyone I’ve ever met, and the ability to make any situation that much more awkward by simply existing.”
“I’m so lovely,” Gary sobbed. “Everyone thinks so.”
“I love you with or without a horn,” Kevin said. “Also, I like putting things inside of you.”
“One day,” the King said to Justin, “these will be the people you’ll rule over.”
Justin scowled at all of us. “Is it too late to be put up for adoption?”
There’s no down time in A Wish Upon the Stars. In the other Veranian tales, there are journeys that take weeks, if not months, which allow for some breathing room in between shenanigans. This one takes place over a very short period of time, so there’s a lot packed in to a few days.
“You need to be okay,” he said roughly. “Do you understand me? I need you to be okay. I can’t do this without you, Sam. I can’t. This life… it doesn’t make sense unless I’m by your side.”
I hugged him tightly. “Never,” I whispered in his ear. “I will never let you go.”
Sam has to get filled in on everything he’s missed, and much of the news is shocking, and some is sad. There’s a return of (almost) all of our favorite characters, and the introduction of some new characters. But you can always count on the love between Sam, Gary, and Tiggy.
“I love you so godsdamn much,” Gary said fiercely.
And, of course, the love between Sam and Ryan.
“You’re my wish, you know? I think you always have been.”
There were a few things I wish had been a little different. I would have liked more show and little less tell as a lot of what the reader finds out comes from exposition. Also, there were a couple of things (the reason for Randall’s absence; Gary’s horn) that felt like they were shoehorned in solely to close off a dangling thread. But overwhelming this was a fun, funny, absorbing story that kept me on the edge of my seat waiting to see what happens next and had plenty of surprises and warm, emotional moments as well.
I love, love, love the ending!!!
So buckle up kiddos, it’s going to be a bumpy ride to “The End” and I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.