The House of Starling: Ciara Hartford *Review*

Cover image of The House of Starling by Ciara Hartford is in the centre of an image of a forest at night with fireflies everywhere. Added text: Could Raemian have been fighting the wrong war?

Genres: NA Fantasy, New Adult, Romantic Fantasy | Release Date: 9 April 2024 | Series: The Sundering of Rhend | Series Book: #1 | Pages: 387 | Indie Author | Review

“Keep your head down, little Starling, lest you lose it.”

Ciara Hartford


A *big* thank you goes to indie author Ciara Hartford, for letting me read an e-ARC of The House of Starling! This is Ciara’s debut tale and is in a genre I adore: romantic fantasy. As it’s the first in a series we are, of course, left on tenterhooks at the end… But that’s a great way to start the series, am I right?! So let’s give you an overview!

Raemian Starling has fought the Bleck Larin for years, waging war against them just as her queen (and stepmother) demands. But when she’s taken captive, little does Rae know that her life is about to change. Their king isn’t the great evil her people have been taught to believe, and the youngest prince? His kindness and empathy are a distraction Rae never could’ve expected. When Gastel takes Rae home, everything begins to unravel. What happens when the hope of brokering peace falls to pieces? Can Gastel control an immense magic that’s threatening to break free? And what secret makes Rae question everything about her life?

Cover image of The House of Starling by Ciara Hartford is to the bottom left of an image of a forest at night filled with fireflies. Added text: Some lines are meant to be crossed... Can Rae overcome a great evil & find peace?
I’d like book two of this romantic fantasy, please…

Happiness Boost:

The House of Starling is an exquisite NA romantic fantasy, and a maze of intrigue, deception and magic fully immerses the reader in this tale with every newly turned page. And can we talk about how Ciara has been able to blur the lines of good vs. evil, especially with forces outside of the elf kindred? There’s a deep magic in this book and I completely devoured it, even as I wished it could go on forever!

I actually don’t know which character I love the most, but you know what I *can* say with absolute certainty? The found family in this story would go to the ends of the earth for each other, and it fills my heart. Although Rae has no biological sibling, the bond between her and Freck couldn’t be tighter. And who knew Belkin, who has the persona of a grumpy cat, could be redeemable? I love that we get significant character growth in this first instalment of The Sundering of Rhend!

Within The House of Starling, secrets are unravelled and *all* of the feelings are unleashed. I’m so in love with how easily Ciara entwines hope and heartache together, but oh my goodness did she make me cry! It should come as no surprise for those who follow this blog, good authors tend to break my little heart. And I can tell you right now that Ciara Hartford is no exception!


This romantic fantasy is a gorgeous tale of broken hearts and desperate dreams. There’s no downside!

Final Thoughts:

The House of Starling by indie author Ciara Hartford is an emotionally charged romantic fantasy, with a looming evil ready to take control of the realm. And oh how I wish I had book two here already, because this story is magnificent! If you want a unique tale of good vs. evil? This is the novel you’ve been waiting for. Love what you’ve heard from my review? Just click on either of the links below to pre-order yourself a copy! Happy reading, glitterbugs!

You can pre-order The House of Starling via these links:

Amazon | Booktopia

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