Jepp, Who Defied the Stars by Katherine Marsh
Fate: Is it written in the stars from the moment we are born?
Or is it a bendable thing that we can shape with our own hands?
Jepp of Astraveld needs to know.
He left his countryside home on the empty promise of a stranger, only to become a captive in a luxurious prison: Coudenberg Palace, the royal court of the Spanish Infanta. Nobody warned Jepp that as a court dwarf, daily injustices would become his seemingly unshakable fate. If the humiliations were his alone, perhaps he could endure them; but it breaks Jepp’s heart to see his friend Lia suffer.
After Jepp and Lia attempt a daring escape from the palace, Jepp is imprisoned again, alone in a cage. Now, spirited across Europe in a kidnapper’s carriage, Jepp fears where his unfortunate stars may lead him. But he can’t even begin to imagine the brilliant and eccentric new master—a man devoted to uncovering the secrets of the stars—who awaits him. Or the girl who will help him mend his heart and unearth the long-buried secrets of his past.
Jepp, Who Defied the Stars is a fantastic read. Highly philosophical but definitely grounded, Marsh’s tale tells the star-crossed story of a court dwarf. Often overlooked in history, tales like Jepp’s are intriguing and surprising. Marsh does an excellent job of mixing the fictional with the historical and does so with beautifully written language, believability, and unique characters. You’ll feel as if it’s Jepp speaking to you. The plot twists and turns without being predictable, and the setting(s) are beautifully depicted and described.
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