The Star Shard

Cymbril feels like a bird in a cage. Her task is to sing, to draw crowds to the markets offered by Master Rombol, lord of the Thunder Rake, the only home Cymbril has known. The Rake is a city on wheels, a vast wagon that rolls over the land, its interior a labyrinth of stairways, corridors, chambers, and secret doors.

When Cymbril befriends a fellow slave, a boy named Loric, one of the mysterious Fey, she dreams of a life beyond the Rake, and the two begin to plan their escape. But dangers haunt the shadows—the ominous Eye women, the perilous Night Market, the terrors of the Groag Swamp, and something that stalks the night’s dark byways, hunting . . . 

Survival will depend upon courage, loyalty, and perhaps upon a gift from Cymbril’s long-departed parents—the glowing and magical fragment of a star.


“Durbin has created a world that, though mainly confined to a single mobile city, comes alive with fantastic creatures and a varied cast of supporting characters. Cymbril herself is a strong heroine–loyal, resourceful, and brave. While this story is satisfactorily concluded with surprise revelations and limited loose ends, there is plenty of scope for a follow-up.”


“Akin to Philip Reeve’s Hungry City Chronicles but in a kid-friendly way […] a delightful fantasy”

School Library Journal

“Evocative imagery, an enthralling world, and a fully realized storyline that does not depend on future installments make this a standout among recent pre-YA fantasies.”

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (University of Illinois)

“Durbin expertly weaves magic, mystery, and music throughout the story, giving it a depth that is sometimes lacking in such children’s stories. THE STAR SHARD teaches important lessons about loyalty and determination and how both should be rewarded. It is, truly, an inspiring tale.”

Indie Reader Houston

“Durbin held us spellbound. [His] fantasy world is woven in tantalizing detail. His characters are multi-dimensional and original. He leads us through his world with equal measures of heart-stopping adventure and awakened awareness […]THE STAR SHARD is a must read for fantasy fans of any age.”

The News-Gazette

“This gentle adventure is just right for readers who dream of the beauty of fairy realms more than the dangers lurking therein.”

Shelf Awareness

“I loved this book […] the plot was very intriguing.”

Sacramento Book Review

“I highly recommend THE STAR SHARD to fans of fantasy and coming of age stories. Anyone that enjoys middle school or young adult novels with cleverly drawn characters will enjoy the book.”

Yahoo! Voices

“An engrossing, fascinating tale that is as imaginative [as] and reminsicent of Hayao Miyazaki’s beautiful stories, including Spirited Away and Howl’s Moving Castle, THE STAR SHARD is a wondrous fantasy read.”

Paranormal Indulgence

“THE STAR SHARD exceeded expectations [...] With a plot fraught with twists and turns, skeleton keys and potion-induced beauty, THE STAR SHARD reads like a clear well of water. It’s refreshing and free of angst or love triangles. Just pure adventure.”

A Thousand Little Words

“A pleasure to read. The ebb and flow of the action was perfectly paced [...] very charming.”

Kiss the Book

“Reading THE STAR SHARD made me feel the magic and excitement I felt when I first discovered this genre as a young adult. Fantasy fans and those looking to try out the genre for the first time — should put this on their to-read list for 2012.”

Operation Geek

“The charm of old-school fantasy blends with the mechanics of steampunk […] the lush, almost poetic prose is something readers will want to linger over.”

Project Muse

“I recommend this book to everyone without reservations.”

Bookworm Lisa

Awards & Accolades