Counted with the Stars
About This Book
Sold into slavery by her father and forsaken by the man she was supposed to marry, young Egyptian Kiya must serve a mistress who takes pleasure in her humiliation. When terrifying plagues strike Egypt, Kiya is in the middle of it all.
To save her older brother and escape the bonds of slavery, Kiya flees with the Hebrews during the Great Exodus. She finds herself utterly dependent on a fearsome God she’s only just beginning to learn about, and in love with a man who despises her people. With everything she’s ever known swept away, will Kiya turn back toward Egypt or surrender her life and her future to Yahweh?
My favorite movie of all time may be a Biblical epic, but when it comes to reading Biblical fiction, I can’t say I’m all that much of a fan. But I met Cossette over two years ago at an American Christian Fiction Writers conference, and the moment I heard her story’s premise, I knew that it would not only get picked up by a major Christian publisher, but that once it was published, I would definitely be reading it. And I’m excited to say it did not disappoint!
While I don’t generally like first-person POV, Cossette did a good job of bringing the other characters to life through the eyes and words of just the one storyteller, Kiya. The story started out strong and I loved the fresh retelling of the 10 plagues and the Exodus through the perspective of an Egyptian. Cossette also nails her historical accuracy, including such bizarre-to-us-now details as shaved heads and men in eyeliner, so that I really felt I was there in ancient Egypt, sweating beneath heavy woolen wigs, swarmed with bugs and frogs, and watching the Nile turn to blood. As Christians looking back in hindsight, I think there’s a tendency to believe all the Israelites knew exactly what was happening throughout the whole plagues and mass departure from Egypt. I therefore found Cossette’s narrative extremely thought-provoking and engaging, as she used the physical geography of Egypt and the sheer number of Israelites being freed to remind me that no, even the people supposedly “in the know” couldn’t possibly be aware of everything all the time. This added yet another fresh perspective to the genre that I thoroughly enjoyed. I could easily see this being made into a movie one day!
The only part of Counted with the Stars that didn’t thrill me was once Kiya and the Israelites were out of Egypt. At that point in the story, I felt the pace begin to drag a bit and the plot seemed to lose that fresh originality of its opening chapters in favor of a litany of miraculous experiences that, while historically accurate, began to feel a bit too preachy and out-of-sync with the rest of the book. This section of the story also had a bit more internal dialogue than I care for, as Kiya’s single-person point of view forced a lot of key action”off screen,” thereby forcing the author to “tell” what was happening instead of “showing” me.
Still, there is a lot to love about Counted with the Stars, and I will definitely be adding this to my keeper shelf… and holding my breath for the sequel! This outstanding debut novel is not to be missed!
Available April 5, 2016 from Bethany House Publishers