A Star- Reckoner’s Lot by Darrell Drake

This historical fantasy tells the story of Ashtandukht, a star- reckoner, who travels across Sassanian Iran to hunt mythical creatures. She must face many obstacles on her path to retribution.

Without a doubt, A Star- Reckoner’s Lot is a perfect read for fans of combat and adventure. The fight scenes are realistic, and the surprises Ashtandukht meets on her way would satisfy every adventure’s enthusiast. Furthermore, the pace of the story is fast and makes the reader keep turning the pages.

Ashtandukht is brave and strong woman. Her life is not easy, she suffers after loss of her beloved husband. Her cousin Tirdad, who accompanies her during the journey, is fully devoted to her. No matter what happens, Ashtandukht can always rely on him. The third character, Waray- half- div, is minor character who is supposed to serve to complement the main characters. However, for me she is the most intriguing one. She is eccentric and mysterious creature. Actually, Waray does not talk too much. Most of the time she says “maybe”, but still she is the most compelling character.asrl_cover.png

There is not gratuitous amount of sex in the book, which I really appreciate. Few sex scenes do not take the reader aback and do not ruin the story.

The book cover catches the eye and attracts to read the synopsis. It is beautiful, looks like a billboard that definitely will help to sell the book.

The book has several flaws. First and foremost, I expected more detailed picture of the creatures. Description might not be so important in other genres but it is fundamental element for successful fantasy book. Memorable and fascinating description is a key to make readers feel the story.

In my opinion, the author did not exploit the potential of Iran. Historical background for fantasy book is a great idea but I expected to read more about the remarkable places and extremely rich culture of the country. Moreover, the author focuses on Nowruz holiday, while there is much more to explore in Iranian legends.

Darrell Drake has very specific writing style. His vocabulary is very rich and often he uses “big” words when actually simple ones would be more suitable. I am afraid that some readers might find the language a bit too heavy.

In summary, A Star Reckoner’s Lot is a decent fantasy read with historical background. I recommend it for combat and adventure enthusiasts.

Overall rating: 3.5/5.0

I received the book from the author in exchange for honest review. A Star Reckoner’s Lot will be published in October.

20 thoughts on “A Star- Reckoner’s Lot by Darrell Drake

  1. If you like beautiful prose All the light we cannot see by Doerr is an excellent read. The Narrow Road to the Deep north by Flanagan is good but it is more serious and shows the realities of war. The Historian is about finding the secret of the actual Dracula.

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  2. An interesting meld of genres, Iran seems to be a place of held in potential in the real world as well so an unlooked for similarity is intriguing. I don’t think this one is for me thanks to your well thought out review.

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  3. I was surprised by how few books cover Sassanian Iran. I can’t find any fiction that do (in English), with the exception of the Shahnameh, of course. It’s certainly an empire that deserves more attention. Mighty yet unsung and all.

    As Patrisya noted, I tried to weave the setting into the book more subtly while staying the history, geography, and lore for those interested.

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  4. Hi Darrell, thank you for visiting my blog! You are right, there aren’t too many books that cover Sassanian Iran. I really like books with strong historical background and that is why I expected to read more about Iran in your book. I guess readers, who are not big fans of historical elements in fantasy books would have different opinion than me.


  5. I absolutely understand, Patrisya. It could have been covered in more detail, and I’m equipped for it that’s for sure. If it did spark an interest in Sassanian Iran, mind if I suggest some reading?


    Touraj Daryaee’s From Oxus to Euphrates is a good start. It’s inexpensive, covers the breadth of the empire, and serves as a fantastic introduction to Sassanian Iran: Beyond that, I suggest giving The Oxford Handbook of Ancient Iran and The Cambridge History of Iran Vol. 3 a read. If you’d like more books, I put together a partial bibliography here:


  6. The Shahnemeh is on my list of books to read. There seems to be more bridging of the divide in terms of books outside outside set Europe being not onl translated into English/being written by European authors but also a change in the marketing of them as well, although still a long way to go on that score.

    The book does sound more interesting the more I read about it…thanks for the links you supplied as well, I love learning.

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  7. Anytime. I enjoy sharing the history and culture of Sassanian Iran, and discussing it in general. The Shahnameh was really a fantastic read, and one I’d highly recommend (the national epic of Iran no less). If you’re looking for something similar, give the Hamzanama a gander. The Shahnameh concerns pre-Islam, and the Hamzanama follows where the Shahnameh left off. Both great reads.

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