Author’s Note: The events of this novella occur before the events of Justice Buried, Starbright Book One. Stian’s Mistake may be read as a prequel or in publication order (after Balance Broken, Starbright Book Two).
The Hero’s Mission: All Stian wants is to be seen for who he is.
Not just an orphaned wanderer or a skilled warrior, but someone worthy of belonging to the Tribe of Hebron. He dreams of fulfilling his father’s broken legacy - leading the Tribe to the Garden.
Zarea understands him, but her future is tied to a secret past that could tear the Tribe apart. Her father Abraham is determined to keep this past buried, so he awards Stian the Hero’s Mission.
If Stian lives long enough to succeed, he will secure the Tribe’s loyalty and gain a chance to marry Zarea one day.
But Stian isn’t the only one to accept this mission - and only one man can become a Hero.
I will point out from the beginning that I am not in "Stian-team", and that is why it took me a while to decide whether to read Stian's Mistake or not. Now that I have, I must say I am really pleased because this Starbright novella is important from many points of view.
To begin with, the book obviously provides a thorough image of Stian, including his past, his relationship with Zarea and the Tribe and how he got himself into the situation we encounter him in the first book of the Starbright series - Justice Buried. Although I am not particularly keen on this character, I am glad I know more about him now. Also, I am glad I found out the history between him and Zarea, who is, by the way, the daughter of the Tribe's ruler. Justice Buried ends before giving much detail related to this sensitive subject. Stian and Zarea are a cute couple, but I found both quite hesitant - Zarea in particular. There are indeed many impediments getting in the way of their happiness and I feel sorry for them.
Anyway, we are definitely going to hear more from Zarea in the next books because she proves herself as a weighty character in Stian's Mistake and not only because of her connection with Stian or with Abraham (the Leader of the Tribe), but also because of her connection with the prophecy that involves Astrea - the protagonist of Justice Buried and, naturally, of the entire Starbright series - (let's just say Astrea is not as unique as the first book suggests).
Lastly, this novella is a good read for those who want to discover in detail the post-apocalyptic world. I learned many things concerning the Tribes, the three cities - Asphodel, Tartarus, Elysium - and the so-called Great Sickness (term used by the population of Asphodel and describing the phenomenon that reduced the world to the cities and tribes) or Cleansing (this term is used by Stian and his people). Yet, as with Justice Buried, Stian's Mistake needed, as far as I am concerned, a little more description of the settings. I would have also enjoyed if I had read about the customs and traditions of the Tribe. Therefore I am not fully satisfied with the world-building.
To sum up, I recommend Stian's Mistake, especially to those who want to get to know Stian and Zarea (and her actual role in this big story) better and to those who simply want to have a broadened look of the Starbrightverse.