Counted with the Stars

Written by Connilyn Cossette
Review by J. Lynn Else

Kiya has been sold by her father to help pay off his debts. Despite serving a cruel woman, Kiya finds friendship with a compassionate slave named Shira. Shira, a Hebrew, guides Kiya down a path that will change her entire way of thinking. Kiya watches her country laid to waste as the twelve plagues strike Egypt. When Kiya learns her brother’s life is on the line, will she be able to place her faith in the Hebrews’ “invisible” god to save his life? Can she place her family’s lives in the hands of the Hebrews, the people her countrymen have enslaved for countless years?

I loved journeying with Kiya both physically and spiritually. She faces issues that resonate today, including questions of acceptance, love, and trust. Her faith discoveries are heartfelt and emotionally weighted. The Hebrew and Egyptian characters are all great.

The plot, moving through the plagues of Egypt into the journey towards Mt. Sinai, is expertly paced. Additionally, character development and relationship-building create a strong, page-turning storyline. The miracles of Yahweh are enchanting and beautifully visualized.

While the plot is lyrical and multi-layered, sadly there are also many disappointing inaccuracies during the chapters set in ancient Egypt. For example: Thebes should be called Waset (“Thebes” was a Greek name for the Egyptian city); ice was not even a concept there (they did not have frozen water, so Kiya should not feel ice in her veins); an inch is not an ancient Egyptian unit of measure; and the brain was considered useless matter. Egyptians believed all thoughts and emotions came from the heart, so Kiya would never have referred to the truth being hidden in her brain/mind.

Despite these errors, I relished this book. I would recommend the book, particularly for lovers of Biblical history, but with the reservations listed above.