TITLE: Spinning Starlight
AUTHOR: R.C. Lewis
PUBLISHER: Disney Hyperion
GENRE: Young Adult, Retelling, Sci Fi, Romance
RATING: 4/5 Stars
Sixteen-year-old heiress and paparazzi darling Liddi Jantzen hates the spotlight. But as the only daughter in the most powerful tech family in the galaxy, it's hard to escape it. So when a group of men shows up at her house uninvited, she assumes it's just the usual media-grubs. That is, until shots are fired. Liddi escapes, only to be pulled into an interplanetary conspiracy more complex than she ever could have imagined. Her older brothers have been caught as well, trapped in the conduits between the planets. And when their captor implants a device in Liddi's vocal cords to monitor her speech, their lives are in her hands: One word, and her brothers are dead.
Desperate to save her family from a desolate future, Liddi travels to another world, where she meets the one person who might have the skills to help her bring her eight brothers home—a handsome dignitary named Tiav. But without her voice, Liddi must use every bit of her strength and wit to convince Tiav that her mission is true. With the tenuous balance of the planets deeply intertwined with her brothers' survival, just how much is Liddi willing to sacrifice to bring them back?
What I Liked:
- I had never really heard of 'The Wild Swans' (Hans Christian Andersen's Fairy Tale that this book retells) before reading this. I did my research and looked up a synopsis of it so that I could draw some comparisons to the book. I have to say that this story really got the retelling balance right! It had some obvious similarities to the original but also some surprising differences to keep it fresh and exciting! The story was a good one too and it kept me hooked from beginning to end. I felt like Lewis had a real grip on the pacing so I never got bored, nor did it feel too fast for me to handle.
- Liddi, the heroine of a story, was a a well-written character. From the very beginning she came across as more than just the spoilt, fame-hungry socialite that she was seen as by the society that she lived in. She was actually clever, focused and desperate to prove herself. Considering that she can't speak for most of the book, I found her to be a witty, exciting character too. She was certainly able to handle herself in a tough situation!
- The world-building was really nice. Lewis had to write herself not one, but eight whole planets and I think she gave each of them a good look. I loved the idea of different career paths/passions being found on each one (it does make a lot of sense) and helped to divide those worlds up in a manageable way. I would really love to explore more of this universe, as Lewis hints at a whole host of other planets and races to consider 'out there'.
What I Disliked:
- The techiness of it did start to grate on me after a while. Lewis' characters are technological innovators and so the main story-line revolves around this hugely complex scientific problem that needs to be solved. At times for me? It all felt a bit like babble and I couldn't really get my head around how it worked or even what on earth they were talking about. Mostly, I skimmed those parts. It was sad because I felt like if the descriptions hadn't been so long or wordy, I could have understood! I don't think this was helped by Liddi's lack of voice, as most of the time she ended up having to draw pictures or gesture to communicate her thoughts and ideas.
- While Liddi was a great character, some of the side characters fell a bit flat for me. The villainess of the story hardly appeared in it and never really felt like a huge threat. Liddi's brothers as well, as there were eight of them, came as more of a collective than individual personalities. It was hard to connect with them though Lewis did a phenomenal job of trying to rectify this with flashbacks to the past (which were probably my favourite moments to read).
This book was really fun, and it was so good to have another Fairy Tale inspired read that I enjoyed. These books are my favourite types of books to read for a reason. Lewis did a wonderful job with the world-building, the heroine and the story-line and she's made me appreciate this not so well known Fairy Tale a whole lot more. I love it when authors tackle a less popular tale, especially if it's in an imaginative way! The scientific info-dumping did confuse me a little, and I wish that there had been a little more book space to get to know some of the characters surrounding Liddi better. The romance at least was fun to read though could have been a little more fully developed with more pages. Overall, a read I would recommend to all!