SPINNING STARLIGHT charts a course for wonder and originality!
When it comes to the Young Adult genre, fairytale retellings are the new dystopia. They’re trendy and addicting, but with varying degrees of originality and pull. Thankfully, R.C. Lewis weaves an enchanting tale of mayhem and mystery in the latest fairytale retelling on our radar, Spinning Starlight.
At sixteen-years-old, Liddi Jantzen is one of the most well-known figures in the Seven Points. Liddi is the heiress of the galaxy’s largest tech conglomerate and a reluctant media darling, constantly surrounded by people who care more about her status than her true self. The only exceptions are her eight older brothers, all tech geniuses with whom she has a special bond, despite the fact that she feels much different than them.
On the day Liddi’s casual existence is interrupted by armed mercenaries bursting into her home, she barely escapes unharmed, only to discover that all of her brothers have gone missing. It isn’t long until her quest for answers finds her stuck in the middle of a plot that will mean certain death for her brothers if she doesn’t find a way out. In her desperation, Liddi accidentally finds herself alone and unable to speak in the one place she never expected: An eighth point in the galaxy she believed to be a myth.
R.C. Lewis proves to be a savvy, capable worldbuilder throughout the novel. From Sampati to Ferrine, you can’t help but be drawn in by the unique settings and established cultures in the tale. The character’s strange, outside presence makes a big impact on the new world, though it sometimes feels like Liddi’s spending too much time there. You discover a new way of life alongside Liddi, but the details are fun and easy to soak up. At the same, Liddi isn’t always able to be proactive and her non-verbal state mixed with a desire not to communicate feels like an extra speed bump for the sake of drawing out the plot at times.
There’s lots of science involved was fairly easy to follow, but sometimes got really caught up in itself. For instance, the antagonist captures Liddi’s brothers and traps them in this neither-here-nor-there location in the space-time continuum. She thinks doing so will save the Seven Points by ensuring their time travel capabilities don’t fail, but she doesn’t really explain the logic behind it all. Unfortunately, it does make the barely-there villain feel a bit cookie cutter at times with the “I have to do this, you wouldn’t understand” defense. Still, we didn’t mind too much. This novel isn’t so much about the conclusion as it’s about how we get to that point and the science isn’t so mind-boggling you can’t possibly follow along.
Spinning Starlight also weaves in a bit of romance. It’s definitely there, but it’s not overdone. Liddi’s love interest, Tiav, is a sweet, honest character who goes with his gut instinct and also happens to come from a respected family of leaders. He falters at times as he tries to understand Liddi’s purpose on his planet, but he genuinely means well. However, Liddi’s inability to communicate with words and minimal understanding of the writing system makes this a bit stilted as well, because the two come together without really having much of a conversation or seeing any true personality shining through. Which is a shame, because Liddi has personality!
The story has its fair share of action and comes to a satisfying ending; one that leaves plenty of room for curiosity but doesn’t feel like a giant loose end.
If you’re curious, the book is a retelling of Han Christian Andersen’s The Wild Swans. Admittedly, we weren’t familiar with the tale before we picked out this book. We read a synopsis after and it’s definitely fair to say that the concept is recognizable, but it certainly is NOT a rip-off of the original with some slight repackaging. Should new sci-fi takes on fairy tale magic interest you, Spinning Starlight is a tale worth gazing at!
Spinning Starlight is out October 6, 2015.
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 show 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?
Haunting and mesmerizing, this retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Wild Swans strings the heart of the classic with a stunning, imaginative world as a star-crossed family fights for survival in this companion to Stitching Snow.