Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Book Review: Spinning Starlight by R.C. Lewis

Spinning Starlight by R.C. Lewis

Standalone Novel (semi-companion to Stitching Snow)
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Release Date: 6th October 2015
Read Date: 20th August 2015
Tagged Under: 2015 read, 2015 favourites, fairy tale, review copy, YA-fiction, science fiction, 4, book review
Check It Out @Amazon, @TheBookDepository, @GoodReads

Book Summary

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 strenght 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?

Book Review

When I heard the premise of this novel, I just knew I had to give this book a go. I love fairy tale retellings and while science fiction is my least read genre (along with classics), I was intrigued by the plot and wanted to see where R.C. Lewis takes this book.

I'm so glad I did.

Liddi Jantzen is the youngest and only daughter to the world's most influential family. With eight brothers looking out for her, she has always grown up feeling loved (as well as pressured by her brothers' technological achievements). She was content with spending her days experimenting with inventions, partying with friends and catching up with her brothers.

However, one day, a gang of men barged into her home. Liddi initially thought they were the paparazzi. Then they opened fire. So she thought maybe they were opportunistic thieves. Then Liddi was dragged into an intergalactic plot in which not only were all her brothers in danger but all of intergalactic livelihood is at risk - and she couldn't breathe a word to anyone.

I absolutely loved this book from beginning to end - for entirely different reasons along each stage of the book. I was intrigued at the beginning because I wanted to see how the premise of the story is constructed. The world-building is elaborate and well done. Most of the main characters were fully fleshed-out and I could easily relate to them. One of the best features for me was Liddi's obvious adoration for all her brothers and their love for her. It was easy to see why Liddi would move heaven and earth to save them. As far as settings go, R.C. Lewis did a remarkable job.

I was fascinated in the middle sections of the novel because I could identify sections where Spinning Starlight was faithful to the original fairy tale and which sections came from the author's own imagination. Given the way the story was set up, it was interesting to watch Liddi overcome the communication barrier in such a modern technological setting. I enjoyed most aspects of this science fiction world. However, one of the things I probably would have liked more of is further details regarding the other alien races. They were briefly introduced and following that, they were sort of just hanging in the background and that was it. What probably would have made the novel more fun is if the other races played a bigger role in the story.

The ending was a thrilling race to the finish line. Knowing the original fairy tale, I was sort of bracing myself for the ending. But even that didn't help with all the feelings I got from the final few chapters. As soon as I finished, I was tempted to restart from the beginning again just to experience the story all over again.

The only minor quirk I didn't quite like about this novel was the fact that every time Liddi had a moment of self-reflection, her thought is always how would the media would spin this with a catchy headline. Admittedly, Lewis came up with some great headlines - but the fact that it came up so frequently, it made Liddi come across as shallow and self-conscious, which goes against rest of the book.


I really enjoyed reading Spinning Starlight. It's a very faithful retelling of a well-known fairy tale. I really only had one minor issue with it but overall, it was a very fun journey and I would highly recommend it to fans of the Lunar Chronicles and other similar YA fantasy or science fiction series. 

Disclaimer: A complimentary eARC was provided to me by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The views expressed above are entirely my own and are in no way affected by the source of this book.

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