Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Me on Spinning Starlight

Title: Spinning Starlight
Author: R.C. Lewis
Release Date: October 6, 2015
Publisher: DisneyHyperion

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?

Spinning Starlight is exciting and dangerous, a young girl's mission to save her brothers while on the run and on a strange new planet. Liddi must overcome a number of obstacles, like her inability to speak and her very important reason why, in order to keep everyone she loves alive.

Liddi is a compassionate girl, a smart girl in her own ways. Just not in the way the public expects. She's expected to be a technological genius like her brothers. She's expected to take over her family's company. She feels more like an ugly duckling, constantly in the spotlight, everyone talking about her like she can't do anything or say anything or dress right. On a planet of technologists and cutting-edge inventions, Liddi feels like she doesn't belong. And when she uncovers a dangerous plot and flees to another planet, she definitely doesn't belong.

What I found so interesting is that with all the tech, all the advancements, all the space travel, Liddi can't read or write. People still learn, still go to school, still teach, still create, still understand, but reading and writing seem to have been phased out. It's an intriguing possibility, the idea that we will become so visual we'll phase out our written language. Liddi's very out of her element when she travels through the conduit, when she meets Tiav and learns how things are done on his world. When she can't explain her situation for fear of dooming her brothers. She's lost, confused, on the run, but she still pushes herself to fix things.

I vaguely knew the fairy tale this book drew from, The Wild Swans by Hans Christian Andersen. It was great to see a lesser-known tale get the spotlight as a retelling. They don't always have to be Snow White or Cinderella retellings. There are other fairy tales out there, some rather intriguing, some complicated, and some very bizarre.

While this is said to be a companion to the author's previous book, I saw that it's not set in the same universe, so don't expect any reoccurring characters. I would've been happy to see them, to try and remember their story, but I was happy enough to read about Liddi and her problems, her love for her brothers, her desire to prove herself and find a way to save them. Fans of Stitching Snow and other fairy tale retellings should give this a read.

(I received an e-galley of this title to review from Disney Book Group through NetGalley.)

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