I first ran across R.C. Lewis when I read her first novel, Stitching Snow, at the end of last year. I really enjoyed that book, and I was excited to pick up Spinning Starlight, her second novel. Keeping up the fairy-tale-turned-science-fiction theme, this one adapts “The Wild Swans” by Hans Christian Andersen, and does so very well.
Liddi Jantzen is the youngest of nine siblings, and the only daughter in the Jantzen tech family. When her parents are killed due to an experiment gone wrong, she suddenly finds herself the heir to the majority of the company and even more in the spotlight than before. She doesn’t like the spotlight very much, but has learned to live with it.
After her brothers turn up missing, and a close family friend turns out to not be very friendly, Liddi finds herself unable to speak and on the run to another planet. Turns out the planet isn’t one known to her homeworld, but there are people there who can help her if she can figure out how to communicate with them. She also has to deal with people who think she has violated their sacred portals and would like nothing more than to kill her.
“The Wild Swans” has always been one of my favorites of the Andersen fairy tales. It has a strong and resourceful female lead, and that carries through to Spinning Starlight. Liddi, while somewhat sheltered her whole life (by necessity, due to all the paparazzi trying to catalog her every move), has learned to be very good at working with technology and figuring out how things work. While she doesn’t seem to be able to create new things very easily, she has a knack for anything tech.
Lewis told most of Spinning Starlight in first-person present tense, which is something I often dislike. In this case, she did an excellent job drawing me into the story and quickly making me care about Liddi—so much so that I completely forgot about it being in first person. The secondary characters—especially Tiav—fit into the story very well, and really help move things along. Lewis excels at creating interesting, real, and genuine characters.
The story itself was, quite simply, excellent. As with Stitching Snow, Lewis did an amazing job of creating a story uniquely her own while simultaneously incorporating parts and pieces of the the original fairy tale. The end result is a story which moves along at a good pace and makes you want to read from beginning to end in one sitting.
I really loved this book. As with all of the best young adult novels, Spinning Starlight is enjoyable by anyone interested in a good, solid story which will draw you in and leave you wishing it was longer at the end (even though the ending was satisfying and gave good closure to the story). At this point, Lewis doesn’t seem to be writing books in a series, but if she ever did, I would love to see more from this world.
Release Date: October 6, 2015 (USA)
ISBNs: 1423185153 (9781423185154)
Violence: 2 (group beating, fisticuffs, threats of violence, extreme peril, death)