Book Review: Spinning Starlight
ashley | Retellings are everywhere right now and I’m eating them up. Spinning Starlight is R.C. Lewis’ sci-fi take on Hans Christian Andersen’s The Wild Swans, a fairy-tale I’m not at all familiar with, and is a companion piece to Stitching Snow, which I haven’t read, so basically I went into this completely blind. BUT! The description sounded great and I had a strong feeling I was going to enjoy it, and boy, did I ever.
I’m not sure why it took me by surprise, given that this is a sci-fi book and ties together different planets, but there are portholes and travels to unknown destinations and creatures that are new and exciting and all of this was a very pleasant trip. As always, the creativity when describing unknown worlds and creatures is rampant here and I loved some of the things Lewis came up with.
I absolutely LOVED Liddie’s relationship with her brothers. They are such a strong group of siblings, always in each other’s corner, helping Liddie along the way as she struggles to figure out what has happened to them. I loved how they could communicate with her while they were otherwise missing. This was just such a strong force in this book, and the dominating drive for everything Liddie did, and I was so happy it existed.
Probably one of the coolest things in this book, though, is the fact that Liddie has been implanted with something rendering her speechless, so for the entirety of the book, she had to communicate without words, which seems like a minor inconvenience until you realize that her world has long since eliminated the need for writing and reading. Everything is verbally controlled and expressed. The measures that she takes to communicate are incredibly interesting, especially when she starts traveling to other planets.
There are just so many neat little elements like this that come together to make this such a fascinating and engaging read. It’s smart, but not overly complicated. It’s witty but not downright sarcastic. Liddie is rebellious without being careless. Everything is so perfectly balanced; I’d say this is pretty close to being a perfect book.
There is, of course, a love story mixed in with all the sci-fi and space. I won’t go as far as saying it’s unnecessary, but the existence isn’t surprising and it plays out as expected. Though I did really like Tiav as a character and it wasn’t instant love, there was still a lot of hesitation and uncertainty for him with this mysterious girl who shows up out of nowhere. I liked that he was protective and supportive of her, but he also knew his place in his world and was very careful not to go too far in either direction. Liddie’s interest in him also paled in comparison to her planet and her brothers, which I was grateful for.
Honestly, I loved everything about this book. I’ve seen a few comparisons to Marissa Meyer’s books (which I also loved!) and maybe it’s not something everyone will enjoy, but even without the fairy-tale context or reading Lewis’s other works, I thought this was a brilliant novel that shines bright among the rest of them.
October 6, 2015