Expected Publication: October 6th, 2015 by Disney Hyperion
*I received a free copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinions.
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.
Spinning Starlight is one of those books that's incredibly hard to review because you really don't have much to say about it. I didn't have particularly strong feelings about either way, so I spent a lot of time staring at a blank screen and glancing at the keyboard.
In Spinning Starlight, we experience the story of Liddi Jantzen struggling to get her 8 brothers back after they've mysteriously disappeared. Her brothers are all Liddi has. She's meant to inherit the company once she turns 18, even though she's the only one in the family who's never been able to live up to the Jantzen name - the Jantzen who are techno gurus who are always inventing. But Liddi hasn't been able to come up with a single astounding idea, and so instead the vid-cams follow her every move and report on her fashion and belittle her. We get to see glimpses of her brothers, both through flashbacks and other means, and I really liked the family element of the novel.
For a great majority of the book, Liddi can't speak. On her planet, the ability to read and write has all but been done away with. But Liddi finds herself on another planet, where the "handsome dignitary named Tiav" tries to teach her so they can communicate in some small form. I love how frustrated Liddi gets - it's a very slow process that they eventually adapt so that a computer can speak for her in short, fragmented sentences that make her feel stupid. She had other insecurities that I empathized with and a fierce determination to save her brother.
The romance was kind of underwhelming, which is how I feel about the entire book, I think. Tiav is sweet, seems to respect Liddi, genuinely wants to help her. But I never felt a real connection between them, never really felt any passion. Which I feel like I say about a lot of books? I dunno. There's definitely nothing WRONG with their relationship; it just didn't intrigue me personally.
My biggest problem comes with the world-building and the technological jargon that made hardly any sense and was used to explain away everything. I envisioned this super cool and advanced world when I read the synopsis, but honestly, I have no idea what anything was like. The descriptions could have been beautiful. The world could have been incredible and enthralling and there's always so much potential in a futurist world, but Spinning Starlight did not deliver. I was just left with a very vague impression.
Also: THERE ARE ALIENS! But once again, Spinning Starlight didn't really deliver. I wish we would have learned more about them, and I wish they had been more creative/exciting. They weren't.
As for the science stuff, it felt very weak. There are portals that exist between planets, but the explanations about them and how they work - and why they're not working - were . . . not that great. Liddi understood some of it, but not all. And me? It all just felt like it was haphazardly thrown together.
tl;dr: Spinning Starlight was a pretty quick read for me. But I was very underwhelmed by the science, the world-building, the romance. Liddi wasn't an astounding character, but I did enjoy her. 2.5 stars.