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Spinning Starlight

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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 shows 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 its very survival.

327 pages, Hardcover

First published October 6, 2015

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About the author

R.C. Lewis

7 books502 followers
When I'm not writing novels, I'm teaching math. Or when I'm not teaching math, I'm writing novels. It gets a little confusing in here sometimes.

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Profile Image for Faye, la Patata.
492 reviews2,110 followers
August 20, 2015
I am honestly quite conflicted with this book.

While I appreciated this was a retelling of an under-the-radar fairy tale (come on, we have had enough of Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, Little Mermaid retellings!), this book left me feeling a little underwhelmed. I kind of expected a lot because even though I had some problems with Stitching Snow, the author does know how to write a story. With a cover like that, with a premise like that (oh-em-gee, eight older brothers?! Sign me up, s'il te plaît!), surely after a year, and with a writer like R.C. Lewis, surely this book will knock other retellings out of the water?! Unfortunately, instead of feeling enamored with it, I just feel a bit... deflated.

Meet Liddi Jantzen, the heiress to a large techy company that helped stabilize and make useful the conduits, some sort of hyperdimensional transportation portal that people use to travel between the seven worlds more efficiently. However, one day, mysterious men gunned down her home, and her brothers were discovered missing, only to later realize that something... or someone... trapped them in between worlds in the conduits for a malicious purpose.

The best thing about this book was Lia's inner narration. I definitely thought it was well-done and genuine, letting us into her personal thoughts in a rather intimate way. She was insecure about her skills and abilities, having eight genius brothers who churned out technological innovations on a daily basis, and oftentimes wondered why her parents decided to make her the heiress when she felt worthless. It was quite heart-warming to see her grow out of her shell as she strived for ways to rescue her brother, go out to other worlds in order to know more about the phenomenon that are the Khuas, and face the villain despite them having stolen her voice (or blackmailed her, for a more accurate term...). She literally didn't speak out loud in this novel 80% of the time, because otherwise, the implant that was put in her throat without her consent would let the villain know and her brothers would be killed in retaliation.

That said, it was interesting to see how she would interact with her surroundings and with the other characters through other means. What are you to do when you get transported to another world you have never been to, only to not be able to communicate or ask for help? That's why the efforts she did in order to get her message across were cool to watch. It was realistic seeing the misunderstandings, the frustrations, the patience and the impatience people had around her in order to help understand her better.

However, this book was not all rainbows and butterflies for me...

I have to say, despite all the technical/mechanical/engineering mumbo-jumbo that was put in here, it was really, really hard to imagine the setting. The world-building was definitely vague, and the scientific explanations were shaky at best. Like she lives in this planet called Sampati, but I couldn't picture what it looked like - I know there are vid-cams, some sort of flying, buzzing cameras that are all over the place, and that people generally don't know how to read despite being technological geniuses (lol what??), and that there are night clubs and... laserball teams??... but otherwise, I just couldn't picture it. The book never bothered to set up the setting, that's why it was quite hard to immerse myself in this whole-new world in a distant place in the universe. There are six other worlds people could access, and like Sampati, we never really get a general idea how each world was in terms of cultural and societal norms.

And then there was Ferrine. Another world the heroine stumbles across, which had the human race (or the Aelo in their terms...) and other alien life forms which are basically humans too except with larger bodies or longer arms or other lame physical modifications. Like seriously, there are alien life forms and we essentially get the same built? I mean, let's be realistic here - what are the chances in that? The reason why mammals are top-dog in Earth is because the dinosaurs were unlucky enough to get fucked over by asteroids. But if that didn't happen, I shit you not we would be saying, "Oh, my, what big and lethal dinosaur teeth you have!"

There's also the issue that the scientific explanations seemed much more complicated than they should have been. I mean, I understand them, but not after rereading a dozen times and silently muttering to myself as I tried to draw a mental image of what the heck was going on. There was also the issue that the middle part dragged so much, all because she didn't want to say what was going on to the people around her. I understand her reasons for saying why, but goddamn, this book took its sweet time getting there. There were times when the scenes felt they were running in circles.

But hey, at least the romance was in the background. Even if it was a little... boring. Tiav is a cool guy and all, but he was such a flat and meh character.

All in all, my complaints are pretty subjective. I have a feeling it's that sort of book you won't know whether you hate or love it until you give it a try. Take my complaints with a grain of salt if these things don't bother you as much.
Profile Image for R.C. Lewis.
Author 7 books502 followers
April 23, 2022
Some information on this book for interested readers:

This is a companion to Stitching Snow in the sense of being a sci-fi retelling of a fairy tale and having a similar feel. It is not, however, set in the same world, no character crossover, etc.

But space, multiple planets, and all the things that come with different worlds ... and then some. :D
Profile Image for Stacee.
2,694 reviews701 followers
October 2, 2015
I was intrigued by the synopsis and even though I wasn't familiar with the fairy tale, it was enough for me to download.

I liked Liddi well enough. The situation she's put in was interesting and I liked seeing how she worked through the obstacles. Her relationship with her brothers and parents is set up in brief, 3rd person flashbacks and I found those pieces mostly disruptive to the flow of the story.

My main complaint was all of the science speak. For me, all of the talk of tech and conduits was completely lost on me. I skimmed a lot of the parts because I felt like even a chart wouldn't help.

Overall, I did like the characters and the story was fairly fast paced. If there is another book in the series, I will be reading it.

**Huge thanks to Hyperion and NetGalley for providing the arc in exchange for an honest review**
Profile Image for Adele.
542 reviews106 followers
November 7, 2015
Down to the brunt of it: I love this book. The characters are great. All of them have their own faults, which is expected. What really brings everyone together in this book though, is trust. And I think thats amazing considering all the circumstances. Spinning Starlight had me feeling so many things at once. I want to buy this book so badly, haha. Thats how much I love this book. I could read Spinning Starlight over and over again and still not get tired of it!

Written in an spellbinding way, Spinning Starlight drew me in immediately. I did not want to stop reading this book! The story is just so addicting. Spinning Starlight had me laughing, almost had me crying, and made me feel so much grief. I literally cannot stop thinking about this book. The pace of this book is fantastic. Everything fits together so well. The ideas in this book are crazy good and what R.C. Lewis is doing with these books is so freaking creative. I love her writing.

The characters in Spinning Starlight are incredible. We first meet Liddi, and then from then on we see how incredibly resilient she is. We meet other characters along the way, like Tiav’elo and he’s just a whole other kind of character. He is captivated by Liddi, to say the least. There are other characters as well, like Liddi’s brothers and they’re all just so freaking cute and amazing. I know, Im fangirling, but how can I not? All her brothers are protective and they love Liddi something fierce. When it comes down to the nitty gritty though, we see and know, that the brothers dote on Liddi.

Liddi loves her family so much, but she doesn’t feel like she fits in with them, mentally. Everyone in her family is so smart, its actually crazy how smart they all are. In comparison to her family though, Liddi feels dumb. It was kind of a tradition that her siblings create something to better their world and when she didn’t come up with anything, the media tuned in on that. The thing is though, Liddi is so smart. She doesn’t know just how smart she is.

Another thing, the media, holy crap. It’s just like our world, except worse? Like, Liddi could leave her house and then Liddi would -literally- get swarmed by the media. Its so insane.

Spinning Starlight is excellently paced. The world building is amazing, and another thing I like about Spinning Starlight is that Liddi’s memories are placed incredibly well. So not only do we see the world around Liddi practically in real time, we also see Liddi’s life before EVERYTHING happened. We get bits and pieces of Liddi’s before while seeing her now and expecting her future.

I love Spinning Starlight. Like I said, I had so many feelings while reading this book, but when I finished the book I was left with a feeling of both hope and grief. Something happens in the book that I just cannot get over. I really hope that there’s a follow up story with these characters because, ugh, I cant NOT have a follow up happen. Spinning Starlight is amazing, okay? I really suggest you read it. And I cant not end this review without saying “Clever girl.” Okay. Im good. I can go cry in the fetal position now.

Side Note: Another reason to love these books is that these books aren’t in a series or anything. They’re stand alone’s, based in the same kind of world. That is really the only thing they have in common with each other.

I was given a copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Im so glad I got the chance to read this book. Spinning Starlight is amazing!!!!
Profile Image for cc.
425 reviews165 followers
October 8, 2015
I read and loved Stitching Snow--a sci-fi retelling of Snow White, also by R.C. Lewis--last year, so I was instantly on board when I found out about Spinning Starlight, a companion novel and a retelling of the Wild Swans/Six Swans no less. As it happens, this fairytale has a special place in my heart due to the fact that my favorite book of all time is also a Six Swans retelling (Daughter of the Forest), but in no way my opinion of Spinning Starlight was influenced by this, nor did I read it to make comparisons of any kind.

That said, this book tells the story of Liddi, who is the youngest of a quite large family, she has eight brothers--eight!--all of whom she loves dearly and vice-versa, so when one day they all disappear without a trace and Liddi is attacked in her own home, she knows something horrible must have happened and immediately starts to investigate, which results in her having to escape to a new and strange world where she doesn’t know anybody. She can’t even use her voice to explain her situation or her brothers could die.

I thoroughly enjoyed the story until this point, Liddi gets to this strange planet all alone with nothing but her wits and the clothes on her body, desperate to find a way to save her brothers and my heart ached for her. But hopeless situations are usually the best scenarios for heroines to kick some behinds and do extraordinary things, so I kept reading and waiting for awesomeness and a wave of emotions to hit me hard.

Sadly, this never happened, I mean, I continued to enjoy Liddi’s inner voice but that was about it, the story itself failed to hold my interest and I honestly had a hard time finishing the book. My main problem was the worldbuilding and the whole idea of the portals that connect the planets--don’t get me wrong, the entire thing is very clever and creative, the author knows what she’s doing, BUT there’s just so much theory to assimilate, new words to learn and understand, exceedingly elaborate plans to try to make the brain visualize, and it’s all too much. At some point my mind was so numb I couldn’t even make myself care about stuff happening to Liddi.

The romance is not a priority in the great scheme of things, but that was not even the reason why I was indifferent to it, I just never felt the chemistry between Liddi and Tiav, and it doesn’t help that he makes a really bad decision at some point. The positives: he’s not a jerk and there’s no love triangle whatsoever in this book.

More things that bothered me: the villain of this story is mostly absent, even though Liddi and her brothers never stop being in danger; also, between chapters there are flashback scenes, where we get to see younger Liddi and her brothers at some moment of their lives, but this never felt crucial or necessary, so for me it was just one more thing to slow the pace of the story.

The ending was underwhelming and basically more of the same confusing portals-talk. Honestly, at that point I just wanted the book to end already.

Overall, it was really hard for me to keep up with the worldbuilding, to understand the technology, to grasp the concept of it all, to keep being interested in Liddi’s journey, especially when her actions, reasoning, fears, emotions, everything that always matters the most to me when I’m a reading a book, kind of gets lost in all the things that I couldn’t enjoy. It actually pains me to feel this way about this book but it is what it is.

(I received a copy of this book from the publisher, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks, Disney-Hyperion.)
Profile Image for Fafa's Book Corner.
511 reviews298 followers
August 27, 2015
This review will also be posted on both of my blogs:

I received this arc via Netgalley and Disney Hyperion in exchange for an honest review.

Spinning Starlight had an interesting premise which is why I requested it from Netgalley. A futuristic world in which the main characters brothers get kidnapped and she gets an implant in her throat, that does not allow her to talk because she would kill her brothers in doing so. That sounds pretty awesome right! When I got down to reading it I found it boring and slow.

It starts off with Liddi returning home from a party. Once she gets into her house she found the silence suffocating (she doesn't live with her brothers) and decides to take a walk to calm herself. She hears voices which follows with gunshots. Fearing for her life she runs to the nearest city.

After a few more chapters she gets the throat implant which prevents her from talking. This to me took too long to happen. I excepted it to happen earlier.

You're probably wondering that if she couldn't talk why didn't she just write it all down. As it would turn out Sampati (where she lives) got rid of writing years ago.

She manages to run away through this portal that leads her to Ferinne. Upon reaching there she meets our main male lead Tiav who decides to help her by teaching her how to write. A majority of the book is spent with her trying to learn how to read and write.

I got so bored that I just started to skim the book. I found that it didn't get that much better. Sure the action picked up but I just didn't like it.

The most confusing part about reading this was the world building. I didn't really understand it and because of this I couldn't imagine it nor grasp it.

One of the things that I liked about this book was Liddi and Tiav. They were realistic characters who I found reacted accordingly in situations. I also loved reading about Liddi's conviction in helping her brothers. You could feel her frustration when her only form of communication was cut off. You could relate to how stressed she was in trying to grasp reading and writing. Tiav was really nice and patient wit her. He was a good teacher and understanding (well as understanding he could be considering he didn't fully grasp Liddi's situation). You could feel that he was frustrated when he couldn't understand her situation. You could tell that he really wanted to help her and did whatever he could do for her. It was also really enjoyable to read those flashbacks that came at the beginning of every chapter.

Unfortunately all of my likes did not make up for my boredom, the slow pace, and my dislike for the plot.

I wouldn't personally recommend it but if you really want to read this then go ahead. Here's to hoping that I like The One Thing better than Spinning Starlight.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Aoife.
1,258 reviews552 followers
June 24, 2016
I received a free digital copy from the author/publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest feedback.

Liddi lives on a planet where technology is the be all and end all. She also happens to be the heiress of the biggest tech company on the planet and is the youngest sister to eight brothers. When Liddi is almost kidnapped by a group of mercenaries and brothers mysteriously disappear, Liddi knows something is up. As she attempts to figure it out, she ends up discovering something amazing and ending up on an unknown neighbouring planet. Without the use of her voice, Liddi must make friends and save her family (and her world).

I went into this pretty blind. I read the summary of the book on Goodreads and I'm not sure why but it made my brain melt a little bit and no information went in at all. So all I knew was it was sci-fi YA and that was about it. I didn't expect to get so sucked into the story but I really did. I like sci-fi but I don't read a whole load of it and I was afraid that I would get a little bit overwhelmed and while at first Liddi's world is a bit confusing, over time I got used to it and the structure of her own planet and the other seven plus the final unknown eight planet. I would actually love more books in this kind of galaxy (is that the right word?) as I found the different alien species and the brief description of the other planets fascinating.

I loved Liddi's relationship with her family and I really felt for her as she struggled to save them. She has such a special bond with every brother and her little memories with all of them, and her parents, were very heart-warming. Her relationship with her family was definitely one of my favourite things about the book and even though the brothers were not really in a lot of the book, except Liddi's memories, I ended up loving all of them too as it was clear their love for their sister, and each other, was as equal.

I thought the storyline of Liddi losing her voice was an excellent one. I'm not familiar with The Wild Swans which I believe this was a retelling of so it just reminded me of The Little Mermaid. I found myself gasping in shock and make-believe pain at parts because I knew Liddi couldn't. There were times I knew she needed to cry out so I found myself wanting to do it for her instead!

Overall, this was a fantastic book and I enjoyed every moment of it. Liddi was a wonderful, strong and kind-hearted female protagonist with brains to burn and if every female character could be like her, we'd be on to a winner.
Profile Image for Erin Arkin.
1,657 reviews355 followers
December 29, 2015
R.C. Lewis won me over last year with Stitching Snow so when I heard she was writing another book, it immediately went on my to read list. Spinning Starlight is based on a Hans Christian Andersen classic, The Wild Swans and I admit, I don’t really know anything about that tale. Despite that, I found this retelling to be quite entertaining.

This story introduces us to Liddi Jantzen who is the daughter of the most powerful tech family in the galaxy. She has been surrounded by her family and a load of expectations her whole life and when we are introduced to her, we find out quite a bit about her. First, since her parents death’s, Liddi has really only had her older brothers to rely on and these days she doesn’t get to see them as often as she would like. Second, Liddi is worried that she won’t live up to the expectations that being a part of her family bring. It is clear she doubts herself and she compares herself to her brothers all the time and in her mind, she always falls short.

Unexpectedly Liddi finds herself in the middle of a situation she has no idea how to handle and the wrong move (or word) could end up killing her brothers. When Liddi ends up in another world, she finds herself connecting with Tiav, someone who can help her but also someone who can cause a lot of trouble for her. As Liddi works with (and sometimes against) Tiav to fix the conduit problem and save her brothers, she has to do it without the use of her voice.

I thought the character development was well done. Liddi’s story and the background of her family history was done in a way that gave me the information I wanted when I needed it. I loved getting introduced to her brothers and her parents through the flashbacks. I also thought the science part was well done – not that I know anything about physics or traveling to other worlds but the way things were explained only added to the detail and believability of the story. The world building was also well done.

Tiav was a great character. He is kind and patient with Liddi and I have to admit, there was a time where I wasn’t really sure how things were going to end up for these two. Immediately he was willing to give her the benefit of the doubt and help her but she did end up burning him so I couldn’t really hold his actions against him. He is a great mix of smart, trusting, swoony, and loyal.

I can’t say much more about the details of this story only because I don’t want to give anything away. You do find out early on what is going on and why as well as who the bad guy is, but certain pieces of the whole story are revealed throughout the book. What I can say is that if you enjoy the sci fi genre and fairytale retellings, you should definitely check this one out. I enjoyed the whole thing and can’t wait to see what Lewis writes next.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the review copy!
Profile Image for Danielle (Love at First Page).
726 reviews621 followers
November 21, 2015
3-3.5 stars

I think Stitching Snow is one of last year’s most underrated books, so I had pretty high hopes that Spinning Starlight would be just as impressive. Unfortunately, the entertainment value just wasn’t as strong for me. The plot is based on a fairy tale I know little about – Hans Christian Anderson’s The Wild Swans – but for more than half the book it seemed to be going nowhere. Little action, not much worldbuilding, and no adorable robots to add humor. I also wasn’t completely sold on the scientific aspect of the book; Liddi’s brothers are trapped in “conduits” that allow people to travel between planets, meanwhile ancient portals are beginning to breakdown. It was confusing and not all that interesting, at least until the second half when the pacing finally picked up. I did enjoy the romance and the main characters. Liddi is struggling with the weight of her planet’s expectations, but she loves her brothers fiercely and has a truly caring heart. The friendship and romance between her and Tiav builds slowly, which I liked, and while he wasn’t exactly compelling he was at least a sweetheart. I wish we could have learned more about the different planets and that this world was more detailed, but the last few chapters were definitely a welcome whirlwind.

Spinning Starlight may not have made it onto my favorites shelf, but I will still be eagerly awaiting R.C. Lewis’ next release. I can’t resist fairy tale retellings, and I hope this isn’t the last we see of her world.

This review can also be found at Love at First Page.
Profile Image for Lisa.
238 reviews79 followers
February 11, 2016
Even though I didn't like this nearly as much as I liked Stitching Snow, I still really enjoyed it a lot. I am not familiar with the original story, so I had nothing to go with on that front but I don't know if knowing the original story would've made me enjoy it more. I thought the story progressed really slowly for a long time, until everything went suddenly super fast and I couldn't keep up. Towards the ending I didn't understand everything fully because I'm not a tech nerd, I don't even know any math.

It reads very easy and I liked the world and characters. I didn't fell in love with any of the characters though, I didn't really connect with them either. That may have been a reason as to why I didn't like it as much as Stitching Snow.

Overall I do recommend this book, but mainly if you've already read Stitching Snow (aka, that book is a favorite of mine and I want you to read that one more than I want you to read this one.)
Profile Image for Cindee.
782 reviews34 followers
May 20, 2021
I loved this book so much even with its ups and downs I loved every aspect of this book to the race against time to save Liddi's brothers to the romance with Tiav and everything in between. I loved all of the characters especially Liddi her brothers and Tiav I loved her relationship with her brothers told mostly threw flashbacks and I loved the romance between her and Tiav one non related person with no ulterior motives for caring for her. I loved Liddi for her determination and her willingness to do anything to save her brothers and for how much she cares and I loved her relationship with Tiav. I really liked the plot it started out with a normal day for Liddi before she is attacked and has to run then other things happen and she loses her voice and goes on the run to save her brothers meets Tiav along the way many things happen and it has a good yet bittersweet ending. So overall I loved this book and would read more books by this author for sure.
Profile Image for Claire (Book Blog Bird).
1,052 reviews38 followers
September 25, 2015
This review was originally published on Book Blog Bird

Sixteen year old Liddi Jantzen has grown up in the media spotlight as the billionaire heiress to her family’s technological empire, so when a group of uninvited men show up at her house she assumes they’re paparazzi. Except they’re not; they’re there to kidnap Liddi. She escapes but gets pulled into a conspiracy involving interplanetary politics, alien races and mysterious godlike light-beings.

The thing I liked more than anything about this book was the worldbuilding. It is imaginative and unique and goodness knows how long the author spent devising all the details. A long time, I’d warrant. The alien races, the idea of the seven planets connected by portals and the living, thinking Khua - all good. I could have done with a bit more information about what the societies and towns in Sampati and Ferrine, but the ideas behind the story were really cool.

The plot was interesting and it was good to see a re-telling that wasn’t Beauty and the Beast or Cinderella (I will literally poke my eyes out with a spoon if I see any more re-tellings of those stories any time soon). The Wild Swans is pretty obscure and although (by necessity, bearing in mind this is far-future sci-fi) the author has changed the storyline quite a bit, it was interesting to read. The problem is, Wild Swans isn’t a very long story, plot-wise, and this is a fairly long book and it felt like there was quite a lot of padding in it. There were pages and pages that could have been edited out without affecting the story arc and would have made the book tighter, punchier and faster-paced. As it was, the story drifted in some places and I found it hard to keep going.

I also found a couple of details a little odd. One of the central conceits of the novel is that Liddi can’t speak to anyone for fear of the transmitter in her throat emitting a signal that will kill her brothers. This, coupled with the fact that her far-future society has done away with writing means that she can’t communicate and this obviously leads to lots of confusion and misunderstanding. So I kept thinking: why doesn’t she just whisper? Whispering doesn’t use your vocal cords, so presumably wouldn’t set off the transmitter. And if whispering did set off the transmitter, then presumably breathing would as well, because whispering and breathing are basically the same thing. I found this (and the fact that any society would just arbitrarily do away with writing!) quite hard to get my head round.

I liked Liddi as a character - she was brave and resourceful and I think the author did a good job of using her internal monologue to give us insights into her personality. I do think she was hobbled somewhat due to not being able to talk, though. I hadn’t realised how necessary dialogue is not only for rounding out a character but also for building relationships with other characters. I liked Tiav too, but I think he would have come across better if he and Liddi had been able to spark off each other in conversation.

All in all, I was a bit conflicted over this book. Some elements were awesome, but others fell a bit flat. I’d recommend other people to read it for themselves to make their own minds up.

I received a copy of Spinning Starlight in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley.
Profile Image for Brooke's Epic Emporium.
864 reviews188 followers
November 5, 2015
I want to thank Disney Hyperion for providing me with a copy of this book to read and give an honest review. Receiving this book for free has in no way altered my opinion or review.

I really enjoyed Stitching Snow when I read it. I thought for sure this would be a spin off of that book. But it was not. Totally different characters. Completely different story.

I love anything Sci-Fi and this book completely fit that bill. I zoomed through it in no time, which means I easily loved it. This book is a fairytale retelling, though I don't know the story that goes along with it.

I really enjoyed Liddi's character. I love that she is kind of the black sheep of her family. All her brothers are super smart and have made something of themselves at an early age while she's still waiting to come into herself. Given the fact that her character does not speak for most of the book (I won't tell you why as it will be a spoiler), it was still easy to get to know her. She's very strong with a deep seeded understanding of how important family is. And her resilience is incredible.

The author throws a lot of technical terms at you at the very beginning of the book. At first, I was a bit confused, but as it went on I easily understood the jargon. I enjoyed the way she portrayed the media in this book. With all the paparazzi stuff we see in the news these days, it was easy to understand how out of control things could get if the media had even more technology on their side.

The author does an incredible job with the world buiding in this book. I love way the planets are explained, and the reason for the people living on them at this point in time. Yes, this is set way in the future, giving the book not only a sci-fi genre but also a bit of dystopian to go along with it. Though you don't see the government involvement so much with this book. It's more about how we as humans destroyed our planet and how people had to settle elsewhere.

I love the traveling between different planets that occurs in this book. Certainly I got a Lunar Chronicles feel with this book (given that is one of my favorite series, it made me extremely happy). And I love how ideas and stereotypes are completed shattered as Liddi tries her hardest to save her family.

And of course there is a forbidden love theme in the book. I loved that it existed, though it wasn't what ruled the story. It was a slow build and certainly one could see how the attraction came about.

Overall, I enjoyed this book much more than the first. Any fan of science fiction with fairy tale retellings will enjoy this story.
Profile Image for Karissa.
3,885 reviews191 followers
October 17, 2015
I got a copy of this book to review through NetGalley. I really enjoyed Lewis’s last book Stitching Snow and was super excited to read this new book from her. This book is supposed to be a retelling of the Seven Swans. Unfortunately I didn’t like this book as much. I had trouble engaging with the main character and thought that the plot was a bit convoluted and slow moving.

Liddi is the youngest of eight siblings (and the only girl) and a heiress to the richest tech company in the galaxy. However when her brothers disappear and the men lurking outside her house end up not being the normal media types but are out to kill her...well she knows something is wrong. Liddi is able to escape but in doing so gets drawn into a galaxy wide conspiracy. She ends up escaping to a planet that she didn’t even knew existed and has to rely on a boy her age named Tiav. Tiav is a dignitary and is trying to understand Liddi’s intentions to help her plead her case.

Right from the start I had trouble liking Liddi as a character. She just seems so whiny and lacks self-confidence. She does grow some as the story continues, but I had trouble engaging with her throughout.

Much of the plot involves around these portals that are used to get from place to place. This whole concept was hard to picture and a bit ambiguous; it was hard to care about what was happening here and hard to imagine it in my head.

There is a romance between Liddi and Tiav, but honestly this also fell short for me. The romance felt forced and cold; almost as if the whole story would have been better off if Liddi and Tiav had remained good friends (however, this being a YA book that wasn’t going to happen). There is never much trust between the two which bothered me.

There are a number of parallels between this book and the Seven Swans fairy tale. Liddi has seven brothers and they get trapped in the portals (in this case by an evil scientist). The evil scientist implants a device in Liddi’s throat so she can’t talk (so she is forced to communicate in other ways). Liddi has to perform some actions with the portal to free her brothers which leave her hands shredded by the energy use (similar to the damage in the fairy tale the character gets from weaving nettles). So there are parallels; they feel pretty forced at times but they are there.

A quick comment; throughout the majority of the book Liddi can’t talk and is forced to type out the sounds on a computer phonetically since she can’t read either (reading was abolished in this world in favor of voice recognition). This means that much of Liddi’s speech in the book is incredibly hard to read unless you read it out loud to yourself. I hate it when authors do this...it is really really annoying. So just be aware of that. The story would have been just as effective if the author had mentioned that Liddi has to spell things phonetically and then had actually written things out correctly. Ugh, this drove me nutso!

Overall this was an okay science fiction retelling of The Seven Swans. It definitely wasn’t great and it definitely wasn’t as good as Stitching Snow. I had trouble engaging with the characters and staying interested in the somewhat convoluted storyline. At times the parallels between this story and the Seven Swans felt pretty forced, but it was okay. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend reading this book. If you are interested in reading some great retellings of the Seven Swans fairy tale check out Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier or Dearest by Alethea Kontis.
Profile Image for Aimee✨.
599 reviews45 followers
February 26, 2017
I was actually looking for Stitching Snow at my library when I found this. I’d never heard of it but I thought it sounded good so I got it. This is a retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Wild Swans.

I haven’t read a lot of sci-fi books. It’s not a genre I’ve really been interested in until recently but out of the ones I’ve read I have enjoyed them. I think I might have to start reading more.

I really liked Liddi. She’s put in an impossible situation, where saying just one word will kill all her brothers. But Liddi doesn’t let that stop her from finding a way to save them and her world. Liddi has doubted her place as heir to her family’s company but when she’s away from the spotlight, pressure, gossip and judgement she finally finds her way and her confidence in herself grows.

Liddi is also faced with prejudice from another species when she travels to another planet. When she arrived on this other planet she meets Tiav, who, despite all the evidence against Liddi, decides to help her. I really liked Tiav and thought him and Liddi were cute together.

Spinning Starlight was such a great read and I was completely hooked from the start. I was planning on reading The Wild Swans before posting my review of Spinning Starlight but that never happened. I hope I can find a copy of Stitching Snow to read one day.
Profile Image for Nicola.
229 reviews21 followers
Shelved as 'did-not-finish'
October 5, 2015

Spinning Starlight started off strong in some respects. I liked Liddi and was intrigued by the world's technology (vid-cams that fly around recording things; basically a hands-free form of paparazzi which was pretty cool) but the word building was lacking otherwise. I couldn't picture the "planet" that she lived on or the other places that you can travel to via portals. I don't really know what makes this universe interesting or how they operate.

The villain of the story implants a device in Liddi's throat which will kill her brothers if she speaks. The problem with that is that it is extremely frustrating reading about a character who can't speak to explain the situation or write it down because writing has been eradicated from her universe. I just couldn't read any more of her attempts at trying to get the message across without actually saying anything in case her brothers were harmed. I mean, it's completely understandable that she had to be careful but as a reader I was bored and frustrated.

If you're a big sci-fi fan and you're willing to fight though that frustration then you might enjoy this book. It just wasn't for me.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley.
Profile Image for Lisa.
827 reviews480 followers
November 4, 2015
This inventive scifi novel was just what I needed. Lewis has done it again, re-shaping a legend in a futuristic version. Very clever and exciting.
Profile Image for Alaina.
6,084 reviews215 followers
June 25, 2021
Okay, so, Spinning Starlight felt like a roller coaster to me. Or maybe a never-ending elevator ride? Either way, it was kind of frustrating to get through this one. At least for me. Sometimes ups and downs are normal and I can quickly ignore them if the book is easy to devour. Unfortunately, I just couldn't get past them this time around. So, yeah, it was kind of frustrating since it's a freaking re-telling and I absolutely adore those!

Maybe it's because I didn't know jack about 'The Wild Swans' or maybe it's just because I found myself zoning in and out of the book. It's.. just.. nothing was capturing my attention and I don't know what else to say at the moment. I'll admit some things were kind of cute or interesting but then I felt like nothing was happening at the same time. Absolutely nothing!

As for the romance, it was okay but I honestly didn't really care for the slow burn of it. I think it's just because I didn't really like the romantic interest or anyone else really. In the end, I guess I'm glad that I dove into this but I think I might need a break from retellings..

..like a small break.
Profile Image for Susana.
986 reviews242 followers
August 22, 2020
I'm going to call it quits for now. I'm about the twenty percent mark and I have no wish whatsoever of picking it up again. The portal's scene and what unfolded next wasn't sufficient to hold my interest; in fact I have almost no idea of what is happening... the written word is no longer learned?
Sorry but my brain isn't able to compute this. I can't 'see' this world, there's not enough info for that.
Profile Image for Rubi.
362 reviews83 followers
December 7, 2015
**Review also posted on Gone With the Words

Spinning Starlight is a retelling of The Wild Swans a fairy tale about a king who has 11 sons and 1 daughter, Princess Elisa. He remarries to a wicked queen who turns out to be a witch that casts a spell on her 11 stepsons turning them into swans and banishes Elisa when she realizes that she can’t curse her. Elisa has to knit shirts for her 11 brothers in order to save them and also has to take a vow of silence in the process. Any word spoken will cause the death of her brothers.

When I first read the plot for this book what I got was sci fi fairytale retelling and of course the first thing that came to mind was Marissa Meyer's The Lunar Chronicles. I was immediately interested! Although the story is a solid 3 stars, I was a bit let down because I went into it with such high expectations.

R.C. Lewis really hit the ground running from the first chapter. There was a lot of jargon thrown all at once and it sort of felt like I was reading book 2 in a series without having even skimmed book 1. It was easy enough to follow along with the gist of it. Our main character is Liddi Jantzen, a 16 year old heiress, who is constantly in the spotlight and feels like she can’t live up to the expectations that her 8 older tech-savvy brothers have set forth. She is set to run the family business when she is old enough, but one night chaos strikes and she gets thrown into a tail spin. What lost me was the explanation of the worlds, the portals, and how they worked. The best way I can explain it is it felt like being told “The chocolate tarp reads shoes for death.” and then the author would explain that meant “Liddi felt prepared.” Wait what?! Exactly! Lol So that was basically the first 3rd of the book for me. Too much was happening so my brain was trying to simultaneously process the world it was being thrown into AND the actual story itself. I stayed with it and luckily towards the second 3rd the book really slowed down. Although this might be the part that will bore some to death, this is when all the jargon finally started to make some sense.

The real challenge for R.C. Lewis here is that our main character doesn’t speak for about 90% of the book! Our villain has set it up so that a single word spoken by Liddi will cause the death of her brothers. The author did a great job at taking us through Liddi’s thought process and emotions without her actually speaking. My only issue with this was that it was expected for us to know why Liddi couldn’t just take out good ole pen and paper to say what she needed to say. It isn’t until page 62 that we get an explanation and by then I had just come to the conclusion that it was just not an option for no other reason other than it just wasn’t an option. *insert shrug* Once the author actually explained why pen and paper weren’t an option then it made sense and that’s when I really began to enjoy seeing Liddi learn how to communicate with other characters without being able to speak. I fell in love with her sarcasm filled mental media-casts which were Liddi’s assumptions of what headlines would read if the media saw her doing what she was in that moment.

Another thing I really liked was the Daglin holiday celebrated in Ferinne! It is basically a day when everyone stops whatever they are doing and spends it cleaning up the town! If only that was an actual thing! Think about how much cleaner our planet would be.

Something I wish we would’ve got more of was the Jantzen brothers in the present. After each chapter we’d get a little blast from the past with a backstory to the Jantzen family. This is really the only time the reader gets an insight into the brothers that Liddi is trying so hard to rescue. Knowing so little about them made me want them to be rescued but only for Liddi’s sake, not because I felt invested in any of their characters.

Although I was confused with the tech talk for quite a while, I still enjoyed this book for the most part. I also plan on checking out Stitching Snow, R.C. Lewis’ other retelling book which is based on Snow White!
346 reviews22 followers
October 31, 2015
Find this review and more fantastical things at The Leaning Tower of Tomes.

Source: I received this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you, Disney Hyperion!

The review:

What I liked:

+ I really like sci-fi fairy tale retellings, I’ve found (as well as those dark and grand high fantasy retellings). Spinning Starlight is a retelling of the Hans Christian Anderson tale The Wild Swans. R.C. Lewis did a great job retelling the fairy tale, and the parallels to the original story are very nice and creative, I must say.

+ I liked Liddi, the main character. Because she can’t speak aloud or else her brothers will die, it was fascinating seeing how she managed to communicate with others. I really felt her frustration, fear, and anger. And her narrative (“inner monologue” you could call it?) was a very strong voice. I admired her determination and really appreciated her unwavering love for her brothers. I love strong family bonds in books.

+ The romance was really cute! It progressed at a nice pace and evolved from a nice friendship. Tiav was an absolute sweetheart and I thought he and Liddi had great chemistry and worked well together. It was definitely difficult for them at times, especially for Tiav, because relationships are built on trust, and Liddi couldn’t tell him everything she wanted to or what he wanted to know. But I really liked the romance, which wasn’t the book’s focus at all.

What I didn’t like as much:

+ The Wild Swans has 11 brothers, but this book cut that down to 8. Still, I think that was too many. They were all nice and stuff, but I really couldn’t tell you all their names or characteristics except for Emil and Fabin.

+ All the technical and scientific terms went a bit over my head… I tried paying close attention but there were so many terms that I gave up. Maybe the explanations and definitions could have been a bit more concise because I really was lost.

+ I wasn’t a huge fan of the flashbacks in third person at the end of every chapter. These were the parts of the book I skimmed. This is not a fault of the author or writing or story — I just personally dislike flashbacks in books. I think these flashbacks were so we could get to learn more and Liddi’s childhood and her relationship with her brothers. I’m sure they added a lot to Liddi’s character, but I personally wasn’t very interested since I just don’t like flashbacks in general.

To sum up my feelings:

I enjoyed Spinning Starlight. The beginning was a bit confusing, but after Liddi met Tiav things really picked up. The technical terms were hard to sort out, but that didn’t hamper my enjoyment. I liked Liddi, I really liked the romance, and I liked how the fairy tale retelling was done. Despite too many brothers to keep track of and all the flashbacks, I read the majority of this book in two days and wasn’t ever bored with it. Not my favorite retelling ever, but it’s a book with a lot of good things in it. ♦

So tell me...

Have you read Spinning Starlight? If you haven’t, would you be interested to? What’s a retelling you’ve read based on a lesser-known fairy tale? Comment below letting me know! And, as always, happy reading!

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Profile Image for nick (the infinite limits of love).
2,119 reviews1,333 followers
October 5, 2015

Ever since the release of the Lunar Chronicles series, I've been interested in reading more YA fairy tale retellings told in a science fiction setting. Spinning Starlight grabbed my attention primarily because of that, but the fact that it also was a The Wild Swans retelling, a less often explored fairy tale, made me want to give this book a chance. For the most part, Spinning Starlight was a great read - the storytelling for one was fantastic, but I also felt like in certain areas, the book lagged.

Liddi, the protagonist of Spinning Starlight, was a character whose character development was at the front and center of the book. And I enjoyed that very much. The heir to a powerful tech company and the only girl in a family of 9 kids, she has always been protected and shielded by her brothers who would do anything for her. When they go missing, it's up to Liddi to go on an adventure to save her brothers, without her voice. Liddi was a brave protagonist, and I really enjoyed being inside her head. Watching as she went through her situation on an entirely different planet where people were wary of her without ever letting it dissuade her from her goal was admirable. Throughout the book, she showed how strong she was on the inside despite having been babied all of her life. Her growth into this fierce character who you could look up to was very well-written and definitely one of the best parts of Spinning Starlight.

Sadly though, I felt like Liddi was the only well-fleshed out character in Spinning Starlight. I wanted to know more about her brothers and their different personalities, but since they only appearances through flashbacks, the reader doesn't get the opportunity to become well-acquainted with them. Liddi's love interest, Tiav, a boy who rescues her as she entered a different planet, was also rather underdeveloped, in my opinion. Don't get me wrong, I thought he was a sweetheart at times, but his personality was rather bland. For that reason, I never really got their romance. There were some moments when I enjoyed it, but it wasn't the sort of epic romance that I was hoping for from Spinning Starlight.

I felt similarly about the world building in Spinning Starlight. It was interesting, and well-thought out, but at the same time it was shaky in certain spots and needed to be fleshed out more. Science fiction in general can be very confusing to me at times, so that might be one reason, but I did feel like certain aspects of the world in which Spinning Starlight was set in lacked foundation. The whole concept of people living on different planets, for instance, wasn't very clear cut and ultimately ended up baffling me. Despite all my niggles about Spinning Starlight, I really enjoyed the plot. I thought R.C Lewis' writing was great and she really knew how to tell a story in a way that captured my attention and held it throughout.

Ultimately, my biggest issue with Spinning Starlight were the secondary characters and the world building. That being said, this was still a fun book to read and I thought the main character's growth throughout the book made the book worth my time.
Profile Image for Debby.
583 reviews540 followers
July 17, 2017
1 star

Geez. That was just... so disappointing. I loved this author's debut novel, so obviously my expectations were up there. I love fairy tales, I love sci-fi, the first was awesome - what could go wrong?

So, so much.

This story is forced. It's like the author woke up and was just absolutely fixated on using this particular fairy tale, and she was going to use any illogical concept, ploy, or plot device to make it happen. And science fiction relies so heavily on SCIENCE that it was too hard to swallow.

I mean, I think I was immediately thrown off when it became apparent that this sci-fi futuristic world had no system of writing. Excuse me? Like, how? How could that ever be a logical thing? Like, that they have tablets and mostly only need to use voice controls for daily tasks and operations, sure. But here you have technologists and scientists at the top of their field. They're going to write, to do their experiments, to take notes, to go through research. I can't even begin to explain how much this frustrates me.

It was obviously NECESSARY because then when Liddi had her voice implant it would make it harder for her to expose the truth and keep her on her treasure hunt, basically. The story would be over in two seconds if it was possible to write. But that's so frustrating. I hate it when non-communication is slowing down the plot. Even when Tiav devises the tablet communication software for her she complains and refuses to use it to explain everything to him because "it would take too long to go through all the symbols". Are you fucking serious? All the time she spent complaining about that... if she'd used that to tell her story, this book could have been 100 pages and everyone would be better off.

Let's not even talk about how at the end of the book, she writes - literally WRITES - the script she wants Dom to air on the newsfeeds. Suddenly she had no problem with that? Or, she had the time for it then, even though the worlds were getting more and more unstable? FOR FUCK'S SAKE.

"Another nod, and I get to work writing the exact words I need for the news-vid. No shortcuts, no skipping anything. Word-for-word."

And why didn't she record that Minali was fired then? Seriously, then she wouldn't have had to sneak around the conduits! Forced suspense is forced and COMPLETELY UNNECESSARY.

Fine, so these couple of story elements immediately put this book on my bad side. And there were no real redeeming qualities to help it recover. Liddi was bland if not annoying. Tiav was a forced love interest. I literally felt absolutely nothing during their kissing / romantic scenes. Cardboard is cardboard and flat. Twice I picked up the book, intending to make significant progress, but I promptly fell asleep within 5 pages.

The "science" at the end was more magic than anything. So that didn't help. I honestly speed read through the climax just to get it over with, because dwelling on certain passages to try to make them make sense in my head was pointless.

In one word: Sad.
Profile Image for fatima.
579 reviews146 followers
July 24, 2016
3.5 stars!

I loved Lewis' Stitching Snow, so when I found out that this was a companion novel of sorts, I immediately wanted to read it. I didn't love this novel as much as I loved the first, but it was still really engaging and a lot of fun to read.

I found Liddi to be a bit boring at times and I think her not being able to speak because of the chip in her throat was because of that - I found her really snarky, intelligent, and fun in the beginning when she could talk and respond with witty quips and what not, but the second her voice was taken away from her she just became a bit boring. Which is obvious, of course, but I really think her character had the chance to shine through when she was given the chance to analyze and to go into detail about seemingly irrelevant things. She's so good at connecting the dots and finding loopholes, and we didn't really get to see that from her for the majority of the story since she couldn't talk. Of course, that wasn't her fault and it wasn't really something that she had control over, but I think the book would've been a lot more interesting and a lot of time would've been saved if Liddi still had her voice.

The science-y aspects to this story were so interesting, and they're the one thing that I love about Lewis' writing. She puts together these concepts and technicalities that are already so complex and intricate in their own way, and she merges them together to create such interesting and strange aspects of the story that make the novel all the more unique. I really enjoyed learning more about this weird and technical world that the story takes place in, and although I did find it to become a little confusing at times, it wasn't anything bit that detoured me from enjoying the story.

I loved Liddi's brothers and the flashbacks with them in it, and although I wish they played more active roles in the story, I really enjoyed reading about them and their familial interactions. The romance was expected and predictable but sweet, and I honestly loved all of the characters. The plot kind of dragged on around the middle and I started to skim a bit, but the ending was really satisfying and I so wish that there was another book to continue this story, or at least a companion novel, because I love how Lewis mixes these retellings with science and technology. This was such a quick and fun read, and it's a great book to read if you're wanting something that's fantasy but with more of a science aspect to it!
Profile Image for Kathy Martin.
3,336 reviews73 followers
August 9, 2015
Liddi Jantzen is an orphan who is the heir to the largest technology company in the galaxy. That makes her the darling of the paparazzi of her day who follow her around with tiny little flying cameras. She has eight older brothers who are all technological geniuses and who love her and want to take care of her. She feels that she lacks their technological genius.

One day she comes home from the latest social event and is almost kidnapped by armed intruders at her home. She escapes to the company headquarters where she learns that her brothers have all disappeared and that the current CEO has a plan that will make their disappearance permanent. She implants Liddi with a device that keeps her silent. In fact, if she talks, she is told her brothers will die.

Liddi escapes to the legendary eighth planet and discovers that the CEO's plan could be completely catastrophic for that world and the seven that Liddi is familiar with. There she meets Tiav who is trained to use the portals that those on the seven worlds use for transportation. Liddi learns so much that she didn't know about those portals and about the greater world around her. She has to convince Tiav to help her and learn more about her own strengths and talents if she is to find a way to save her brothers.

I loved this story which combines a fairy tale with a science fiction world. I thought the world building was excellent and I really loved Liddi. She was a little insecure but she had such a strong love for her brothers that she was willing to do anything to save them.

Fans of science fiction and fans of fairy tales will enjoy the intriguing and fast-paced story.
Profile Image for Holly (Holly Hearts Books).
366 reviews3,036 followers
November 14, 2015
"Some journeys can only be made once. Some partings aren't what they seem. Some endings must be so something else can begin."

This was one of my most anticipated books of this year because I absolutely loved R.C Lewis's Stitching Snow and I can't help but compare the two. Unfortunately this book fell short of me loving it. I loved the relationship between Liddi and her brothers but my main problem was the crazy amount of tech/sciency explanations. My grasp on scifi is a little slippery and this book is one long celebration of technology, chemistry, physics and space.

Personal rating: 3.5
Profile Image for Jayne.
721 reviews
June 19, 2020
I like this more than the first in the series; even though they’re completely different stories this is my preferred of the two. There were annoying inconsistencies, the ending seemed crammed together, I wish Quaine played a bigger role, I wanted more real-time brother interaction prior to their disappearance, and and end desert scene with her brother was weird and needless but I enjoyed it.
Profile Image for Kristy.
1,280 reviews10 followers
April 5, 2019
I love the story of The Six Swans, especially the Daughter of the Forest version. That may be why I liked but didn't love this one. There's no way any retelling will ever compare to Daughter of the Forest. I think if Spinning Starlight were just a scifi adventure, it would be great. But as a Six Swans retelling, I was kind of disappointed. But it was still a decent book and I'd recommend it if scifi is your thing. Just be aware it's pretty heavy on the scifi.
Profile Image for Kate.
Author 1 book32 followers
August 7, 2015
Featured on All Our Worlds!

The Wild Swans is one of my favorite fairy tales. Spinning Starlight takes the idea of a girl whose voice is held hostage to her brothers’ survival and runs with it.

As heir to her family’s enormous tech company, Liddi Jantzen has two main concerns: avoiding embarrassing herself in front of the news cameras that follow her every move, and someday having an invention of her own to present at the next tech conference. When her brothers go missing and she ends up on a planet she previously thought only a myth, her priorities change rather quickly.

Ferinne split off from the Seven Points long ago, seeing them as arrogant and backwards. This planet has aliens. It has a written language, something the Seven Points abandoned ages ago in favor of voice-activiated AIs and audio recordings. Tiav, the young diplomat’s son who finds Liddi, is one of the few people willing to give this “heathen” a chance.

I liked Liddi as a hero. She’s not over-confident, often doubting herself, but she’s certainly not weak. She struggles to communicate without her voice, and while Tiav has the patience to let her puzzle her way through their unfamiliar alphabet, it’s still slow going. And a comment from the woman holding her brothers hostage has convinced her that she was genetically modified to be less intelligent than them. But Liddi keeps going even when there’s so much set against her, even when the conflict turns out to involve several alien species.

The world of the Eight Points isn’t incredibly detailed, but it has everything it needs to tell the story. Each of the seven known planets has a specialty: Liddi’s home world’s is tech, Nevi’s is government, and so on. Other worldbuilding is done in small strokes: children’s games, expressions, technology. You can feel both the big picture and the little details, making the world immediately believable.

On Ferinne, a planet of diverse species and roles, things are a little less proscribed. Liddi comments of an observatory built for multiple species: “Like everywhere else on Ferrine, there’s a place for everyone.” And one of Tiav’s most important beliefs is “Just because something’s right for you doesn’t mean it’ll be right for me.”

The attitudes of various characters are very distinct: Tiav and his mother want to trust Liddi and help her, his friend Kalkig thinks she’s a danger, the media back home thinks she’s a useless celebrity. Liddi’s narration sometimes includes her speculations of what the newscasters would say if they could see her at any particular moment. These manage to be both amusing and upsetting. This is how the world sees her, as a source of entertainment, to be the subject of judgement and gossip. But when she has to struggle for herself in an unfamiliar world with her entire family at stake, she learns she is absolutely capable of it.

And, on the topic of diversity, Liddi is brown. Her family is “sienna-skinned and dark-haired,” and everything in the book points to that being the standard of beauty in this world. Tiav is brown too, as is pretty much every other named character. Women also feature heavily in leadership roles: company leaders, police chiefs, government positions. And all this diversity is completely casual and accepted as an everyday thing.

Another thing I liked was the way the romance worked. The two didn’t immediately click; their relationship grew over time as they worked together. And when they did fall for each other, it didn’t eclipse the plot. The relationship fit as a seamless part of the story.

I highly recommend Spinning Starlight to anyone looking for diverse scifi with a lot of heart.
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