Spinning Starlight

by R.C. Lewis

Cover Beauty Score: 8 out of 10
Goodreads Score: 2 out of 5

Plot Blurb: Liddi Jantzen is a teenager born into the fame of her tech tycoon parents, with eight older brothers who are all tech prodigies as well. When her brothers are trapped in the hyper-dimensional space between places during a portal jump, Liddi discovers it is no accident at all and her voice is taken from her to keep her silent. Sent to a stranger planet she never knew existed, she is dependent on the kindness of Tiav, a native of that planet, to help her navigate the political and religious tensions that exist there and find a way to save her brothers.

My Reaction: I feel really bad giving this book the rating I did. R.C. Lewis is really a great writer, but with this one the plot just was so flat that I couldn't handle it. If I hadn't purchased this one (the cover is admittedly beautiful. Not as beautiful as Stitching Snow, but still pretty!), it would probably have been a DNR for me.

So where did it take a wrong turn? This is a sci-fi retelling of the Swan Brothers fairy tale, which is a personal favorite of mine. I feel like Lewis was really ambitious in taking this story and expecting to be able to weave it into something that would please a YA fan. The complexities of this fairy tale are difficult to cover, even within the confines of an extremely long and drawn out traditional fantasy. There was simply too much ground to cover and not enough time to get us there.

To begin with, we don't ever meet the brothers until they're already missing. I feel like this was probably THE biggest mistake right here. Although Lewis gives us some cookie crumbs of flashbacks throughout, we are never emotionally invested in the fact that they are gone from Liddi's life. Why should I care about brothers that I don't know? It would have been well worth it to have included a chapter or two setting the scene for us to love them and understand Liddi's relationship with her brothers.

And of course, this set up the whole story to feel less than authentic for me. If I don't understand Liddi's stakes, then why should I care about her story?

And let's get to Tiav. Yeah, he's pretty amazing. Pretty much TOO amazing, if you ask me. I know that in this fairy tale her man is supposed to be good and trusting and able to stand by her side even despite the fact it seems like she's betraying him, but there was no intrigue here. Liddi never went through any hardships before she met Tiav who offered her sanctuary, so his character ended up seeming flat instead of necessary for her growth and healing.

There are a lot of things that went wrong here, and none of them were Lewis' technical writing. She has talent, and I just wish the plot on this one had been better. Much like with Stitching Snow, I felt the climax was too much, too soon. Not enough build up to the arch resolution, not enough confrontation to suit the gravity of Liddi's situation.

And don't even get me started on the strange ending. I mean, I can see where Lewis was going, but it could have benefited from some serious plot editing.

And my search for more sci-fi YA/NA continues...

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