Book Review: Starswept by Mary Fan
Yes, I'm almost 30 and YA is still one of my favorite genres to read. Especially for fun, quick summertime reads! Don't @ me.
Starswept is written by Mary Fan, and is the start to an epic young adult romance that crosses into science fiction, a space opera that has literal opera singers and musicians in it. When I was offered a free copy of this book to review, the description alone had me hooked. I couldn't wait to start reading!
If you aren't a fan of the YA genre, or specifically teenagers fighting for their ideals and falling in love to fast...this isn't the book for you. BUT! If you love creative storytelling, easy to grasp sci-fi concepts and touches of music, you should be very pleased with Starswept.
The story centers around Iris Lei and her life as a student at the fictional Papilio School near Charlotte, North Carolina. The year is 2268, Iris is 15, plays the viola and is aching to become an Artist in order to be hired by telepathic aliens called the Adryil (that's right, not just normalaliens,telepathicones!), and leave Earth. She has never met her parents, who left the school soon after she was born. Her mother was lucky enough to be hired and taken away to preform for her new sponsors, while her father was sent away to work hard, physical labor jobs when he wasn't hired before he aged out of the school. Becoming an artist and finding her family has always been her dream. However, one night, Iris has a run in with a young Adryil boy, on school grounds. An epic kismet, and the love story begins! Iris learns what it takes to be human, to be an Artist, and to fight for those you love. Drama, danger, aliens, music, love, forgotten memories...I truly enjoyed this book!
I have to admit, being older, having gone through the joys (and horrors) of puberty and first loves, I definitely rolled my eyes a few times when Iris would pine for her mysterious Adryil boy. But at the same time, I still remember how it felt to be young and want to connect with someone so badly that you get tunnel vision. A few times I wanted to shake her and tell her what to do! Thats when I realized that this character was so well written it was like looking into a mirror of my own 15 year brain. The romance may be a bit cheesy and a huge part of Iris's motivation in the story, but I loved it. As someone who isn't super 'sappy', but married to the master of all sappiness, this was a good middle ground for me. I rolled my eyes and groaned, but in the back of my mind I was oohing & awing and eating it up.
Don't let the love story fool you! There is some action in this book as well! Spies, sneaking about, secret motives and technology. What's a love story without some danger, am I right? ;)
Overall, I found myself picking up Starswept and getting lost in the story really quickly. It was just want I needed for a good read on a sunny deck. The characters are compelling, even if it's because they are young and you just want to see if they make good choices...ha! I wouldn't mind seeing this made into a tv series, I see a lot of great options for musical numbers and musical education.
I would rate this a 3.5 out of 5. It is perfect for younger readers, but I liked it and I will absolutely be looking for the next books in the series. I'm fully invested in Iris, her quest to save the Artists and of course, finding her family and starting her own life knowing what it is like to be loved unconditionally.
Have you read Starswept? If so, let me know what you thought of it. And if you haven't, do you think you will?