Review: Starswept by Mary Fan

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Title: Starswept (Starswept #1)
Author: Mary Fan
Date: August 29th 2017
Pages: 400
Publisher: Snowy Wings Publishing

Starswept by Mary Fan is a Young Adult sci-fi book set in the future. After a new human-like alien species had reached the Solar system in 2157, they found themselves captivated by how human beings expressed their emotions through Arts. So they became patrons to those musicians, singers and dancers they deemed worthy of being employed and then brought them to their planet: Adrye.

Our language is much simpler than yours because we can share what we mean without words. It’s the reason we never developed anything like your Arts–we don’t need to find creative ways to express ourselves.

Iris Lei, an East Asian girl, has always lived in Papilio, one of the most famous Arts schools in the world, located in North Carolina. In a school attended by one thousand and five hundred pupils, she’s slightly over one thousand in the ranking of Papilio. And if she doesn’t find a patron before she ages out, she will be kicked out of the school and will have to do labor work in order to pay her debt to the school.

It’s more than a school–it’s a nebula. Where stars form from undisciplined dust, where talented children transform into performers the Adryil fly across the universe to see.

On top of having problems getting in a better rank, one night Iris encounters an Adryil boy who gives her a small device. Thanks to the object she can see a kind of hologram of Dámiul and feel his presence in her mind. He brings her comfort and a new world outside of what she has always known.

However, by learning new things, her belief in her school and in what she thought was true is slowly shaken. Secrets are revealed and she doesn’t know what to do and whom to believe anymore.

The main male character, Dámiul, is mysterious. Throughout the book he didn’t reveal much of himself, until over halfway through Starswept. He’s the son of a famous Adryil and if he doesn’t want to put Iris in danger by telling her things many people want to remain hidden.

Their relationship slowly built, even though they both felt an attraction to each other since their first meeting.

Another character important to the story was Milo, Iris’ best friend. He’s a dancer and has been able to attend to Papilio thanks to the sacrifices his parents made in order to pay the school’s fees. He has a huge weight on his shoulders, and is thinking on giving up on everything he had fought for. He was melancholic and I loved him!

They tell us not everyone deserves to matter. Dreams have to be earned, and every day, I grow more afraid that I’ll never be among the worthy.

The writer, with her beautiful and enticing prose, pulls you into the story since the first lines, that you can read in the previous quote, and doesn’t let go until the end.

I was captivated by this book. The concept of Starswept is that there are many things we don’t know about, that we should cross boundaries in order to find the truth and that we shouldn’t settle with what other people say. Maybe this is not what the writer wanted to say, maybe I’m reading above the lines, but this is what I learned from this novel.

I definitely recommend this book and give it 5 out of 5 stars.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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About the author

Mary Fan is a hopeless dreamer, whose mind insists on spinning tales of “what if.” As a music major in college, she told those stories through compositions. Now, she tells them through books—a habit she began as soon as she could pick up a pencil.

Mary lives in New Jersey and has a B.A. from Princeton University. When she’s not scheming to create new worlds, she enjoys kickboxing, opera singing, and blogging about everything having to do with books.

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