Reading Level: Young Adult
Genre: Science Fiction
Length: 336 pages
Release Date: October 6, 2015
Stand Alone or Series: Stand Alone
Source: eGalley from NetGalley.com
Rating: 3/5 stars
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.
This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
– You Read How Many Books? Reading Challenge