A runaway Princess who is tech savvy, lives among miners, and who is an awesome computer coder….whose best friends are drones. Definitely points for creativity on a popular royalty plot, which I somehow seems to be reading a lot of quiet accidentally. And there’s also spaceships.
Essie is happy to live nearly to herself in a miner’s community where she programs the drones who work in the mines. With the crash of a ship and introduction to a stranger, Dane, Essie is soon taken back to her Royal past. Eight years have passed since Essie – real name of Snow – went missing, not all of the kingdom is happy to see her return, especially not the Queen. In a time of “haves” and “have-nots” with misguided citizens and rebels fighting an eight-year war where the truth lies more with corruption than a cause, Essie and Dane not only must find the truth, but must survive each of the Queen’s attempts on their lives.
Older readers who are fans of The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer will enjoy the allusion to Snow White.
As they return to Essie’s home, and hiding their plan to help end the war, Essie and Dane reunite with the King whose war imprisoned Dane’s father and the Queen who, stereo-typically, is the evil Stepmother. By the end of this book I thought it tried a bit too far to be shocking young adult literature. Essie certainly was a strong female character and a survivor before we learned the background of a sexually abusive father, but after she realizes what he’s done, we see she is even stronger. [She’s nearly raped by her King father (not the first time), unnecessarily in my eyes since it only gave obvious reasoning for Dane to kill him yet it didn’t lead to any truth seeking, revelation, or even mention later by Essie.]
My complaint with that realization being added is that it wasn’t needed for the plot and once the almost rape scene was over, it was never mentioned again. Unlike a true victim of sexual assault, Essie had no processing or coming to terms with it. It simply was forgotten.
It read more as an obvious reason for readers not to think Dane did wrong by killing him, but that murder was justified. However, it had an opposite affect on me – I won’t buy or suggest this book, which is a shame since the whole computer savvy female was a character I was excited to root for. If something came from Essie remembering the truth, or it added to the plot, I could overlook that scene and I would recommend this book carefully to my students; however, it adding to a plot with other holes, an unrealistic progression of events, and weak writing I don’t think I’ll continue with the series. Shame really, the drones (one suitably named ‘Cusser’) were funny.
This companion, not sequel, actually sounds like a better book….. maybe I’m not finished with this story line of a tech savvy teenage girl in another galaxy trying to help others. I always enjoy a plot that alludes to fairy tales.
For an interview with the author and more about Spinning Starlight click here.