Monday, 21 January 2019

Sinéad O’Hart - The Star-Spun Web - Book Review - Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books

With her passion for scientific experimentation and her pet tarantula Violet, Tess de Sousa is no ordinary orphan. When a stranger shows up at Ackerbee’s Home for Lost and Foundlings, claiming to be a distant relative come to adopt her, Tess hopes to find some answers to her mysterious origins. But as she adjusts to her new life at Roedeer Lodge, it becomes clear that Norton F. Cleat knows more about Tess – and the strange device left with her when she was abandoned as a baby – than he’s letting on. And when Tess discovers that the Starspinner is the gateway between her world and a parallel world in which war rages, she realizes she may be the key to a terrible plan. A plan she must stop at all costs...

The Star-Spun Web is another fantastic page turner from Irish-born author Sinéad O’Hart. This will be her second book, her acclaimed debut was another favourite of mine - The Eye of the North came out early last year. This new book will be published on the 7th February 2019 by Stripes Publishing. The book cover is very appealing and captivating; it certainly catches your attention on the bookshelf. This has been brillantly illustrated by Sara Mulvanny who is a talented and renowned illustrator. If you want to read more about her then check out the Q&A we did HERE

Unlike many other books, the prologue gained my attention very quickly. It sets up the story brilliantly enabling the reader to become enraptured with the story instantly. It certainly encouraged me to read further with ease and interest which is something that I don't always find with other books.

The story is very imaginative as it pulls the fantasty silk threads into a sense of mystery. The reader is left constantly asking questions as to what lies ahead, how situations will be resolved and the characters' intentions etc. These provide the reader with an active role in the book rather than being a passive bystander within the narrative.

This magical adventure is about parallel words and highlighting all of the possibilities that might lie within. The book features a brilliant cast of characters including orphan Tess and her pet tarantula as they embark on an adventure like no other. The relationship between them is very interesting as it adds humour and fun whilst also exploring the feelings that Tess experiences through their dialogue. It was both lighthearted yet touching as she tries to navigate her way through life and the tangled web that she finds herself in.

I easily designated five stars to this book as I thoroughly enjoyed it. The blend of science-fiction and time travel through the expoloration of parallel universes was engaging and thrilling. There was a real contrast between the dark elements within the story (e.g. loneliness and grief) in comparison to the love and warmth portrayed by some of the characters. It has been very well written with some fantastic plot ideas that are perhaps not overly used at the moment, especially for the intended audience age (8-12).

I would love to be able to read more from this author and to join these characters on another adventure. Hopefully, this book stages the possibility of opening other doors and staging a fantastic series ahead.

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