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Starlight Seized

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Captivating, poetic, emotional, and wonderful. Starlight Seized is an absolute must-read!

Synopsis

Two storytellers
A single, intertwined destiny

Maris Hall's name isn't spoken. Her writings were burned. Her images erased because of the horrendous thing she did. As a third-generation inhabitant of the red desert planet Erimost, Tessa Hall ironically knows precious little about her own family history, despite being the city historian.

When she discovers the journal of her grandmother, the first historian, she slowly comes to realize that the secrets of the past might be the key to saving the present. It speaks of aliens who feed on stories and devastating famines. Are the contents true or simply the ramblings of a madwoman?

Mysteriously cut off from communication with the home planet decades prior and with a limited supply of the medicine that helps them tolerate the harsh environment, the people of Erimost are in a precarious position. In a race to understand herself and the planet she's always despised, what secrets will Tessa uncover?

I received an Advance Reader Copy of Starlight Seized by China Dennington. The reason I picked it is because I was intrigued by a sci-fi story following two different people, a generation apart.


I will start by saying that Starlight Seized is one of the most wonderful books I have read in years. I couldn't put it down! The story is engaging, characters captivating, and author Dennington wove in just enough mystery and intrigue to keep me guessing and wanting more.


We follow the journey of young Tessa, third generation historian on the newly colonised planet of Erimost. Occupations on this new planet are inherited, meaning that Tessa's mother and grandmother were also historians.


This story is told through journal entries. As the planet's historian, Tessa is responsible for keeping accurate, but no nonsense, records of important events. But she keeps her own journal on the side where she writes about so, so much more.


Like how her grandmother, Maris Hall, Erimost's founding historian who arrived by spaceship many decades earlier, was responsible for a terrorist attack and is now completely erased from the historical records.


When Tessa comes across her grandmother's personal journal, she sets about finding the truth of what happened. The timeline goes back and forth between Tessa's entries and Maris's, so be aware of this if timeline jumping confuses you at all.


The Erimostians have lost contact with their home planet... around the same time of Maris's attack. Is this a coincidence or is it connected somehow? Join Tessa as she moves with secret organisations, creates strong friendships, and navigates betrayal on her search for what actually happened to her grandmother.


I would recommend this book to anyone interested in fictional memoirs, science fiction, and strong, captivating female protagonists. I honestly have zero criticisms of it.


Starlight Seized is fascinating and wonderfully written. There were times reading this book I found myself going back and re-reading paragraphs and pages of beautifully crafted words. Dennington is a master of her craft and I cannot wait to read more from her.

Reviewed by

I'm an avid YA/Fantasy reader who's very, very slowly working on my first novel. I used to read exclusively mystery books and still love them, too!

I write terribly good Harry Potter fanfiction, explore Skyrim, Azeroth, and Northern Ireland, crochet any & everything, & cook epic vegan meals.

Synopsis

Two storytellers
A single, intertwined destiny

Maris Hall's name isn't spoken. Her writings were burned. Her images erased because of the horrendous thing she did. As a third-generation inhabitant of the red desert planet Erimost, Tessa Hall ironically knows precious little about her own family history, despite being the city historian.

When she discovers the journal of her grandmother, the first historian, she slowly comes to realize that the secrets of the past might be the key to saving the present. It speaks of aliens who feed on stories and devastating famines. Are the contents true or simply the ramblings of a madwoman?

Mysteriously cut off from communication with the home planet decades prior and with a limited supply of the medicine that helps them tolerate the harsh environment, the people of Erimost are in a precarious position. In a race to understand herself and the planet she's always despised, what secrets will Tessa uncover?

Tessa, 14th of Destya, 1121


“But why have their pictures been erased?” I pressure, racing after my mother as she walks into the next room, her footsteps crisp and quick on the tiles.

“I was looking through photographs of the Landing in the library and their faces are blurred out. When I saw that I did some digging. Every mention of their names is redacted, every image covered. I couldn’t find a single picture.”

“It’s because of the Damnation of their Memories. You know this already, Tessa,” she replies angrily.

“But why? Doesn’t it seem extreme to you?”

She whirls on me, her thick black hair popping against her pale white complexion.

“My parents killed people, Tessa. Is that what you want to hear? They set off an explosion and purposefully killed innocent people. So yes, their memories are as damned to hell as I’m sure they are.”  

Her voice is tight and controlled, as always. I place my sepia brown hand on her arm, causing her to pause.

“Don’t you find it strange that we lost contact with Dentroa the same year they died?” I continue.

I withdraw my hand and with a huff she slams around the kitchen, pulling vegetables from the icebox and slicing them with unnecessary vigor on the sleek metal countertop.

“Why are you so obsessed with this?”

“Maybe because I’m stranded on this godforsaken desert planet and I’d like to know why?” I shout. “We are the city historians, aren’t we?”

“You’re only sixteen. You’re not the historian yet, but I am. This conversation’s over,” she snaps as she turns on a lamp to combat the fading light.

I storm away, burning with frustration, pushing the tight coils of my black hair away from my face. Stifled. Trapped. Nowhere to go. I sigh, shutting myself in my room and sinking onto my bed. I’ll survive. Well, for a while anyway. One day at a time, I remind myself. 

I comfort myself with daydreams of rain showers and the sight of green forests brimming with life on Dentroa. But dreams they are and dreams they will remain. Will I never leave this place? 

 

About the author

China Dennington is a 20-year-old history student. She has always adored science fiction & fantasy. From mermaids to aliens, anything fantastical captures her attention! In her free time she enjoys watching Star Wars and listening to U2. China loves Jesus and is an advocate for gender equality. view profile

Published on August 15, 2020

90000 words

Genre: Young Adult

Reviewed by

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