REVIEW | Starswept by Mary Fan


Genre: science-fiction, romance, young adult


In 2157, the Adryil—an advanced race of telepathic humanoids—contacted Earth. A century later, 15-year-old violist Iris Lei considers herself lucky to attend Papilio, a prestigious performing arts school powered by their technology. Born penniless, Iris’s one shot at a better life is to attract an Adryil patron. But only the best get hired, and competition is fierce.

A sudden encounter with an Adryil boy upends her world. Iris longs to learn about him and his faraway realm, but after the authorities arrest him for trespassing, the only evidence she has of his existence is the mysterious alien device he slipped to her.

When she starts hearing his voice in her head, she wonders if her world of backstabbing artists and pressure for perfection is driving her insane. Then, she discovers that her visions of him are real—by way of telepathy—and soon finds herself lost in the kind of impossible love she depicts in her music.

But even as their bond deepens, Iris realizes that he’s hiding something from her—and it’s dangerous. Her quest for answers leads her past her sheltered world to a strange planet lightyears away, where she uncovers secrets about Earth’s alien allies that shatter everything she knows.

I basically went into this book not knowing a thing about it. All over Twitter, it’s talked about and raved about so I went ahead and requested it on NetGalley. Thrilled that they approved it, now I could find out what the rave was all about! It dissapointed to begin with but then really started to pick up!


The first half I found kind of slow. There was a plot and it seemed to be mostly suspense-driven (not in a thriller/horror movie kind of way, in a “I know something is going to happen, I just don’t know what). If I was into the arts, then the first half would have been a lot more interesting, but I like music and I play piano but that’s as far as it goes. I’m personally not super into it. But…it’s the arts in space. How is that not cool?

Around the halfway mark, though, it really picked up. It was event after event, we found out a bunch of things that were kept hidden from us in the first half. A lot of things were easier to guess, but the way they were written kept it interesting despite that. The relationships between characters developed more, there was a character development within the main character herself. The second half of this book I personally found miles better than the first half.


I didn’t like Iris for a lot of the book. I feel like that’s heavily because I am not a teenager anymore, and I’m not “boy mad” as I’d call it. I don’t think this is a flaw in Iris, but more of a difference in age more than anything. She has plenty of good traits, like being curious and kind hearted. She had a lot of development, as she ended up being quite kickass and she’d do anything for a cause and those that she loves and it’s really something to admire.

I liked the side characters. I thought Milo was just ok, he was another mediocre man, but the others I really really liked. They really helped Iris grow as character, they had great spirits themselves, you could tell the difference between voices. I’m just sad we didn’t get to see more of them.

Writing Style 

The writing style could be quite blunt at times and didn’t really feel like it was flowing, it felt really planned out like blocks of text were just planned in advance to fit together. Again, I feel like the second half of the book was better then the first half, so the writing style became more flowing as the action really started to happen. I’m still not the biggest fan of the writing style, but it didn’t impact the book too much for me.


The first half was okay/a little dull, the second half was filled with adventure and a lot more satisfying. I liked the characters and the plot. It’s the arts in space! It’s certainly one of the more interesting science-fiction novels that I’ve ever read so I would recommend. I gave this a four out of five stars on Goodreads.

Until next time,

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4 thoughts on “REVIEW | Starswept by Mary Fan

  1. The only thing of interest to me here is the Arts In Space bit haha! I guess I’ll wait and might get around to read this someday, but I know what to expect for the rest. Thanks for this review!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for thanking me!! Like I said the second half was WAY better than the first half, you kinda have to plod through it to get to the good stuff but there is a bit of suspense to keep you going so it’s not completely boring

      Liked by 1 person

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