I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
This fantasy, science fiction is a eARC edition that was published by Disney-Hyperion on October 14, 2014 and has 338 pages.
Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.
This is a fantasy science fiction for Young Adults and a real treat.
Thanks to NetGalley and Disney-Hyperion for providing this ARC for my enjoyment.
Oh, this was fun! A strong female character who develops her skills and protects herself in a universe which combines the medieval with computers, a sci-fi take on that fairytale, Snow White, with a wicked stepmother, poison, apples, and a runaway princess. Lewis has updated the traditional tale with a living father with some nasty secrets, rocket ships, computers, and a lot more huntsmen and “dwarves”. And I’m not sure if it’s just the drones who are the seven dwarves.
Stitching. It’s working microcontacts, a different way of looking at snipping and patching computer code to create something new or better. Essie specializes in stitching and is unknowingly gaining Forty-Two a reputation for output without injury. Throw this in with Essie’s more, ahem, physical side and it turns a bit vicious, but it does the job. Now if only she didn’t let her pride rule her decisions. It’s that pride that will change the direction of her future. Still, I like how stubborn she is. She is not about to go quietly.
Just because the miners lost on that fight is no reason for Essie to have to make up anything to them. These miners are just nasty. Essie has done so much to make their lives easier and safer, and yet they want to see her hurt. But none more than Moray, and it’s his attack that springs open a side Essie had hidden years ago.
“Aye, but that was different. We were friends then.”
I love the idea of the solar screen on Garam! Although I don’t like the Garamites. Snooty buggers. I did enjoy Essie’s sneakiness in getting information, and she learns a lot from Dane’s actions too. She also gets to try that VT fighting. Ooopsies.
“‘Why not use me to get on with it faster?’
‘Using is using, from where I stand.'”
What a rude bunch on Candara! Have they NO manners?? Although, they do pale next to what King Matthias and Queen Olivia get up to. Oh. My. God.
A few caveats. Lewis needs to work on the romance angle better. It’s much too subtle at the start and suddenly bursts out. It works, but it could be better. Dane does figure out the truth about Matthias as soon as he meets him, so I wonder how no one else picks up on it. How does neither Dane nor Essie figure out that the apple is likely to be poisoned??? I mean, duhhhh.
Interesting bit about the map used in Taktik. I like how Lewis made me use my imagination with that boot! I hope it makes kids head for the globe! Theo’s story about Queen Alaina was sweet, a bit of foreshadowing. Then there’s the school and meeting the schoolchildren, a reminder of Theo, and a warm thought to cherish while having dinner with brainless ninnies.
It’s not a strenuous story. No scary drama but just enough tension, making this a story you cannot put down. It’s too different, too much action. Too many swings, sways, and punches that keep changing how you view the story. You want to race through just to find out what happens next. What smart-mouth remark Essie will spout next, lol, even as it makes you laugh and cry.
“Brave is being scared and doing what needs to be done anyway.”
Essie ensures her safety by cage fighting. She’s just leaving one night when a shuttlecraft crashes outside the zone. It’s her mother’s voice telling her to pay it forward, and Essie helps repair Dane’s ship.
Only it doesn’t pay off as Essie had planned, and Dane is determined to free the Candaran hostages King Matthias imprisoned when his daughter went missing.
The feisty Essie is still young and ekes out a living at Mining Settlement Forty-Two by building drones. Her particular drones include Dimwit, who somehow manages to get the important things right; Whirligig, a.k.a., ‘Gig; Clank and Clunk; Cusser; Ticktock; and, Zippy. Her mother, Alaina (her real name is Ametsa), may be dead but her aphorisms sound off in Essie’s head, pushing her onto the right path.
Dane seems to be a Garamite from Garam hunting for treasure. Something that will help him unite Garam against Windsong.
Thanda is a practically frozen mining planet where merinium is mined.
Petey is both bartender and protector; he runs the Station where the fights take place and men can drink. Grayson is his assistant. Jarom Thacker is said to be the sharpest fighter on Thanda. The creepy Lawrence Moray has been wanting to fight Essie too. Ever since she turned him down. The Bands are at the equator of Thanda where the families live. Umbergild is the most prosperous settlement on the planet; the Ascetics live there.
Garam is a high tech planet
There is no central government here, and they all work to keep Windsong happy so they leave Garam and its colonies alone. This bargain works because Garam is renowned for its technology. Brand rules the colony where they drop. Liza helps heal Essie’s injuries. Tobias is the tech repair teacher who will oversee the repairs to Dane’s shuttle. Harper checked Essie’s records on Thanda. Oops.
Candara is where the Exiles fled
Gakoa is the capital city. The governing council is made up of members of the First Families of Candara and includes Stindu, Lunak, and Mura. Kip (Keppes is his Candaran name) is Candaran, and Kadei is his nephew. Pondu and Mikat are engineers; Tatsa is Mikat’s young daughter. Laisa was Alaina/Ametsa’s friend when they were girls.
Windsong is the ruling planet and quite luxurious
Princess Snow is missing (Elurra was the name her mother gave her); Kip was the Midnight Blade who helped Snow disappear. Queen Olivia is Snow’s stepmother and the royal theurgist with “magical” healing abilities. Her father, King Matthias, works to appear benevolent but is actually a dictator. The Midnight Blade is the queen’s guard. The Golden Sword is the king’s guard. The Silver Dagger is the princess’ guard. Margaret is the king’s aide. Tutor Benedict taught Snow about computers. Garrick is a footman. Lucia is likely one of Olivia’s sample victims. Theo is the guard who flies Snow and Dane to the war zone in Saddlewood. Iris is an aide assigned to Snow.
Larsen is the captain of Fort Saddlewood and has a list of problems Snow takes on. Including not having proper care available for the wounded.
Darrak is Dane’s father, the man who would be king. And he’s dead. He died 7 years ago of an infection. Not surprising in that horrid dungeon Matthias and Olivia keep the hostages in.
The Exiles are what the people of Windsong call them; they were the previous rulers of Windsong until Matthias’ ancestors kicked them out. The Exiles call themselves Candarans. The War of Exile is called the Liberation on Windsong. Ascetics lie to everyone not them.
Merinium is formed from a chemical reaction between stone and harri-harra (a Thandan worm) excrement and secretions. It can be mined once it’s aged long enough. Body-hopping, a.k.a., Transitioning, is a skill, a gift, granted with Exile blood and allows a person to “hop” into another’s body. To manipulate his thinking into doing what you want. Tipping is nudging someone in the direction you want them to go.
The Cover and Title
The cover is beautiful, although I’m not sure how it relates to the story. It’s a white background with scrolls and a lacy effect which is overlaid with another lacy effect but in purple to form an apple. It’s all very scrolly with a feeling of musical notes or circuit boards or lacework. Hmmm, maybe it’s a nod to that tattoo…
The title is all about Essie, her skills and a reference to her home planet name. She’s Stitching Snow and good at it.