Book Review: Starswept

review-cover-starsweptTitle: Starswept [Starswept 1]

Author: Mary Fan

Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Romance, Dystopian

Rating: 5 Stars



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.


Starswept by Mary Fan was a fantastic journey filled with undercurrents of hope, longing, competition, and freedom. It was a spectacularly well-written story about Iris, a girl that truly embodies what it means to be human, as she navigates a dystopian world that does everything it can to strip that humanity away.

The world-building was complex and well-thought-out. The writing was fluid, easy to follow, and well-edited. Iris, Damiul, and the other characters were full of depth and unique enough to easily distinguish between them. In fact, the only complaint I have is that at the end of the first act, it became obvious that this could have easily been two books. It felt complete at that point. I’m glad it continued though.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and if you enjoy YA dystopians, you probably will as well.