by Mary Fan


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781946202260
Publisher: Mary Fan
Publication date: 08/29/2018
Series: Starswept , #1
Pages: 376
Sales rank: 613,351
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.78(d)
Age Range: 13 - 18 Years

About the Author

Mary Fan lives in New Jersey, where she is currently working in financial marketing. She has also resided in North Carolina, Hong Kong, and Beijing, China. She has been an avid reader for as long as she can remember and especially enjoys the infinite possibilities and out-of-this-world experiences of science fiction and fantasy.

Mary has a B.A. in Music, specializing in composition, from Princeton University and enjoys writing songs as much as writing stories. She also enjoys kickboxing, opera singing, and exploring new things-she'll try almost anything once.

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Starswept 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Jolie More than 1 year ago
When I was approached to review Starswept, I was kind of “eh” about it. But a friend and fellow blogger, Kristin at Simply Enchanted Life, had reviewed it and she loved it. I trust her opinion when it comes to books, so I made the decision to review it. I am glad that I did because this book was fantastic. Starswept takes place in the 2157 North Carolina. It did take me a while to realize that the book was set in North Carolina. I was so engrossed with Iris and Damiul’s romance that it didn’t register. It was only when the author makes a point of mentioning Charlotte, that my radar went off. Iris was a gifted violist who, at the beginning of the book, more than anything wants her ranking to go up. She wants to attract an Adryil patron and be able to find her parents. She meets Damiul as he was running from security bots. He gives her a strange device and tells her not to tell anyone about it. It is soon after that she is able to see and hear him through telepathy. She is soon falling in love with Damiul even though he is hiding something from her. At the same time, she attracts an Adryil patron and is soon off to their planet. But, she comes to realize that what she knew about the Adryil race is not what she thought. There are truths revealed that will shatter her. Can she pull herself together to help the one person who needs it? I liked Iris and I enjoyed watching her character growth throughout the book. She went from being a music-obsessed teenager desperate to attract a patron to a mature young woman who was able to roll with the punches. Her personality came off the pages. I also liked that she was a typical teenager. Well, as typical as a teenager could be while trying to outperform her peers. I couldn’t believe the pressure that she was put under to find a patron. Insane, knowing what I know now. I am glad that Damiul was only shown through telepathy. At first, I wasn’t. I like my romantic characters to be together and interact like couples do. Having Damiul so far away and only so Iris could see him was excellent. What also added to his allure is that I didn’t know anything about him. He didn’t talk to Iris about his family. When things were revealed about him to Iris, I was right there with her being stunned. Music is a huge part of this book. Everything revolved around it. From the school that Iris lived and trained at to going to Adryil. I am not an expert on musical instruments or even the type of music that a viola plays. But, I did my research while reading. If you want to hear a fantastic violist, google Nobuko Imai and watch a few videos of her playing. Beautiful!!! The romance between Damiul and Iris was a slow burn. It was also different because he was only available to her through telepathy. I got caught up in their romance. The end of Starswept was not what I expected. I will leave it at that. If you want to know more, read the book. **I received a free copy of this book and volunteered to review it**
FayTannerr More than 1 year ago
Starswept was a really fascinating novel filled with adventure, music and romance. I loved the plot of the novel and how part of the story was on Earth and the other part on Adryil. The story was well written and absolutely mesmerizing. Iris is determined to find herself a patron to support herself and reunite her family but is certain her skills aren't good enough. She then meets Damiul, an Adryil that broke into her school. The characters were really captivating and unique. I really liked Iris. She was determined, played by the rules and curious. Damiul was literally out of this world and most definitely a mystery that I wanted to more about. Milo was a really great and supportive best friend and Cara was really brave and stubborn. I loved the details of all the various arts at the school and how Iris and her friends are trying to fight for freedom and their rights. Starswept is a brilliant sci-fi novel with romance that will sweep you of your feet!
ReadersFavorite4 More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Cheryl E. Rodriguez for Readers' Favorite Mary Fan writes an exceptional science fiction romance in Starswept. Iris Lei is a promising violinist. However, she is one among many students at the Papilio School of the Arts in North Carolina. Even though she barely remembers her parents, Iris lives in the shadow of her renowned mother. Her mother is out there somewhere, living and performing on Adrye. Hopefully, one day Iris will be selected by an Adryil patron and be reunited with her mother. This is her dream. But Iris’s dream is challenged when she encounters a mysterious young man from Adrye. Being involved with him is dangerous, but she can’t let go of his image. If she gets caught, she could be expelled and lose everything. But, Damiul speaks to her mind; he reveals truths she would have never imagined. His presence is in her heart and mind, but will she ever feel his touch? Music is her refuge, her only safe place. With a “starswept” view before her, and a lamenting melody in her heart, Iris dares to dream. Starswept by Mary Fan is a beautiful, romantic piece of prose. But, it is more than a story of young, star crossed lovers, much, much more. The alien use of telepathy and brainwashing creates a mind boggling plot. The ongoing conflict between the heart and the mind propel the action. Is it a fairytale or is it a conspiracy? Is it about the gift of the arts or is it about the craft of manipulation? Is it rebellion or liberation? The answer - all of the above. Mary Fan is a notable science fiction author, her experience and love of music shine throughout the novel. One of the unusual, yet interesting twists depicted in the narrative is the veneration of the arts. In today’s world, the arts are the first thing eliminated to cut budget costs, yet in this story the arts are the vitality of society. Fan’s descriptions are masterful! Her characters are brilliantly artistic, daring, and courageous, battling against a villainous, sadistic and enslaving world of mind control. Starswept makes you want to believe in storybook dreams and fairy tales, even in futuristic alien worlds.
ReadersFavorite3 More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite “They brought us the future and, in exchange, we brought them true beauty.” But at what price? At the price of freedom? The Adryil, the people from the far-away planet of Adrye, make contact with Earth. Adrye is an Earth-like planet and the Adryil people are humans, only they are far more advanced than the humans on Earth. While Adrye has advanced technology, Earth has the arts: music, dance, all that is beautiful in life. A fair trade allows Earth to benefit from Adrye’s technology, but what does this fair trade give in return? Caught in the middle are the artists: Iris, an exceptionally talented violist, and her best friend, Milo, a dancer, both students at the acclaimed Papilio School for the Arts. All seems normal at school. They work hard in their chosen field of performance and they aspire for greatness, for the honor of being sponsored by a patron from Adrye. But, when Iris connects with a young boy from Adrye, Dámiul, she learns a far different truth from the one she was always led to believe. And, as she learns to protect herself from the powerful forces that threaten to take away from her all that she believes is important, she starts to fall in love. “I wonder what it must be like to live in a place where success and failure doesn’t revolve around the arts.” For Papilio’s students, success and failure are what spur them on. In Mary Fan’s YA science fiction novel, Starswept, the clashing worlds of technology and the arts come to a very surprising climax. The author has written a stunning novel that pits the two forces against each other, neither one being the good nor the evil force. Both powers are swept into their beliefs through greed and a strong desire to dominate all that they can. The idea of creating a plot pitting the arts against technology is brilliant. The story flows at a rapid pace, but not too fast to miss the subtle nuances of the beauty found in the arts. An exceptional story. Well done!
ReadersFavorite2 More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Francine Zane for Readers' Favorite In Starswept by Mary Fan, the world is in an alliance with an alien race that finds the only thing of value on Earth is its arts. To that end, children spend their childhood working to hone their art with the dream of acquiring an Adryil patron. Iris is one such girl. She dreams that her skills with the viola will make all of her dreams come true. When she runs into an Adryil boy on campus, she is shocked and thrilled, but when she finds out that she can communicate with him telepathically, it is beyond surreal. Little does she know that the dreams sold to her by the adults have a gritty underside. Starswept by Mary Fan is a sweet, young adult science fiction story with all the romantic elements of a beloved fable. Iris is a pure soul thrown into unwieldy circumstances. She struggles to succeed the only way she knows how. While on the surface her music is her greatest attribute, in truth it is her heart. She is a loyal and true friend who is willing to sacrifice for the people she loves. While I would have appreciated a little better balance between backstory, dialogue, and action, I have a true appreciation of Fan's ability to weave an enthralling story that pulls the reader in like good music—subtly and with all the finesse of a professional. Iris has all the insecurities and challenges of any 15-year-old, but the way she handles them is truly admirable. She is an excellent role model for today's youth.
ReadersFavorite1 More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Charity Tober for Readers' Favorite Starswept by Mary Fan is an intriguing YA space opera adventure. The story follows a 15-year-old violist named Iris Lei and her journey from a poor nobody to an accomplished musician, catching the attention of the mysterious Adryil--an advanced alien race of telepathic humanoids. The Adryil have so much more than the humans of Earth; the thing they value the most is our performing arts. Iris attends Papilio, a prestigious school run by Adryil technology in the hopes that she can gain an alien patron and change her life. Things get complicated, though, as she navigates the fierce competition at the school, meets an Adryil boy and finds romance, and discovers there might be some very dark secrets lurking in the shadows of her future with the alien race. I thought Starswept had a very unique premise. I've read literally hundreds of YA books over the years and can't remember ever reading one that revolved around music like this one did. I think it added a good twist to the premise. Iris was a really likable protagonist. She was not without flaws but she was very grounded and worked hard to better herself and her life. The romance between Iris and Damiul (the Adryil boy) was sweet and didn't overshadow the main plot line. I think the author also did a good job answering some questions about the alien race, but leaving a lot mysterious to keep readers wanting to learn more. I would recommend this book to fans of YA science fiction, space opera and adventure genres.
ReadersFavorite More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Becky Walker for Readers' Favorite In a brilliant start to this new science fiction series, Mary Fan’s writing is fluid and poetic. Starswept centres on the fate of fifteen-year-old Iris Lei, a talented violist who has lived under the protection of the Papilio performing arts school since birth. Earth, 2157, is a dismal place. In this dystopian society, poverty abounds. One of the few ways to escape a life of misery is for a talented artist to impress the rich and powerful from the far-off planet of Adryil. This advanced, telepathic alien race prizes those that perform to the highest standards and the aim of every student at Papilio is to ‘rise in the rankings’ and attract an Adryil patron before they ‘age out.’ Students and their families are in debt to the school, so even if they are lucky enough to find patronage, it will mean a lifetime of service in order to repay the vast sums involved. Despite this, it is every pupil’s dream, for at least they will have an opportunity to live a better life – on Adryil – and, if they succeed, possibly help their loved ones in the future. Iris’s only true friend in this fiercely competitive environment is Milo, a ballerina who is gradually losing faith with the system. When Iris has a chance encounter with Dámiul, an Adryil youth being chased by the authorities, her life takes a dramatic turn. Via telepathic communications, he warns her that there is more at stake than her musical career. As their relationship starts to blossom, Iris begins to uncover the shocking truth that questions everything she has taken for granted. The author, Mary Fan, has a lovely flowing style, elevated with enchanting descriptive passages of music and art that contrast so well with the dark portraits of an unfair and unbalanced society. Iris’s character, at the start of the book innocent and somewhat naïve, evolves with the story to become a more analytical and feisty protagonist. Her relationship with both Milo and Dámiul are central to this growth and development, the romantic elements agreeably intertwining with the brooding political backdrop. Some of my favorite sections were those relating to Iris’s inner thoughts as she plays ‘Butterfly’s Lament’, the piece she chooses to play at the school spectacle, drawing a parallel to her growing feelings for Dámiul and her fear that a match between an Earthling and an alien could prove futile. However, this is much more than a romantic read. There are probing questions about the misuse of power, ethics and inequality. I thoroughly recommend Starswept to young and new adults - who will identify with Iris’s coming of age – and also to older readers who are looking for a unique and compelling read. Bring on the next book in the series!
WordsOffthePage More than 1 year ago
Mary Fan did a great job at creating a very unassuming, sheltered, yet good protagonist without making me want to tear my hair out. There are some sheltered protagonists that really bother me because they really border on niave and dumb. However, Iris didn't come off that way. Being born in Papilio, Iris really doesn't know anything besides the arts and what she's been fed all her life so her sheltered outlook on life was understandable, however she wasn't niave. She more gave off the impression that her mind was so focused on her performances, that she never really looked away and took in the world around her. However, Iris is quick to learn. When she starts to see how the pressure of success and the competitiveness effects the students, she starts to question her world at Papilio. So while Iris starts out in the book as someone who's sheltered and uninformed, she's grown considerably by the end of the novel. I actually felt kind of proud of her by the end of it. Iris discovers a strength she didn't know she had inside of her and gets things done whether or not it scares her.   The world building was well done for Papilio, but I felt like it was slightly lacking in Adyre. This could be because we don't get to Adyre until about 50% into the novel, but I felt like we could've had a bit more description. However, both societies seem so similar that I didn't find anything specifically hindering the storytelling overall. What I did like was that Fan adds a glossary at the end of the novel. This is really interesting considering that, since the story is told in Iris's perspective, there's a lot of moments that are spoken in the Adyril language. If I really wanted to, I can go back and forth between the glossary and try and translate some of the discussions that were being had. This is a fun little thing that makes my geeky heart melt. A huge component of this novel that I really enjoyed was the romance. I'm a total sucker for the star crossed lovers trope and everyone who knows me knows that I love a slow burning romance. Slow burn romances are my life, give me all of them. Iris's relationship with our Adyril boy never felt disingenuous. There was so much genuine love from both of them that I couldn't help but fall in love with their relationship. While there was arguably reasonable suspicion on Iris's behalf, Damiul does everything he can to gain her trust and apologizes for things when he does something wrong. I was rooting for them the entire time. 
sincerelykarenjo More than 1 year ago
Beautiful and Unforgettable Starswept is absolutely beautiful through and through. I mean the book itself is ridiculously gorgeous! The cover, the design, and the interior chapter spreads… I seriously don’t think I’ve ever seen such a pretty book. And you know the saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover," well you can just throw that out the window right now because Starswept is stunning and undeniably mesmerizing. I’m a bit of a sci-fi nerd and have always been fascinated with the concept of aliens. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting when I read the synopsis for this book, but I was very much intrigued. The first few chapters were a little slow for me, but definitely not boring. To be honest, I actually didn't mind it all that much because Mary Fan’s writing is astounding and once the story picked up pace, I was a goner. The world building is just fabulous – a bit complex, terrifying at times, colorful in every way, and definitely creative. I enjoyed the plot and loved how dark it got towards the end. There’s plenty of drama, conflict, action, mystery, and some really awesome twists that gave me the chills. There was something unearthly and somewhat disturbing about the story, but I was so enthralled with everything that I didn’t want to stop reading. I love Iris so much. She’s curious, sincere, genuine, and passionate. She truly loves playing her viola and I admired her determination. No matter how fierce and competitive it was at Papilio, she never took the easy way out. Dámiul is so mysterious and I was as fascinated with him as Iris was. I enjoyed figuring him out and by the end, he more than won me over. Not only is he dreamy and charming, but he has such a big heart. I absolutely adored Iris and Dámiul together. Their romance was slow and steady, but incredibly swoony. I definitely got that star-crossed lovers vibe so that made their love story more interesting. It was so endearing to watch their relationship progress to something more. While I may have fallen in love with this book before I even started reading it, Mary Fan’s elegant, captivating and fantastic writing completely swept me off my feet and stole such a big piece of my heart. Starswept is ethereal, enigmatic, thrilling and such a wonderful story. If you love YA, and romance, and sci-fi, and beautiful writing, then I highly recommend you grab yourself a copy. Huge thanks to the author for sending me signed hardcover copy. I'm so grateful to have my own copy to hold and keep forever. To read more of my reviews, visit sincerelykarenjo [dot] wordpress [dot] com
ruthsic More than 1 year ago
Fan's intergalactic romance centers on a violist Iris Lei, who is part of a school that is training young Earthlings to become Artists for patronage on a distant planet. In the world of Starswept, the aliens from Adrye have a thriving commerce with Earth, with the former trading technology in return for the art from the latter. Iris' school, Papillio is one of the many competitive academies for Arts where kids are pitted against each other for glory, and the chance to escape a life of drudgery on a futuristic low-manpower Earth. An Adryil boy, Damiul, breaks into Papillio and makes contact with her, despite the restrictions on communications between the two species. While yearning for him, she also prepares for her future ahead, hoping to attract a patron and also hoping that she meets him for real. Life on Adrye is not as promised, though, and it brings about a shift in what she believed until now. The most lovingly rendered aspect of Starswept has to be the art itself. Iris, a violist, is a imaginative perspective to read from, her artist's mind full of dreams, and hopes, and longing for a romance like the one she has heard of in the songs she hears and plays. Realistically, she also knows that none of it is for her, since the contract forbids the Artists from having a personal life in exchange for every comfort provided. For Iris, her music is the thing most important to her, and despite all the hardships and the constant tension in Papillio, she is devoted to her art. Her story plays on the harsh competitive world of performing arts, while also celebrating the creativity of artists. The writing brings out the beauty of music and performance, and the worries and doubts of Iris. The romance is a significant portion of the novel, even when in earlier stages it does not seem so, because it explains the bond between Iris and Damiul. However, even before it is realized, you see the mutual respect and admiration they have for each other, even through Damiul's mostly evasive conversations with her. His life is a mystery to her, which she discovers when she finally gets to Adrye and finds out his motives. I wouldn't want to spoil the plot, so I would just like to say the telepathic aliens arc was played out pretty well. It feels a little like The Hunger Games, too, but only in that the people of Adrye feel like the people of the Capitol. It is also a bit slow to begin with, but by one-third of the novel the pace picks up enough that I couldn't help myself from continuing till the end - I was nearly speeding through the book, nervous about what would happen next. Additionally, the plot has a diverse cast of characters of color, including Iris, who is described as East-Asian (well, you can already know that through the cover!). A minor grievance I had with the world-building of Adyre was that despite it being an alien world, it is too similar to Earth; it is also made hetero-normative (I was expecting the author to subvert that, but was disappointed) and the society pretty much mirrors the one on Earth. Overall, it is a well-written start to a science fiction series, and I am interested in how Fan solves the problems of the world and where the plot will lead. Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review from Snowy Wings Publishing, via Netgalley.