When my copy of The Star-Spun Web arrived I was immediately in awe of its cover design. Illustrator Sara Mulvanny has created such a mesmerizing gold foil web pattern spanning the entirity, with beautiful images featured in each corner of the front cover linked to the story, and I love it.
Keen to get an understanding of the story I proceeded to read the prologue and first chapter. Never have I felt so emersed in a book so early on like The Star-Spun Web, so much so I had actually read to chapter nine before I felt I could put this book down again (eight chapters further then initially intended).
Having lived all her life in an orphanage, main character Tess is happy to be conducting science experiments alongside her friends and pet tarantula Violet. All is well until a gentleman named Mr Cleat visits claiming to be a distant relation to Tess and insisting she comes to live with him. This is when we first witness the bravery in Tess’ character as she makes the decision to go with him, hoping that in doing so she will find out more about her heritage having only ever been told that she was left in a blanket at the orphanage along with a palm sized, star emblazoned, peculiar device. It is not long before Tess starts to question the motives of Mr Cleat while she adjusts to life at his home, and it becomes clear that the only way to get the answers she seeks is to search them out herself. Just like her science sessions back at the orphanage Tess sets about completing experiments to give her a better understanding of the strange device she was gifted as a baby and Mr Cleats interest in her.
When faced with so much uncertainty Tess has an unfaultering determination that I admire and she truly is the heroine in the story, seeking out the truth whilst trying to ensure nobody she cares about gets hurt.
Sinéad O’Hart has written a powerfully evocative story reinforcing the importance of family, friendship and sense of belonging using a combination of strong heroic characters and duplicitous villians. The Star-Spun Web has set the bar extremely high early on in 2019 and for me personally is one of my top three reads since taking on my role as a primary school librarian, and a title I shall recommend from age 8+ to all.
Publication date – 07/02/19
RRP – £6.99