For Tess de Sousa, inventing a way to create electricity using seaweed in the basement of Ackerbee’s Home for Lost and Foundlings is nothing out of the ordinary. It’s normal for her to conduct scientific experiments with her best friend Wilf and her pet tarantula, Violet, by her side. But what certainly isn’t ordinary is the arrival of the mysterious, unlikable Mr. Cleat, who claims he’s Tess’s only family.
Tess doesn’t want to leave her beloved home, and certainly not with a man who seems more interested in the peculiar metal object she was found with than her. But she doesn’t have a choice. She finds herself whisked away to Mr. Cleat’s dismal home, where her only relief is covertly discovering the secrets of the object, which she learns is called the Star-spinner—and enables her to travel into alternate realities.
But it seems Tess isn’t the only one who knows the Star-spinner’s secret. And as she learns more about Mr. Cleat, the Star-spinner, and herself, she uncovers a plot which she is at the center of—a plot could affect overlapping realities, which she must stop at all costs.
The Starspun Web is a fast-paced, well-plotted historical fantasy novel with an interesting world. Tess is a quirky, determined protagonist (I particularly like Violet!), and her ties to a really nice orphanage made this book about friendship and home as well as fantasy adventures and interdimensional travel. It’s also cool how Sinéad O’Hart incorporated the historical backdrop of World War II into this story. Overall, I recommend The Starspun Web to fantasy lovers ages nine and up.