The Starriest Summer is the first book in the The Cycle of the Six Moons series by Adelle Yeung. Fifteen-year-old Michelle saves the world on a daily basis, with her trusty video game controller, of course! Naturally, she jumps at the chance to play an experimental virtual reality game. The beautiful fantasy world of Starrs? Check. The power to mold matter? Check. No reset button? Wait, she didn’t sign up for this! Turns out Starrs is really real, and to make matters worse, Michelle’s interference awakens the Cycle of the Six Moons, a series of devastating trials that will devour the universe. Fighting the apocalypse was way easier when danger stayed on the other side of the screen, but Michelle finds a secret weapon in her new-found powers. She uses them to rescue the crown prince of a powerful magic kingdom from their sworn enemies, a technologically-advanced cult that strives to eradicate magical blood. Michelle starts to fall for Prince Jayse, the only one who believes Michelle to be a savior rather than a curse.
The Starriest Summer is a quick moving adventure that had me eager to discover where the story and Michelle are going next. When Michelle heads into the video game she thinks it is just a new virtual reality game. However, if she listened to her brother's warning she might have known it was much more than it seemed. I enjoyed the world building, and the fact that our main character is discovering the lore and environment right along with the reader. While sometimes she proves to be a little slower on the uptake that I hope I would be, her flaws make her more realistic than a character that gets everything right the first go round. Her exploration of the world, discovery and introduction of characters, and the build up of a story that promises deception and danger underlying everything only begins here. I was glad that Yeung did not try to cram everything in one book, because there seems to be so much more to tell. I like that the story was complete enough to leave me with a full story, but wanting to know so much more. It was a nearly perfect balance. I found the world and characters to be rich and complex, and even after reading the complete book I still have questions about the Cycle, politics, and royal family that I hope will be addressed in the books to follow. I really want more of the history behind the stories that I feel have missing pieces, but I will just have to wait.