Some Questions About The Star-Spun Web by Sinéad O'Hart

I had been approaching my current read with baby steps these days by diving into the world of The Star-Spun Web by Sinéad O'Hart one chapter at a time. While the experience had been a blast, slow reading had certainly done me good. To a certain extent, it's even much more fun that way too, so I stopped rushing altogether as soon as I found out that it was not the goal. It felt rather nice to be able to sit and enjoy things bit by bit. But since an ending is inevitable sooner or later, the last page was not out of my reach anymore that I could easily finish this book this afternoon, so I did.

The Star-Spun Web follows the story of Tess, a young girl who was left at the Ackerbees Home for Lost and Foundlings when she was still a baby. Knowing nothing about her past or her parents, Tess is intrigued when one day a stranger called Mr. Cleat comes to the Ackerbees Home and claims himself as her long lost relative. Mrs. Ackerbee, the owner of the house, doesn't believe him though. In order to brace Tess for the questionable claim, she confesses that she has always had the suspicion that Tess may have come from another reality. Tess is shocked by the revelation, but she's also determined to find out her true identity by meeting this strange man.

Tess soon learns her mistakes though: living with Mr. Cleat turns out to be a nightmare especially with the existence of Mrs. Thistletorn, the cruel housekeeper. No matter how much space she has for herself, the rules make her feel like a prisoner. Good thing that she still has her pet tarantula, Violet, to accompany her. Moreover, Tess also makes good use of a device her father left her and later finds out a window to another reality through it. That's when Tess meets Thomas and his Moose (which I assumed were from our reality).

To be honest, the first few chapters of this book bored me a little. The pace felt a bit too slow and there were quite a lot of unimportant details scattered around the narration. Though thankfully, things got a lot more interesting once you had reached the main conflict. I finished the last 200+ pages in a day as they got my undivided attention and it felt fulfilling to do so (so much for slowing reading but hey it's a fact).

Tess was very brave, realistic, and therefore admirable. As a heroine, she still had to face her moment of vulnerability from time to time and well, I adored the mundaneness. Her devotion to Violet was very thoroughshe even went as far as to risk the fate of the whole multi-universe for her petand I found her more admirable that way. To tell you the truth, I rooted for her the whole time partly because of this and partly because of how nasty Mrs. Thistletorn was.

Without shame, I'll admit that I loathed Mrs. Thistletorn so much to the point where I have to applause O'Hart for her very great job in polishing her characters. Mrs. Thistletorn was a perfect example of a bully: she's so snobby, mean, and every other bad quality you'd despise in a character. If you decided to read this book, I guarantee you would hate her too. Though contrary to my dislike of her, I did fancy the way the author described the experience of jumping from one reality to another. The fact that there were a lot of historical events mentioned was very cool. It's utterly mind-blowing to imagine the impact of some real events on the supposedly different layers of reality. The description seemed to make total sense somehow.

The naked cover of The Star-Spun Web

However, I still have some unanswered questions about Tess and they actually bug me so much. Please don't continue if you haven't read the book yet:

Question number 1: It was told in the beginning that Tess came from another reality. If it was true, shouldn't there be another de Sousa in the reality she's currently living in? Considering she once told Thomas that he was possibly another version of her in his reality, there should be a Tess/Thomas alike in this verse, right?
Question number 2: Correct me if I'm wrong, but I remember flicking through an explanation that it was possible for the Star Spinner to remember the previous reality it had brought someone into. If this was the case and her father was the last person using it, shouldn't it mean that Tess came from Thomas' reality also? I let myself believe they were siblings because of this logic.
Question number 3: How did Mr. Cleat find Tess in the first place and what happened to Tess' parents? Will there be a sequel to answer all of these questions?

Regardless of the questions, The Star-Spun Web was quite enjoyable as a whole. In contrast to the slow-moving beginning, the ending was far more badass and thus interesting. Moreover, the friendship in this book was pretty cute and unexpected too. It's always nice to read about girls teaming up and helping each other out. I'm now craving for books this sweet.