The Starpoint Project: The Girl with Red Hair

Marie-Lorna Vaconsin

(Editions Anne Carrière: La Belle Colère, 376 pages, 2017)

 

A new door has just opened in the world of young adult fantasy literature. Fans of His Dark Materials, pack your suitcases and set your compass with The Starpoint Project, a new universe created by Marie-Lorna Vaconsin that’s worthy of Philip Pullman. Jump in with the first novel in the trilogy, The Girl with the Red Hair.

Pythagoras Luchon is fifteen. He lives in the town of Loiret-en-Retz and is about to start another predictable school year: working—a little; listening to music—a lot; hitting on girls—as much as possible, especially at the next back-to-school party where he’ll be the DJ. He has no illusions about the jibes he’ll have to endure about his mother—a math teacher at the school—nor of the sadness he feels during the trips to the hospital to visit his father—a brilliant quantum physics researcher who is in a coma after being mugged. But there is one thing that does cheer him up: the idea of seeing his best friend, Louise, the daughter of the school caretaker.

However, first day back at school, Pythagoras discovers that Louise has dropped him as a friend. She’s linked up with a new student called Foresta Erivan, whose presence by her side is all the more intriguing because the two girls have nothing in common. Louise is a science and engineering geek, whereas the new classmate has quite a different look: she has red hair, always dresses in black—often in leather—and slaps anyone whose attitude gets up her nose. Under her influence, Louise avoids her former friends, loses interest in her work, and begins to play hooky. Pythagoras silently deplores the presence of this newcomer, who irritates and attracts him in equal measure—until she turns up at his house in the middle of the night to announce that Louise has disappeared. She explains that, to bring Louise back, they must pass through what she calls the “dead angle” in mirrors. Pyth follows her, never suspecting that he is about to topple into a parallel universe—the one in which Foresta was raised and where Louise is on the verge of being lost forever.

Marie-Lorna Vaconsin is a science fiction and fantasy writer, film and TV actress, and restaurateur. She was born in Paris in 1979 and studied modern literature at Panthéon-Sorbonne University. Her debut novel, Le monde des possibles, was published by Editions Fasciné in 2013. Some of the influences on her work include C. S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia, Pullman’s Northern Lights [The Golden Compass], Stephen King and Peter Straub’s The Talisman, and the Harry Potter series.