Starflight by Melissa Landers
I received this book in an Uppercase box (I think February 2016...) which just shows how behind I am at with my Young Adult books. There's a pile of them...and they've moved onto my jewelry shelf space.
The cover for this book alone sold me. I love it. The spaceships trail is a gold foil in real life and it really pops against the galaxy background.
Author: Melissa Landers
Page Number: 359
Genre: sci-fi, romance, YA, fiction
Publisher: Hyperion, an imprint of Disney Book Group
Life in the outer realm is a lawless, dirty, hard existence, and Solara Brooks is hungry for it. Just out of the orphanage, she needs a fresh start in a place where nobody cares about the engine grease beneath her fingernails or the felony tattoos across her knuckles. She's so desperate to reach the realm that she's willing to indenture herself to Doran Spaulding, the rich and popular quarterback who made her life miserable all through high school, in exchange for passage aboard the spaceliner Zenith.
When a twist of fate lands them instead on the Banshee, a vessel of dubious repute, Doran learns he's been framed on Earth for conspiracy. As he pursues a set of mysterious coordinates rumored to hold the key to clearing his name, he and Solara must get past their enmity to work together and evade those out for their arrest. Life on the Banshee may be tumultuous, but as Solara and Doran are forced to question everything they once believed about their world—and each other—the ship becomes home, and the eccentric crew family. But what Solara and Doran discover on the mysterious Planet X has the power to not only alter their lives, but the existence of everyone in the universe...
This book was fun. It had monologue that sparked and the plot was exciting. There are space pirates!
It's set in space but I wouldn't say this is actually a scientifically sound book. I'm not sure of the exact science but even with the special fuel, I'm not sure you can travel the expanse of the outer solar system/galaxy at the speed that these space crafts are doing. Also, extraterrestrial life is very humanoid. I think just working with this book as an AU to normative science is a given.
The point of view shifts between the two main characters. One is named Solara Brooks, who is down on her luck. She's resourceful though and has decided to travel to the outer realm for a new life. Since she can't afford the trip on her own, she decides to place herself into indentured labor in return for a ride. The person who picks her for indenture is Doran Spaulding, the heir to his family's fuel company. Doran is fairly unlikable at first glance and only becomes somewhat likable as the book progresses. There is a romance between these two, it falls into the enemies to lovers category...even though it's really indentured relationship to lovers. I'm still not sure how I feel about it but eh.
I've seen some other reviews that note that part of the plot points were predictable but I disagree as I wasn't expecting one of the "reveals" to happen as they did. I also haven't read a space-adventure in awhile so that could be it as well. The two have different goals, Doran to clear his name via Planet X and Solara to find financial and personal freedom.
The ship that Solara and Doran eventually end up is called The Banshee, it's crew is likable and their eventual story forms the basis of the second book. While this is a series, I'll go out on a limb and say that this book can be read as a standalone.
I think I should note that Doran doesn't really recover from being a dill-hole at the beginning of the book. I was kinda hoping Solara would find someone else through it all. Also, as noted, this is not a true science book and technology that would be needed for such an advanced space voyage simply doesn't exist. While the characters are developed, they are not diverse. All the aliens are human and all the main characters are white. So if that's an important point, I feel that this book didn't fit the diverse want that flows in YA books.
Landers' writing was clear and flowed. I read this book in one sitting and never thought that it was choppy, so the pace was lovely. I also want to note the character development, each character is different, unique, and well thought out. Considering the science aspect was vague, the world building actually made up for it. Until sitting down to write this it didn't really even occur to me that the science was lacking.
I have read the second book in this series (Cassia and Kane, the extraterrestrial princess and her guard, that are crew of The Banshee) and I was shocked by how much I didn't enjoy it. Cassia went from being amusing to unlikable over the two books. I did finish it though so it wasn't a DNF.
For me the first book rated between 3.5 and 4 stars.
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