A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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…
Starflight was so much fun to read- it had all the things that I love in a science-fiction novel- rag tag ship crew, hate to love relationship, space-pirates, lots of action with a dash of romance. This was more in line with the Firefly type of science fiction… no heavy science talk or theories to digest. The pacing was fast with equal amounts of action and witty dialog between the characters.
This story starts with the main character, Solara, needing to escape Earth and try to make it out to the outer realms to establish a new life for herself. Of course, as these things go, the only way for Solara to get out of her current situation was to rely on the one person she dislikes the most- Doran. It’s all fairly predictable how these two will slowly grow to respect each other but it’s still so much fun to watch them warm up to one another. Landers’ does an amazing job creating character chemistry through their dialog and actions. As the reader, you feel their attitudes mutate and grow into something more.
Though I fully felt the chemistry between the leads I did struggle a small amount with Doran’s character arc. He was such a jerk to Solara in the beginning and in their past it was a tiny bit hard to believe he’d change his general attitude that easily. Overall, I think that Landers did a decent job of presenting him in a manner that was believable. But, I would have liked a tiny bit more time taken to develop his transformation and to have seen him push back a bit more at the situation he found himself in. Regardless of this teeny tiny complaint I still fell easily in love with the relationship and story.
The side characters were really fun as well and added a lot to the story. You’ve got to have the rag-tag crew in this type of book and Landers provides. Each crew member has a story to tell and though we only get bits about their past it’s enough to create empathy and compassion for their character. I was fully invested in each crew member on the Banshee.
In this type of sci-fi there is something so right about space lawlessness and a bunch of criminal types creating their own law and order. I loved how Landers incorporated that with the outer realm as well as the pirate ship Solara finds herself on. These bits were so well done and fun to read. Though you could sort of see where the story was headed it never felt overly predictable and easily kept my interest. I wanted nothing more to be reading this book start to finish.
Starflight was the type of book you want to completely lose yourself in and read start to finish in a sitting. With the fast pacing, character chemistry and witty dialog it was easy to love and left me wanting a follow up book. I’d love to read many more adventures with this cast of characters.