Sunday, December 6, 2015

Review: Starflight by Melissa Landers


Starflight by Melissa Landers
Book One of the Starflight series
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Publication Date: February 2, 2016
Rating: 5 stars
Source: ARC won from a giveaway

Summary (from Goodreads):

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...

What I Liked:

Fiction set in SPACE - I love it! Maybe I'm swept up by the Star Wars craze (cannot wait to see The Force Awakens!) but this book gave me Star Wars vibes - in a good way! A ragtag crew of fugitives and criminals, bounties on heads, pirate bosses, crazy schemes, a little thievery here and there - this book was so fun. This book reminded me of Mindee Arnett's Avalon duology, in a way. I'm really loving these space-y books!

Solara is off to the fringe, the outer realm, to a newly terra-formed settlement called Vega. Problem is, she has no money to get there. She takes on an indenture with one of the riches heirs in the universe, Doran Spaulding, who relishes in making her wait on him hand and foot. But as circumstance would have it, both Doran and Solara need to leave the ship and board another, fleeing for different reasons. And while they loathe the idea of relying on each, it might be the only way to survive the journey.

I LOVE this kind of science fiction. Space is a big open place that we know little about, even with all the advances and missions and telescopes that we've had and done. I love how Landers paints the picture of a spacecraft for transport, of each outpost and settlement, of how life is on Earth, in the shuttle, and so on. It's a unique system, and life in this particular world is very different from what we are used to. As always, Landers sets up the world of her story impeccably. 

This book is told from both Solara's and Doran's POV - third person for both. Personally, this is my favorite type of narration, in which we get to experience both the male and female protagonist exclusively, but not in first person. Landers does this well! It's clear that she's very comfortable writing in such narration, and I really enjoyed it. Solara and Doran both grow a great deal in this book, and the characterization is so well-written.

Solara is the first of the two that we meet. She's always been poor, but she's also really smart, a hard worker, and very clever. She's got street smarts... and she has a record. Technically, she's a criminal. But her story is so heartbreaking, the reason for her record. Solara is tough and interesting and a decent person. 

When we first meet Doran, he is such a jerk. He's rich and entitled and he flaunts what he has. He's dating a rich and spoiled girl who is accompanying him on his vacation to the outer realm (which is how/why he indentured Solara). He's such a d**k (starring that word out because apparently Amazon hates it). But when he and Solara are running for their lives, he starts to change. He doesn't seem like a rich pampered prince, so much as a lost and angry but focused young man. He's determined to reach the Obsidian Beaches (which is what he was supposed to do all along) and find out why he needs to be there. I liked Doran, though at first I will admit that he was a jerk. He's a sensitive and deep guy, and he fights for Solara and the crew's trust.

I HAVE to talk about the crew. The captain is super old and in bent-up shape. He's like the patriarch though, and so everyone loves his eccentricities. Renny is the first mate, and he's a master pickpocket. He's a calm guy, good first mate. The ship hands, Cassia and Kane, are always bickering and fighting. They've known each other for years, but you KNOW there was to be some unspoken feelings between them. I ship them!

This book is full of nonstop, high stakes action that will have you turning pages as quickly as you can. It's kind of hard to tell what the Big Issue of the book will be, because most of the time you're more worried about if Solara and Doran will come out of whatever skirmish alive and unscathed. But Landers cleverly and slowly builds to the Big Issue (involving Planet Z, which is mentioned in the synopsis), and everything is connected. Why people are after the Banshee, and after Doran, things from Doran's past, the location at Obsidian... it all comes together in the climax.

ROMANCE! How could I forget (I didn't). I LOVE the romance in this book - it's my favorite type of romance. Hate-to-love relationships are so fun! And in this book, the "hate" part is so real. Doran goes out of his way to make Solara miserable - since they were young, attending school together, but especially when she becomes indentured to him. I love seeing the two of them simmer and burn, and to the point where it's not that they want to kill each other. Doran and Solara have got to be one of my favorite couples of books I've read in 2015! There is so much tension and passion between them - it was so fun to read! No love triangle (not a drop), and no cruel ending, in terms of romance.

Speaking of the ending...I think Landers had originally sold only one book, so this was supposed to be a standalone. Disney bought more recently, because I do see that Landers is writing a companion sequel (YAY). While this book ends really well, I can see how Landers subtly left some things open, and how she gave herself room to pick up the story. I definitely want to read more from this world! A sequel is much wanted - and a companion sequel is even better. Overall, Starflight was EXCELLENT!

What I Did Not Like:

Hmm. I don't think I really have a complaint about this book. I think there were a few things that bothered me but I get the feeling that Landers left those things unresolved on purpose - for the companion sequel. Which is fine! I wanted to know more about Infinium, and have more resolution about Doran's father and the people after Doran and if the reasons why they were after him were resolved/would be resolved. Hopefully in the next book!

Would I Recommend It:

I highly recommend this novel. People who like Star Wars, or Mindee Arnett's Avalon duology, or These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner - definitely try this book. It's different from Landers' Alienated and Invaded, yet just as addicting and engrossing. Wonderful science fiction, very developed characters, passionate romance - this book is a winner!

Rating:

4.5 stars -> rounded up to 5 stars. I loved Alienated and it got five stars from me (I loved Invaded too but not as much - it got four stars), but I'm thinking that this book is my favorite Landers book. I can't wait to read the sequel!


Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!

***UPDATE: I revised my rating to 5 stars. I loved this one too much to give it just four stars!***

18 comments:

  1. Oho! Yay! I haven't checked out any reviews on this one, but had my eye on it. Glad it is good. Love those enemies to lovers plots, too.

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    1. I haven't seen many, to be honest. I feel very fortunate to even have an ARC! The story was sooooo good, Sophia. Especially the romance!

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  2. YAY! I'm so glad you loved this one! Now I'm even more excited to get my hands on it!
    And even moar since you said that it was Star Wars-y!!

    *is going nuts waiting for the release of The Force Awakens*

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    1. I hope you love it, Pili! And omg the movie is almost here!!!!

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  3. Yay! This one has been on my radar for quite a while. I'm so excited to hear that you enjoyed it. I'm definitely excited to start reading it now. :D

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    1. It will not disappoint, I'm quite sure! :)

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  4. So glad that you loved this! She's one of my favorite authors (she writes adult romances too under Macy Beckett). And yay for an excellent hate-to-love romance.. I can't wait. :D
    She has said that the sequel will be a companion, so the HEA for the first couple won't be ruined. :D
    Great review!

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    1. She just tweeted at me about the sequel being a companion novel! Super excited about that because I LOVE that particular pair.

      Thank you, Danielle!

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  5. I haven't read any of Landers' books before but if you loved this one then I might try it. Is it a new series?

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    1. It IS a new series! Alienated/Invaded/United is Landers' debut series. This one is completely different and REALLY good! I think it's my favorite Landers book (and I LOVED Alienated and Invaded!). :D

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  6. Ohh awesome review Alyssa I have Mindee Arnett's Avalon duology but have not read it yet, but I absolutely loved and enjoyed These Broken Star which I need too check out the last two books of the series soon. I really want too read Landers debut series because I heard nothing but great reviews about them. And this one really looks and sounds utterly fantastic! I know I am going to love her books, so I most definitely am going to check her books out soonish. As always my dear friend awesome post!

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    1. YES! Katiria, I have a feeling that you might love this book! I hope you get the chance to read it in the future - THANK YOU!

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  7. I cannot wait for this book and you made me even more excited to read it! I love love love the "Hate to Love" trope so I am SUPER EXCITED TO HAVE THAT IN HERE. Great review Alyssa!

    Jamie @ Books and Ladders

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    1. It's my favorite romance trope, I think! And Landers does it SO WELL. :D Thank you, Jamie!

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  8. You and I have such similar tastes in books, I can always trust your reviews - if you loved something, I likely will, too! And if something was meh for you, it likely will be for me, too! So the fact that you gave this 5 stars has me really excited! I was already dying to read it, now I'm REALLY dying to read it (Also, thanks to that swoony excerpt you posted!!! *Fans self!!*) Man, IS IT FEBRUARY YET?!?!?!? PLEASE, CAN IT BE?!?!?!

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    1. THANK YOU! I know you'll love this book, Mer. So glad you liked the excerpt I shared. Let me know when you read it! :D

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  9. Yaaay :D I'm so thrilled that you loved this book Alyssa. <3 Sigh. I'm dying to read it. And you have made me so much more excited :) YAY for good romance :D Boy sounds awesome, lol. Thank you for sharing sweetie. <3

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    1. I hope you love this book, Carina! It's definitely a year-end favorite. I can't wait for you to read it!

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