Source: Finished copy from publisher for review
THE STORY (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...
Starflight gives us an exciting start to this new sci-fi series as we hit the ground running with Solara, pausing only occasionally to catch our breath before we're once again outrunning alien bounty hunters, dodging space pirates with wounded egos, and swooning over a slow burn romance.
Solara earns our sympathy and our unwavering solidarity from page one as she's passed over again and again for off-planet work, and that sympathy only increases when the only person willing to take her on is a spoiled heir to a fuel empire who takes pleasure in putting her in her place. Solara keeps her head high in the face of his cruel words and taunts though, never letting him see how much they hurt and clinging tight to her dignity and pride. Once both their lives turn upside down and they find themselves partners in crime with a ragtag crew of wanted men and women, Solara proves herself to be the stronger of the two again and again. Easily able to adapt to their new circumstances and gifted with anything mechanical, she makes herself a welcome asset to the crew of the Banshee.
Doran is someone who makes us genuinely question whether or not Ms. Landers will be able to redeem him over the course of the book, his entitled attitude and utter contempt for Solara in the opening chapters enough to have us wishing violence on sensitive parts of his male anatomy. Slowly but surely however, Ms. Landers proves herself to be more than up to the task of changing our low opinion of him, and the relationship that unfolds between Doran and Solara is nothing short of delightfully captivating. It takes a good long time before the antagonism between them even remotely starts to shift into something resembling friendship, and we have to wait a good long time after that before that friendship turns romantic, but the wait is more than worth it for a romance like theirs.
We're left in a good place in this first installment, the crew of the Banshee together and ready to face what comes next as we delve deeper into the mysteries of Doran's family and Spaulding Fuel.
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Melissa Landers writes romantic sci-fi for teens and the young at heart. ALIENATED and INVADED are now available from Disney Hyperion, and UNITED, the third book in the trilogy, will release in August, 2016. The first novel in her new series, STARFLIGHT, launches February 2, 2016.
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