Starflight by: Melissa Landers
My Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
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…
Beware spoilers ahead!
This book was recommended to me by my GR friend Alyssa! I had heard about this book from Netgalley. Around the time Passenger was available for request. At the time I didn’t think much of it. It sounded like some space book that I wouldn’t enjoy. It wasn’t until I read Alyssa’s review that I was sold! I do like reading Sci-Fi books with a large focus on the characters. And I am happy to say that I did enjoy this one!
The book begins with Solara waiting and hoping for someone to choose her as an indenture. The first woman who Solara approaches denies her because Solara is a criminal. In this world criminals have to get tattoos on their knuckles. So that people can identify them as criminals.
Solara has been offered a job position on the Fringe. An Outer Realm that won’t care about her tattoos or the crimes she’s committed. There are no rules in the Fringe. Which is exactly why Solara is desperate to become an indenture. At this point she is the only indenture that it left. Solara sees a girl passing by and offers her services as a maid. The girl ignores her. The girl’s boyfriend says that he’ll definitely be interested in her services.
The girl’s boyfriend turns out to be non-other than Doran Spaulding. The guy who made her high school life absolutely miserable. The two converse for a bit. Then Doran offers Solara to be his indenture. Seeing no other choice she agrees.
During the month Doran has mistreated Solara repeatedly. He sends her on the most ridiclous chores (get his clothes, fetch him water, etc.), and he doesn’t allow her to get a full night’s sleep. Solara does not say anything to him, because angering him means getting dumped off in the middle of nowhere.
That night Doran calls Solara to his room. He asks her to help him with some of his work. As she is starting up the tablet, Doran freezes and stares at her hands. Solara realizes that she forgot to put on her gloves. Doran tries to get her to explain what crime did she commit. But she doesn’t tell him because she doesn’t like to talk about it and it doesn’t really concern him.
Out of nowhere he kicks her out of his room and resumes his work. Solara is shocked by this but decides to brush it off and go to bed. The next day she realizes that there is something definitely wrong. Doran hasn’t called her for his morning snack and so forth. Then she receives an instruction for her to meet Doran outside.
She does so and he informs her that because she wasn’t honest with him he’s kicking her out. Solara explodes because he didn’t have to know about the crime she committed and thus far she had been listening to his every command. She finally tells him everything she’s wanted to tell him. They fight for a bit until it becomes clear to Solara that she’s doomed.
Then an idea strikes her. Solara carried her taser with her just in case of dire emergencies. Once you taser someone they lose their memory temporarily. If she can taser him she may be able to steal some of his money so that she can pay for her own expenses. The idea doesn’t sit well with Solara but it’s either that or die. Solara pretends to make peace with Doran and tasers him. She makes a dash for the ship to transfer the money. But then realizes that she’ll have to tag him around the entire way.
Doran wakes up with no memory of anything and feels like he’s had a really bad hangover. Solara lies and tells him that he was indentured to her. And that they will need to do some shopping for supplies.
While in the mall Solara buys Doran some medicine and gets her supplies. The mall guards start yelling for Doran and she makes a mad dash for the ships that are set up. She chooses the Banshee and offers to pay them double the price if they could leave right away for the Fringe. The Captain agrees and they are whisked off.
I seriously did not except to like this book this much! I had a basic idea of what was going to happen but man am I impressed. I’m surprised I’ve never heard of this author until December 2015!
I liked how the author created the world. It was interesting and I was happy that it didn’t confuse me as most Sci-Fi’s do. The book switches back and forth between Solara and Daron, all in third person. The writing style is good and I enjoyed reading about Doran and Solara! The plot doesn’t really show itself until much later in the book. The plot was always present it’s just that our characters were kept out of the dark.
The characters are very complex and have a lot of layers to them. The minute you assume you know what they are like the book surprises you. When readers meet the crew of the Banshee there’s more than meets the eye to every character on board.
Solara has been an orphan for as long as she can remember. She’s been told by the Nuns who ran her group home, that because her parents couldn’t afford her they left her in their care. Solara wasn’t the best example of a student. She went to detention quite a bit. But she has an incredible talent with fixing machines. Thus she went to a private school run by Doran’s father. Solara unlike Doran is more gifted at being a mechanic. Which is what started the feud between them. Solara didn’t get to graduate from the academy because of the crime she committed. She didn’t hurt anyone and she thought that she was doing a greater good by committing the crime.
Doran is extremely rich. His father runs this well known company and Doran works with him. Doran out of pure jealously of Solara started making her life miserable in high school. He lost some of his fathers respect when Solara won an award and Doran didn’t. He does have a past but I’m not going to reveal it because that would spoil the whole book for you.
In the beginning Doran was not at all likable. He was awful and actually thought of himself like a God because of his status and his money. It isn’t until his friends believe that he committed a crime that he starts to become appealing. Doran actually became one of my favourite characters! Solara is likable and hard-working. Circumstances have hit her hard she can’t achieve everything she deserves. Renny is a very nice person but is also a kleptomaniac. He’s an extremely gifted thief who almost never gets caught. Cassia spends most of her time yelling at Kane, but aside from that she’s a good person and is an excellent healer. Kane is their resent cook. He’s also a major flirt. Kane and Cassia remain mysterious for a majority of the book. Captain Rossi is like a father to all of them. They are one very weird but happy family.
The romance is really slow burn. Which was good considering how Doran treated Solara in the beginning. It was lovely to read about how they gradually became friends and something more! I’d have to say this is one of the most beautiful romances I have ever read.
The book also does have some important themes present. I liked how it focused on the regrets we have and working our way to make it up to the people we care about. Also the importance on acceptance and family was lovely!
I should add that this is light-hearted Sci-Fi. Meaning that there is more focus on the characters and relationships rather than the world. It didn’t bother me at all because I like my Sci-Fi books like that. Also because the plot doesn’t come until later on it’s quite slow. Again I didn’t have a problem with this because I knew that going into the book. As for my rating. While I thoroughly enjoyed this book I didn’t love it. Hence the four star.
Overall this was a great book! I am looking forward to reading the sequel! I recommend it to everyone because there’s something in here that I think everyone will like.