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 by Melissa Landers
Series: Starflight #1
Format: Hardcover, 369 pages
Status: Read from Feb 19, 2016 to Mar 1, 2016
My Rating: 4/5 stars
A penniless girl and a wealthy boy, enemies, are stuck together on an outer-space journey.
Solara has no family, no connections, and knuckle tattoos advertising her criminal record. She wants to turn her mechanical skills into a vehicle for self-sufficient life in the outer realm, but that’s far from Earth, so she needs someone to hire her for the trip and pay her passage. Enter Doran, her high school nemesis, “heir to the galaxy’s largest fuel corporation and first-string varsity football star.” Glaringly visible genre tropes include the gruff, motley spaceship crew that becomes family; the pirates and purposely brain-damaged torturers in pursuit; the alternating-between-protagonists third-person narration; and the enmity between Solara and Doran that will obviously turn to lust and love. Despite a far-future time frame and outer-space setting, Landers’ worldbuilding leans on such earthly details as rubber bands, Popsicle sticks, milled cider, funnel cake, and a barn dance with fiddles (on a distant planet). There are no nonhumans or extraterrestrials, and there is little science or technology beyond the outer-space premise. The protagonists are white; their two brown-skinned shipmates (whose blond “dreadlocks” are mentioned again and again) are stereotypically angry. For multiple narrators, creativity, and suspense in outer space, see Beth Revis’ Across the Universe series and Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner’s Starbound series instead.
The less-imaginative end of outer-space adventure romance.
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