Series: Starflight #1
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…
3.5 Drink Me Potions
Starflight was a cute story of a girl who just wanted freedom from a life full of unfair situations but instead finds herself dragged into a grand adventure around the galaxies upon meeting an old rival from school.
The book was full of witty and fun banter, something I’ve come to appreciate from Landers. Solara was understandably tough, but not as tough of a character as I would have thought from the synopsis. She hated her felony tattoos on her hands and it was understandable, as an orphan with no one who really cared about her, to want to escape into a place where she could be her own person without a worry in the world.
Meanwhile, her love interest, Doran, originally came off as that annoying golden boy who gets everything kinda stereotype. He really fit that bill. He gains a more original personality later on that makes you like him more, but at the end of the day, the same can be said for him as well. Both him and Solara were characters I grew to like, but not people I grew to connect with or even love , which is important for main characters in good stories.
The secondary characters had interesting personalities that made them special and fun to see how they interacted with each other. They each had a back story, although some weren’t as fleshed out as they could have been, which would have made them more solid and real in my books than just the label you put on them. For example, the first mate was a bespectacled kleptomaniac, but if he’s only defined by that label, it doesn’t necessarily make him all that special or real. He as a whole person would need more than just that one thing, no matter how interesting, to make a good character whose purpose isn’t only to just enhance Solara and Doran’s story.
The pacing set me off a little too. It wasn’t slow necessarily. Things are always happening for the ragtag crew on board the space craft Banshee. But it wasn’t necessarily intense. The plot didn’t really build up for most of the book until maybe the last 60 pages or so. Like, sure, someone’s chasing them. They escape. They go somewhere else in space. Whoopee.
The romance was interesting. Doran was truly awful in the beginning, so it was enjoyable to see the gradual change in their interpersonal dynamics. It wasn’t insta-love. They went from rivals/enemies to cohorts and acquaintances to finally friends and people who loved one another. It took time and certain events to drive forward those feelings. It was nice, don’t get me wrong. It just didn’t induce intense heart-pounding feelings in me. At the end of the day, I just didn’t find myself as invested in the outcome as I normally would be in romances that initially seemed hard to come by for the characters.
Overall, Starflight was definitely an enjoyable read. The ending wasn’t a cliffhanger or anything. It ended pretty much on a happy note. The characters don’t necessarily change the world or have everything solved for their individual problems, so unless resolution is a key component for you to enjoy a novel, it was nice. But nice only goes so far and it just seemed to be lacking something that may just be a personal preference.
Starflight was a fun sci-fi book that definitely had stuff going on for the main characters and even the side characters. However, beyond the easy read and amusing banter between a unique group of friends, it was just missing some suspense throughout the middle that would’ve driven a higher rating, even though plenty of “action” was going on. These events just fizzled out too quickly and shifted from one to the other without racking enough excitement linking them all together. The romance was enjoyable and cute, but it too seemed to lack a certain element to invest more emotion from the reader into them. Overall, it was a nice plot and story that I liked, but did not love.