Friday, March 4, 2016

#Friday Review - Starflight by Melissa Landers (Young Adult, Science Fiction)

Series: Starflight # 1
Format: Hardcover, 369 pages
Release Date: February 2, 2016
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Source: Library
Genre: YA, Science Fiction, Fantasy

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...

*Key Characters* Solara Brooks, Doran Spaulding, Crew of SS Banshee, Phineas Rossi, Kane, Renny, and Cassia Rose.

*Setting* SS Banshee, Zenith

Starflight, by Melissa Landers, is the first installment in the Starlight series. The story features and alternates narratives between 18-year old Solara and Doran. Solara, aka "Rattail" because of the birthmark on her neck, is hoping for a full ride to the outer realm where she has a job offer waiting for her as an engineer. She has two problems: (1) She has tattoos that label her as a felon, and (2) she has no cash and would need to indenture herself to someone for the duration of the time it would take to travel to Vega. 

Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on how you look at things, Solara ends up with her former nemesis Doran Spaulding as her "master" after he agrees to pay for her journey. Solara and Doran have a long history of him taunting and making her life miserable and she, in turn, won the cherished Richard Spaulding Alumni Award right from under his nose. Solara tries to alter his memories of being master/servant relationship but things take an interesting twist. 

Doran Spaulding is a spoiled rich kid who is also the heir to the Spaulding Fuel Group. When he see's Solara, he knows that he can get the most out of her and she won't complain if she wants to make it to the end of her destination. Sent on a mission by his father to a barren planet, and tricked by Solara into her being his master, Doran finds that he is now a fugitive, and wanted on earth to face all sorts of charges. 

Doran and Solara find themselves on board the Banshee and among a group of crew members that have all sorts of issues. There is the captain with no leg (Rossi), the kleptomaniac second mate (Renny), the cook (Kane) who has eyes for only one person, and a secretive girl (Cassia) who is running from something or someone. They must work together as a team in order to avoid Enforces, bounty hunters, secrets, and pirates if they are to survive.

Starlight appealed to me on many different levels. The first reason is that the story takes place mostly in outer space, and I am a science fiction nerd. Second, the story reminded me of Firefly to the point where I was actually comparing characters to the actors on Firefly. In fact, if you cast Nathan Fillion as Capt Rossi, Jewel Staite as Solara, and Alan Tudyk as Renny, you have the newest movie called Starlight

One could say that the romance is fairly predictable. Solara and Doran go from hating each other to mutual respect, to a literal roll in the hay to get things going. The good news about this first book is that it is basically a standalone with a beginning and an ending. The second novel Starfall, will feature Cassia Rose and Kane.


  1. OOoh nice! I still need to read this author, but I have her books at the ready and it will just be a decision as to what to start with first! Glad to hear this one was enjoyable! Nice review!!

  2. Great review! Starflight is definitely on my list to buy. I loved Landers' Alienated, still need to read the next one ..... but i definitely have my eyes on this one and hopefully can get it soon.

    Aparajita @Le' Grande Codex

  3. Is the dialogue as snappy as on Firefly? That might actually convince me to take a look at it if so.