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…
Genre: YA Sci-Fi
Series: Starlight, #1
You know, before this year I could proudly and happily say I was not one of those readers that geeked out over sci-fi and space opera. I had one thing counting against my Level 9000 Nerd status.
Now I might as well sign my life over to the dark side.
I stumbled across Melissa Landers entirely by chance, and by that, I mean my sister stumbled across her by chance and then hit me with the, “You-have-to-read-this-book-because-it-simultaneously-ruined-my-life-and-made-me-unfathomably-happy.” So I stepped into La-La-Landers Land with Alienated, and the moment I turned that last page I knew I was in trouble.
But it was only after I finished Starflight that I realized how deeply I had strayed into the danger zone. I’m not even on the outskirts of the Normal Nerdiness Galaxy anymore. Somewhere down the line I stumbled into a black hole, and now all I can think about is interstellar romance and pirate spaceships and space travel in general.
Also, my life decisions have all come under scrutiny because suddenly becoming an astronaut seems way cooler than it did before.
But I digress.
Starflight is one of those effortless reads that you’ll finish in a day. It’s smooth, simple, and heartwarming, but with a kick of something special that makes it difficult to put down. And in classic Melissa Landers style, romance, drama and humor combine perfectly to form a lighthearted space opera that’ll leave your head spinning.
Honestly, even though I’ve been going on and on about this book since I read Alienated, my expectations were relatively low. The blurb promised mediocre excitement and adventure encased in clichés and YA tropes. I was fairly sure that I could guess the entire plot of the book right from the get-go. But then I started reading it, and I pretty much choked on my own skepticism.
The thing about reading a Melissa Landers book is that you don’t necessarily read it for the plot. You don’t read it because it has a commentary on society that’s going to blow your mind and make you look at the world differently. You don’t read it for the science, or for the descriptions, or for the action.
You read it for the feeling you get when you’re sucked into the pages. Melissa Landers’s writing appeals to the bookworm that wants to read just for the joy of it, to lose himself or herself in a new world without the complications of everyday life, to renew a love for stories without having to sort through the sentences and appreciate their literary value.
I’m going to end this now before I embarrass myself further by professing my undying love for the author. Just… read this book. It will make you happy, if anything. Also, space pirates.
Recommended to: All my peeps that feel lost after Illuminae and are looking for something fluffier to make them trust books again. Fans of Jennifer L. Armentrout will love this style of writing, too.
The Last Word
I have to dedicate a section to the romance. This is a Melissa Landers book, after all. The love stories in her books can’t simply go unmentioned.
I know a lot of people have discarded Starflight from their TBRs because they think the love story is unoriginal. I mean, you can tell from the blurb that Doran and Solara are the couple that’s going to travel halfway across the galaxy just to find each other. It’s a cliché. Boy is a d*ck to girl; boy and girl are thrown together in unavoidable circumstances; boy falls in love with girl; girl realizes he’s not that much of a douchebag; girl and boy kiss and fireworks pop in the distance. And they all live unsurprisingly happily ever after.
But don’t let that stop you from reading this book. Predictions about what’s going to happen aren’t everything. Like I said earlier, you’ll want to read this book for the experience, not necessarily to be thrown off by a gazillion plot twists that make you nauseated.
Doran and Solara’s love story is strangely refreshing, despite its predictability. I know that sounds like a contradiction, but trust me on this one. Surprisingly, their romance is natural. It’s crafted really well, and because both of them undergo pretty major character development (thanks to a bunch of space pirates and their big, ahem, egos) it actually works.
Three cheers for Melissa Landers. It’s not that easy to completely rip apart a cliché from the inside out.