Series Review: Starflight by Melissa Landers

I received this book for free from Library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Series Review: Starflight by Melissa LandersStarflight by Melissa Landers
Series: Starflight #1
Published by Disney Hyperion on February 2, 2016
Genres: Science Fiction, Adventure, Romance
Pages: 369
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
AmazonThe Book DepositoryAudible
Goodreads
four-half-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...

Though I enjoyed Landers’ debut Alienated for the most part, I never finished the series, and I didn’t think too much about it. I had Starflight on my to-read list, but it was nowhere near making it onto my actual TBR, until Gillian gave me the push I needed to give it a shot. Basically, if she says something’s shippy, and I need to read it, I’m going to do that. Starflight is Firefly meets Overboard, and it’s a spaceshippy delight.

Solara has hated Doran Spaulding, rich boy and asshole, since she was a scholarship student at his privileged school. And she’s pretty sure he hates her too, since she beat him out for the scholarship his family sponsored. With a job offer on the fringes, Solara needs a free ride through space, and, when signing on as Doran’s servant for the duration of the flight is the only option, Solara takes it. Predictably, Doran torments her by waking her up at all hours and making her perform various unpleasant tasks. When Doran discovers that Solara’s a criminal, he fires her for reasons, which will later become apparent. Terrified because he’s about to dump her on a random planet, Solara rashly decides to stun him, leaving him with a couple days of amnesia and her with access to all the money on his bracelet.

Doran and Solara end up on a ramshackle ship with a crew of lovable misfit outlaws, all with their own complicated back stories. The whole crew is a delight, and the banter in this book is off the chain. The hate-to-love chemistry between Solara and Doran is hot af, and the found family feels of the crew of the Banshee are immense. I adore found families, and the way they all support each other makes my heart do things.

The plot’s a whole lot of fun. It’s very Firefly with the lovable crew and the space misadventures, like trying to do a drop of your maybe legit but maybe not goods on a planet, and then getting chased by the authorities or creepy space mercenaries. If you’re looking for super intense sci fi, you won’t be as pleased. This one’s definitely a bit more surface level. It sticks mostly to the fluffy and comedic, and it does not hit the darker notes of Firefly. Some of the back story gets pretty dark (particularly Doran’s), but there’s not too much time spent on that. It’s mostly action and banter all the way down.

Banter and romance fans absolutely should read this delightful book. I’m so glad that I didn’t miss this one!

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

 

Series Review: Starflight by Melissa LandersStarfall by Melissa Landers
Series: Starflight #2
Published by Disney Hyperion on February 7, 2017
Genres: Science Fiction, Romance, Adventure
Pages: 368
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
AmazonThe Book DepositoryAudible
Goodreads
three-half-stars

When Princess Cassia Rose fled her home world of Eturia to escape an arranged marriage, she had no idea her sudden departure would spark a war. Now after two years hiding as a ship hand, she is finally returning to her beloved home, but not in the way she imagined. Shackled by bounty hunters, she is violently dragged back to account for her crimes. Her only solace is that the Banshee crew managed to evade capture, including Kane Arric, her best friend...with occasional benefits.

Meanwhile, Kane and the rest of the crew of the Banshee plan a desperate rescue mission. But when they arrive on Eturia, Cassia isn't exactly in need of heroics—she's claimed her birthright as Eturia's queen, but has inherited a war-torn planet simmering with rebellion. Cassia must make alliances, and Kane, the bastard son of a merchant, isn't a choice that will earn her any friends. Kane knows he will never find someone to replace Cassia—and is certain she returns his feelings—but how can he throw away his own promising future waiting on a queen?

When the outer realm is threatened by the dangerous Zhang mafia, Cassia, Kane and the rest of the Banshee crew uncover a horrifying conspiracy that endangers the entire universe. In the face of unspeakable evil, Cassia must confront her own family's complicated legacy on Eturia and decide once and for all who her real family is.

Obviously I immediately fell into Starfall, because how could I not. As with Starflight, I binged straight through it, and I enjoyed it immensely. However, it’s not quite as good as Starflight.

Starfall switches from Solara and Doran’s POVs to Kane and Cassia’s. This is the big change and why I didn’t like this book as much as the prior. Solara and Doran had this amazing, burning chemistry, and Cassia and Kane don’t live up to it as much. They’re also mopier. Once you’re in your heads, you realize how their back story is even more complex than you already knew, and you also find out that you haven’t been around for all of their romance. I have no idea when the romantic feelings started on either side, and that’s the absolute best part of a friends to lovers romance imo. I just didn’t feel quite as invested in them. My heart was more swayed by Jordan than Cassia’s was.

Plotwise, Starfall also feels a bit sloppier. I like the various elements, but it does feel a bit like it should have been two books rather than three. It works in two, but everything goes by in a whirlwind. The plot on Cassia’s home world and View Spoiler » feel like two separate stories. They are connected, but it does feel messy. Plus, I had major believability issues about the fact that Queen Cassia can run off on the Banshee whenever she wants and play with her friends, even though her planet is in turmoil. We’re supposed to believe that she’s a good ruler and that things will remain in stasis while she does other things? Yeah, sure. We’re supposed to believe that she would be allowed to leave? Riiiiiight.

As I said, it’s still a lot of fun, but it’s not as narratively strong. I’ll be buying a copy of Starflight for myself, but I will not be buying Starfall, because the first book can stand alone. I don’t regret reading Starfall, but I will not revisit. I do think I’ll go back and give Alienated another shot, though.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

 

2 responses to “Series Review: Starflight by Melissa Landers”

  1. Oh man, it stinks that you didn’t enjoy Cassie’s story more. I read the first book in the series but haven’t gotten around to the second one yet.
    Kristin (Book Sniffers Anonymous) recently posted…Review: I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maurene GooMy Profile

  2. Oooh I’m so excited you loved Starflight too! I thought it was so much fun- all the shippiness and the found family crew and the pirate wedding scene 😀 I still haven’t read Starfall yet because Cassia and Kane weren’t my favorites but I do want to, and I’m glad it’s still enjoyable even if it’s not as good. You have me wanting to reread Starflight though! Sometimes I need a light sci fi.
    Morgan @ The Bookish Beagle recently posted…Review: The Simplicity of CiderMy Profile

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