AUTHOR: Melissa Landers
SERIES: Starflight, book 1
PUBLICATION DATE: February 2, 2016
GENRE: science fiction, romance
SETTING: outer space; multiple planets; indeterminate future
GIVE IT TO: HS
SUMMARY: In the future, interplanetary travel is easy and common. Having just turned 18, Solara Brooks is no longer an orphaned ward of the state. Fully aware that she cannot afford to stay on Earth, Solara hopes to barter her services as a nanny or maid in exchange for passage to the outer planets, where she plans to work the fields in the colonies. Unable to find a family to take her on, Solara reluctantly agrees to accompany her former classmate Doran and his girlfriend to the Obsidian Beaches. From there, she will try to find passage to the outer colonies. Doran and Solara have never gotten along, and Solara knows this will be a long trip.
WHAT I LIKED: Overboard meets Pirates of the Caribbean meets Guardians of the Galaxy. This book seriously has everything! Incredibly resourceful poor girl kidnaps spoiled, amnesiac rich boy and makes him her servant. They meet a lost princess, a dreadlocked Don Juan, a bespectacled kleptomaniac, and a crusty spaceship captain with an artificial heart. This rag-tag crew is chased by ruthless space pirates reminiscent of the crew of the Black Pearl, and it seems nearly all of them are wanted by the law. There are spaceships, icy planets, mechanical problems, lies, betrayal, explosions, hidden identities, romance, politics, revenge, fighting, and a whole host of other fun shenanigans.
The characters. There are only a handful of major characters, but every one of them has an interesting backstory. Much has happened to the characters long before they all came together, and it all interweaves into this story beautifully. I would love to see the next installment written from Cassia and Kane’s point of view. I loved Solara and Doran and that slow-burning hate-to-love romance. Cassia and Kane are equally interesting–I would totally read a prequel of their time on the planet Eturia.
The world-building. Great descriptions of the planets. I like how some of the planets are desolate and not used at all, and others are vacation zones. I would have loved to see some aliens, but I can see where aliens might take away from the rest of this story. The bad guys and the good guys are all humans.
It’s fast-paced. I read the whole book in two days. If I didn’t have to go to school the next day, it would have been one of those “I finished it at 4am” books.
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE: Ummm…nothing really. Tons of action, romance, great characters and world-building. What more could I ask for?
THE BOTTOM LINE: Don’t miss it! This will be a hit in my school. It would make a great movie also. I think content is fine for most middle schools–my biggest concern is possible off-the-page sex, but I’m not even sure that happened. They are kissing (horizontally), then fade to black and on to the next chapter. I think most Grade 7-8 students can handle this just fine. The romance is important, but it’s only a small part of the whole story.
STATUS IN MY LIBRARY: I will most definitely buy this. Probably two or three copies.
READALIKES: These Broken Stars (Kaufman/Spooner); Illuminae (Kaufman/Kristoff); Alienated (Landers)
- Overall: 5/5
- Creativity: 5//5
- Characters: 5/5
- Engrossing: 5/5
- Writing: 5/5
- Appeal to teens: 5/5
- Appropriate length to tell the story: 5/5
- Language: surprisingly mild; only a few damns
- Sexuality: mild-medium; some kissing; very off-the-page making out (sex?)–They are kissing, then fade to black. Nothing described at all.
- Violence: medium; murder, fighting, think Pirates of the Caribbean
- Drugs/Alcohol: mild; accidental consumption of psychedelic mushrooms, a couple of mild references to wine