04 March 2016
Series: Starflight #1
Rating: 4 / 5 stars
On the BA scale from 0 to 10, I give Solara a 5. Sure, she has criminal tats, but she only committed a crime in the first place because of 1) a guy, of course and 2) she thought she was Robin Hood. Not exactly a criminal mastermind. And, she ends up doing to Doran what he did to her - making her an indentured servant. What is that saying? Do onto others...? Seems like this entire story could have been wayyyyy simpler if she had simply knocked him out, dragged him to the nearest money dispensary, taken him for most of what he was worth, and then simply been on her way. She had all this money at her hands, and yet she decides to try for the outer realms to what? Make a meager life's living as a mechanic? I would have taken the money, gotten the tats removed, and found a decent living in the inner realms. She's obviously not the smartest cookie in the jar.
But wait! You might proclaim. If she leaves with all the money, than Landers can't have this long, drawn out will-they-won't-they romance between Solara and Doran. And we can't have that! Alas, the romance lovers steal the show in this one, because that's exactly what you get. And a little romance and tension between another pair of characters to boot. Parts of this novel are way too focused on the romance between Doran and Solara - for example, the day of leave, the mushrooms, etc. etc. And I, for one, would not have been able to forgive the other if I had been either one of them. They treated each other like crap for a good portion of this novel. But I guess nothing spells true love like a relationship built on lies and deceit.
BUT, if you look past Solara's poor life choices that build the plot and the romance between the two main characters, this book is actually pretty darn good compared to the other space opera novels in the YA genre. We have space pirates! And even a little bit of science and machinery. We have a grumpy old captain with a SUGAR GLIDER (I have always wanted one of these). And we have lots and lots and lots of flying through space with a band of social outcasts on the wrong side of the law (Firefly, anyone?). The plot seems a bit disjointed in sections, and there are many subplots to the story, but Landers does a pretty good job of tying everything together in the end. There are even some wicked plot twists that I did not see coming at all (such as GS).
While Starflight didn't blow my head right off my shoulders, it is certainly an entertaining read. Nothing deep can be taken from the story, but when I'm reading YA space opera, I'm looking more for adventure than the meaning of life (if you want that, try Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy instead). And this series is definitely off to a much better start than Landers's Alienated, which did little for me.