Published by Disney-Hyperion on February 2, 2016
Source: Author Review Copy
Genres: Science Fiction, Romance, Young Adult
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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...
You know that feeling you get when you’re reading a book and you glance at the pages and you get scared that there’s so little of the book left and it’s just like NOO PLEASE GIVE ME MORE PAGES? That was me throughout this whole book. Seriously, the ARC is 358 pages and one of the thinnest I have – especially for a science fiction book! The whole time I was worried I wouldn’t like something or something wouldn’t develop enough for me. Fortunately enough, those fears proved unfounded and I enjoyed every single page.
Solara has felony tattoos on her knuckles and is looking for a life on the edge of humanity, the fringe. Her character was tough and magnetic. She has to work hard for everything she gets, and it pains her to be indentured to Doran, who we would term a “f*ckboy.” What else can she do though, being fresh out of the orphanage with no money and no life? I really disliked Doran in the beginning. Like I mentioned previously, he oozed out f-boy attitude: carefree, spoiled, playboy, and all those unsavory elements. Doran made it his job to make Solara’s life a living hell while he was her “master.” But alas, Solara had to deal with it to get to her goal of a new life. Although I didn’t like Doran’s personality, I was also excited to read about his character development later on in the book to change to an actually decent guy.
Well, soon enough Doran becomes a fugitive after being framed for a conspiracy and after an interesting turn of events, him and Solara end up on a ship called the Banshee where he pretends to be her servant and her his master. The crew of the Banshee was absolutely adorable, and each of them were on the run from something. I loved reading their interactions as well as discovering more about the cast of eccentric characters. Even though each of them have their own secrets, they stick up for one another and prove to be a family.
“Solara still didn’t know this crew’s secrets or how their paths had crossed, and yet these strangers had done more to protect her today than her own parents had in eighteen years. In her opinion, that was definitely something to be proud of. Renny was wrong when he’d said this was no life.
In that moment, there was no place she’d rather be.”
But because of those secrets (as well as what Doran and Solara are entangled in), there’s a bunch of things going on. The crew is always running away from something or another, be it the Enforcers, space pirates, or an army of people missing their temporal lobe (cool but creepy). It’s seriously non-stop action and adventure in this one, and although the ending was satisfying, Landers left some things open for a sequel or companion. (Which there will be a companion of! Yay! 😀 )
Man oh man, thinking about the romance gives me all the feels. Like I said before, Doran was a pretty huge jerk in the beginning of the book. But as he starts developing feelings for Solara and friendship for the rest of the crew, he really undergoes a change. Being a fugitive also opens his eyes to many things – like how quickly his so-called friends are willing to sell him out. The romance that starts developing comes out in a steady pace and is SO. CUTE. I loved seeing Solara and Doran’s interactions, especially as they realize how good they were for the other despite their initial impressions of antipathy.
Okay, so we have a wonderful group of characters running from space pirates and discovering something that could change society as we know it and a romance that is just *swoon.* Sounds like a recipe for an amazing book! The ending is satisfying enough for readers to close the book, yet leaves things open more awesomesauce in a sequel. Scifi lovers better pick this one up FAST. If you like reading an adventure with great character development, the opportunity of family, a scorching romance all rolled up in an exhilarating setting, then this one is definitely for you.
Rating: 5 out of 5