Solara Brooks needs a fresh start, someplace where nobody cares about the engine grease beneath her fingernails or the felony tattoos across her knuckles. The outer realm may be lawless, but it's not like the law has ever been on her side. Still, off-world travel doesn't come cheap; Solara is left with no choice but to indenture herself in exchange for passage to the outer realm. She just wishes it could have been to anyone besides Doran Spaulding, the rich, pretty-boy quarterback who made her life miserable in school. The tables suddenly turn when Doran is framed for conspiracy on Earth, and Solara cons him into playing the role of her servant on board the Banshee, a ship manned by an eccentric crew with their own secrets. Given the price on both Doran and Solara's heads, it may just be the safest place in the universe. It's been a long time since Solara has believed in anyone, and Doran is the last person she expected to trust. But when the Banshee's dangerous enemies catch up with them, Solara and Doran must come together to protect the ship that has become their home-and the eccentric crew that feels like family.
What worked: I loved this novel that is filled with adventure, intergalactic travel, rowdy space pirates, and a crew that reminded me a lot of Firefly.
Solara is tough and when she's able to switch tables on Doran? She does it but that doesn't mean she's totally happy. I love how her exterior is peeled back to see her vulnerabilities. The world hasn't been too kind to her. Being raised in an orphanage and then getting mixed up with the wrong crowd could have hardened her but readers are able to glimpse more.
Doran is the typical spoiled rich kid but when his world changes? He rolls with it without being whiny or annoying. The chemistry between Solara and Doran heats up later in the story. They realize they have to help each other in order to survive. I couldn't help but think that that chemistry was always there but Doran pushed it aside because of pride. But when his wealth and family are taken away? He can only rely on himself, which is hard at first for him.
One of my favorite characters in this story has to be the intergalactic pirate ship! The banter between Solara, Doran, and the chief pirate, Demarkus is filled with humor. Demarkus is over seven feet tall and packs a powerful punch. Readers can't help but like him as he warns Doran--during a fight for Solara--that he'll go easy on him. I can almost picture a rugged pirate with a twinkle in his eye.
There's lots of action especially at the climax of the story which ends with a twisty plot.
There is really only a couple things I wanted more of. I wanted more interaction with the pirate ship and those pirates. It would be fun to see some of the women pirates too.
I hope there might be more in this story! It would be so much fun to revisit them and see what other intergalactic travels and people they'd encounter.
Fun intergalactic romp where YA world meets Firefly with equally engaging characters. The space ship Banshee with it's eccentric crew is one that readers will love to be a part of.
2. YA world meets Firefly
I was really excited for this book because I love sci-fi, especially when it involves a group of misfits becoming like a family. It was an entertaining read with a lot of action, growth, and characters I really enjoyed reading about. I can see why it was pitched as “Overboard” meets “Firefly”.
The book was told in the two POVs of Solara and Doran. The contrast between the two main characters was interesting. Solara was an orphan who had to beg for passage in order to get to the outer realm and find a job to survive while Doran was the spoiled, rich kid who loved tormenting her as her sole means of getting that passage. Solara was easy to like. She was dealt lousy circumstances in life but she was determined to do whatever she had to do to make a life for herself. She could be ruthless if she needed to be but she also cared about other people, especially those she considered friends. Doran, on the other hand, was extremely easy to dislike at first. Not only was he spoiled but he was a bully and seemed to have no concern for those he deemed unworthy of his time. It took time and growth for him to turn into someone I could root for as a character but I ended up really liking his development.
There were so many great side characters in this book that made it such a great read. The whole crew of the Banshee was amazing and I would have read an entire book of just them sitting around the dinner table playing their games and teasing each other. It was highly entertaining.
The plot was a little slow at first, mostly to set up for what would happen later. It wasn’t boring and I did enjoy it. It gave me a good idea of just how brutal the world was and why characters would have to go through such lengths to protect themselves. The romance was definitely slow burn. There was a lot of hurt feelings and trust issues between Solara and Doran that it seemed impossible for them to become anything more than allies at some points, but there was always chemistry even when they wanted to deny it. The last third of the book was extremely action packed that it was impossible to even think of setting the book down and there may have been a few times when I stopped breathing for a few seconds.
Overall, I really enjoyed it and I’m glad I don’t have to say goodbye to these characters yet because there is a companion novel coming out.