I knew early into this book that it was not going to be my cup of tea…
Author: Melissa Landers
Genre: Young Adult • Science Fiction
Version: Audiobook (9h 44min listening length)
Narrator: Amanda Dolan
Publisher: Tantor Audio
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…
Starflight was part of my Books by the Banks TBR. Books by the Banks is a Book Festival that I am attending in October 2016, therefore I decided to try and read as many books by confirmed authors as I could before the event. As Melissa Landers will be attending to promote Starflight, I decided to give it a go. I always have reservations going into most YA books… YA is a genre that is very hit or miss for me now that I am an adult. I am not sure if this is due to my high expectations, personal reading tastes, or the fact that YA doesn’t appeal to me as much now that I am older… Regardless. I try to take these things into consideration while selecting books that are classified YA.
I haven’t read much in the realm of science fiction, but it is a genre I’ve been wanting to read more of. I really wanted to be blown away with the science fiction elements in Starflight. I wanted fantastical descriptions of new worlds and action packed scenes. There were a few parts that I enjoyed, particularly the concept of space pirates, however I felt underwhelmed with the science fiction elements. There wasn’t anything that stood out for me or made this book a memorable read.
One of my biggest issues with Starflight was the fact that I wasn’t able to form a strong connection to the characters. The only character I enjoyed at all was Solora. I appreciated the fact that Solora was rough around the edges, snarky, and seemed to be able to hold her own. I couldn’t stand the leading male character, Doran, but more on him in a minute. The crew could have been a wonderful cast of characters, however we never learned enough about them for me to actually care about their outcome. Things with the crew also escalated too quickly, one minute they are all strangers, the next they are one big happy family? I would have liked to see more character development in the secondary characters. We see slightly more development in Cassia and Kane, but from what I understand the second book in this series is about them, so it makes sense.
The romance wasn’t believable for me. It seemed uncharacteristic of a girl like Solora to fall for someone who literally treated her like scum between his toes. While I appreciate the fact that this wasn’t insta-love, it was one bad trope swapped for another. I am not a fan of the “over privileged guy is a spoiled brat and treats the girl like crap, but ends up falling for the girl, therefore sees the error of his ways and turns into a nice guy” trope. There have been very few books that have pulled this trope off… the only one I can think of is A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks. In AWTR, Landon was more angsty and arrogant, which is why it worked. Doran however was a complete asshole. I understand Doran had a rough childhood, but this isn’t an excuse to treat Solora as he did. I actually wish this trope would disappear, especially within the YA genre where you have young girl readers. Let’s not feed into the whole “if a boy is mean to you, it really means he likes you” bullshit. This has to stop. This was probably my biggest hang up with Starflight.
From all the positive reviews on Goodreads, I realize that I am in the minority in my opinions. I don’t necessarily think it is a bad book, or even poorly written, it just wasn’t my style. The writing is very simplistic which makes for a quick read, but I like my writing to be more atmospheric and “wow” me. I just didn’t get that with Starflight.
About the Author:
Melissa Landers is a former teacher who left the classroom to pursue other worlds. A proud sci-fi geek, she isn’t afraid to wear her Princess Leia costume in public—just ask her husband and three kids. She lives just outside Cincinnati in the town of Loveland, “Sweetheart of Ohio.”