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.
Lawless outer space can be a great place to have an adventure. But for our main character Solara Brooks, she is just trying to get to a better life on the fringe. With no money and no friends, she must depend on an old nemesis from school, Doran Spaulding. Hi-jinks ensue and they find themselves on a small trader ship with its own secrets. With lawmen and nasty pirates about, simply traveling through space becomes whole lot harder.
This is a YA novel so you know there has to be a romance in it somewhere and Starflight pulls it off pretty well. Solara and Doran hate each other at the beginning. Doran treats her horribly when she has to be a servant for him and she does the same to him but as they go through these situations, they grow a close bond. The relationship is not insta-love and that is refreshing. The humor between them can be great as well.
With her back turned, she loosened each plait until her hair hung in waves that curled around her waist. Then she spun to face him and puffed a sigh.
“Fine. You caught me. I guess there’s no use pretending anymore.”
Doran settled in and waited for the punch line.
“I lured you onto this ship,” she said, “because I couldn’t get enough of your scintillating personality.”
There it was.
“Kiss me, Doran,” she cried, flopping onto the mattress with one arm slung over her eyes and the other clutched to her breast. “I burn for you, hotter than a thousand hells.”
He cocked his head to the side. “I think there’s an ointment for that.”
They slowly grow feelings and at first try to deny it, but inevitably you are rooting for them both by the end.
Unfortunately, the crew that they travel with did not stand out at all. It is difficult to even tell what some of their jobs where. Cassia and Kane are ship hands? What does that actually mean? What do they do? Not telling? Alright then… The connection with these characters is sadly just not there. They are cool and seem like adventurous kinds of people but you don’t really know who they are till the end of the book then it feels pretty rushed. Partly this is due to the focus of the story being on Solara and Doran. Their relationship is built up really well but in comparison the rest of the characters did not seem to get enough “screen time” as it were for the reader to develop a connection to them.
You can definitely think of one show this book took inspiration from, Firefly. Which the author herself said on goodreads.com,
“This story involves westward expansion on a galactic scale, and I pitched it to my editor as “Overboard” (one of my favorite romantic comedies EVER) meets “Firefly” (an amazing sci-fi series that was tragically cancelled after one season).”
While it does not steal from Firefly, there are elements in that match it. Small smuggler ship, a mixed up crew of individuals (that care about each other), Crazy space guys that feel no emotion, and much more.
I really wanted to love this book. I think my biggest problem is that it is so extremely derivative of Firefly: girl that is great with mechanics, rich guy that is a fugitive, quirky crew on an old ship,
Reavers Daeva. I absolutely love the show and Starflight is not a copycat of it but while there are certainly plenty of original aspects, there were enough borrowed elements that they distracted me a little bit. Ultimately it really just made me want to watch Firefly for the umpteenth time and left me a “meh” feeling about this book.
I am not a big fan of novels that focus on the romance but this book did it well. The action and fun was weighed out by Solara and Doran’s relationship. They also are funny and fit great together no matter how they seem at the beginning. Most other characters were forgettable except for the pirate captain. Otherwise a good book especially if you enjoyed Firefly!