Starflight by Melissa Landers

This is a general statement for most of my reviews, if not specified otherwise: the review will be spoiler free until the designated SPOILERS section at the end! Read that at your own peril if you have not yet read this novel!

RATING

⭐⭐⭐ (3.5/5)

WRITING

The writing in this was fine! I felt it was a little ordinary, but that’s not always a bad thing. The story just shoves you into it rather than having a lot of expository description at the beginning, which is sometimes a problem with YA books (I’ve noticed this, it’s just my own personal opinion and isn’t a generalization). However, I felt myself craving more description through the entire story. I feel like I could picture each character rather well, but I was dying for more details about the settings. This story takes place on space ships and in the great expanse of space, yet the descriptions were as flippant as if describing yet another apartment building and city block. The greatest thing about science fiction writing is that you can do anything with it and yet I felt like there was a great missed opportunity with this one. I couldn’t really picture what the Banshee looked like, and I felt like I knew more about the three-eyed pirate henchmen than about the pirate ship itself!

There were also a few sentences of description of emotions or metaphor that I’m not sure worked. I read a few of them outloud trying to see if just my brain wasn’t following them properly, but even speaking they didn’t seem to flow off the tongue easily. There weren’t many of these (maybe 5 total), but each one sort of brought me out of the story when I stumbled over them.

Other than that, I really liked how the characters were written. The banter was great, the sense of family that grew throughout the plot was really well done. I honestly have to say the characters were my favorite part about this book entirely.

 

 

PLOT

The plot is pretty simple when it comes to YA stuff. Talented young woman protagonist who doesn’t think she’s pretty, beautiful young man, ragtag group of people, lots of action and antics. Immediately they introduce a hot young man and you just know they’re gonna end up together…that sort of typical YA plot line was rampant.

I wasn’t surprised at all about any of the plot “twists”, but that was fine for me! It really didn’t take away from the enjoyment of my reading at all. I’ve just read a lot of books, mostly YA, and it’s hard not to recycle plots and tropes. It’s just something readers have to deal with and writers as well. Like I stated above, my favorite part of the read was the character development throughout the plot.

I’ll talk more about the plot itself in the spoilers section!

 

CHARACTERS

Like I’ve said about three times already, the characters in this book were my favorite part about it! The general crew of the Banshee as a whole was very reminiscent of the tv show Firefly, and that immediately drew me in.

Solara, as eyeroll-worthy her name is, was almost a cookie-cutter YA protagonist. She didn’t think she was pretty, she was a young woman with a talent…luckily she wasn’t completely special or the “chosen one” like happens in a lot of YA books. She just happened to be a mechanic and not even the best one in the world, just a mechanic. Her upbringing was also typical-orphan, raised on the streets practically-but her personality stood on its own away from tropes. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about a protagonist who wasn’t completely overwhelmed by a love interest, and who had a hard time talking about her feelings; usually YA romances are perfectly stitched together, with both sides knowing exactly what to say, with big speeches about love and being together forever…it gets tiring after a while. So it was refreshing to see Solara deal with that differently.

Doran was the character that seemed to change the most over the course of the novel. He went from a Draco-Malfoy-esque bully to someone who was still arrogant, but had friends and understood that he could and would do things for the people he cared most about. Again his character development didn’t surprise me, but it was nice to have a male character who was actually in touch with his emotions more than just with anger and aggression. He had some stupid ideas, but some good ones as well, which follows through with his sheltered upbringing and lack of street skills. I’m not entirely sure but I think he may actually be my favorite character in the series.

The others, in general, were also good. You got a pretty good insight into Renny, Cassy, Kane and even a bit into Captain Rossi. For secondary characters, they were allowed to shine as well, and I love when authors can really flesh out smaller characters without it feeling like a burden to read.

GENERAL THOUGHTS

I went into this knowing I wanted to read a quick, cute little space romance. And I got exactly what I wanted. I had a fun time reading it. I was a bit overwhelmed with all of the “easy fixes” with some of the obstacles the characters came up against, but once I realized it was a reoccurring theme, it just sort of fell into place with the rest of the story. I probably could have read it in a single sitting if I’d had a few hours of time, but I spread it over a week and it stretched out the story enough for me to feel like I got a full experience out of it.

I’m so looking forward to reading the second book, and I hope it follows the same characters as closely as the first. I went into Starflight without reading the jacket summary, and I’m going to do the same for Starfall. Sometimes I like going into stories without knowing much about them. I feel like if I had read the summary for Starflight it would have ruined the experience for me since the plot was so simple to follow.

 

Below is a section of blatant spoilers where I gush about certain events in the book! Don’t read on if you don’t want to be spoiled to bits!

!!!!SPOILERS!!!!

I was actually surprised that the romance wasn’t as terrible as expected. For one, the characters are 18. One thing I cannot stand is these 15 and 16 year old protagonists in YA books finding their one true loves and falling in love in such a way that’s very unrealistic. The fact that Solara and Doran were 18 fit a bit more into the realistic column, and the fact that it wasn’t entirely lovey-dovey also made it more bearable. Doran was actually the more emotional of the two, and I loved that role reversal where the girl is more closed off and the boy wears his heart on his sleeve.

I wish I could have been sadder about Captain Rossi dying, but it just didn’t give me long enough to really feel for him as a character to feel sad about it. 😦

Renny was a surprising gem. I wasn’t expecting to like him (for some reason he reminded me of Giles from Buffy) as much as I did, but he is my favorite crew member.

Kane and Cassy/Caisa were sort of just there for me, but I think Cassy has a bigger part in the second book, so we’ll see if that changes for me. I think one of the biggest downfalls for me with those two were that they were both white and blonde haired and they had dreadlocks. 😐 I try not to police in my books, but every time dreadlocks were mentioned I couldn’t help but cringe at the cultural appropriation. Ah well.

I wasn’t at all surprised when Gage was alive and well; the whole “my twin died but *gasp* they’re alive!” is done so many times that it was bound to happen. I don’t know if I’ll end up liking Gage or if he’ll end up being a bad guy, but we’ll just wait and see!

 

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