Author: Melissa Landers
Publication date: February 2, 2016
Number of pages: 369
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
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…
Let me start preface this by saying that I am a diehard Browncoat and Trekkie, so when I picked up this novel in the library I nearly screamed in delight. It was right up my alley, with a beautiful cover and intriguing synopsis. I was hyped for this book, and I was not disappointed.
Starfight takes place in a world very much like the Science Fiction show Firefly, in that the solar system has been terraformed and humans now have settlements on other planets. Solara Brooks, an orphaned girl raised by nuns, wants to work as an engineer on the outer rim of planets, far from where the law can reach her. She indentures herself to her old high school enemy, Doran Spaulding, who is so rich he’s practically royalty. They head on a luxury space liner, but switch ships to end up on the broken down Banshee during one of their first pitstops.
The crew of the Banshee have many adventures, leading them to fight pirates, run away from genetically altered mercenaries, and steal from the rich to give to themselves. All kinds of action is packed between the pages that kept me aching for more when I was forced to put the book down.
I adored the enemies-to-friends storyline that Solara and Doran had. It was beautifully crafted in a way that didn’t make me gag when they finally ended up putting aside their fighting to get on to kissing. The secondary characters form a quick bond with them, too. All in all, it was a great cast of characters.
That being said, it’s almost uncomfortably obvious how much the author took from Firefly. At times, I felt like I was reading a retelling of the TV show but with a set of knock-off characters. One of the things that bothered me the most was the Deeva, the super scary mercenaries that are chasing the ship in order to kill one of the secondary characters. The kicker? They have metal implants in their temples to take away the emotions from their prefrontal cortex, leaving them able to torture and kill a person in the most horrific way without feeling anything. Sound anything like a Reaver to you?
Another similarity that was too close for comfort was how the Banshee got its name. When it goes into hyperdrive, it makes a loud screeching noise that rocks the whole ship, almost like how the Firefly sets off a mist of light when it blasts off.
I could see how this would seriously turn off some readers, but I let it slide since the author incorporated everything so well. None of these similarities kept me from enjoying the book, and I would read it again a thousand times over. Here goes waiting until next year for the second book!