Black Gate is a fantasy site, and there’s more than enough fantasy releases to keep us busy every month. But sometimes adventure SF — especially off-world space opera — reads an awful lot like great fantasy. It’s too early to see if Melissa Landers’s latest novel Starflight will go down in the annals as classic space opera, but it’s sure got the ingredients… including a plucky heroine, lawless outer realms, long-buried secrets, and an eccentric crew on a fast ship.
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.
Starflight was published by Disney-Hyperion on February 2, 2016. It is 368 pages, priced at $17.99 in hardcover and $9.99 for the digital version.