Authors love to blend genres these days, and I’m heartily glad to see it. Thus you get the Horror Comedy, the Science Fiction Police Procedural, the Weird Western (my favorite!) and many other tasty fiction concoctions.
Of course, some are harder to craft than others. I think the trickiest may be the science fiction romance, just based on the fact that there are so few successful examples. So I was very intrigued to see Jessie Mihalik’s 2019 debut novel Polaris Rising hit a bullseye with critics. Here’s The New York Times.
Jessie Mihalik’s splendid Polaris Rising… [is] a thrill of a book. Ada von Hasenberg is the fifth child of one of the three royal houses of the universe’s ruling Consortium. She’s been on the run for the last two years, fleeing an arranged marriage with the son of a rival house. When she finds herself about to be captured by her intended, she manages to escape with a fellow prisoner: Marcus Loch, the Devil of Fornax Zero, and the most wanted man in the universe. Ada soon discovers that the small ship they’ve stolen for their escape holds secrets that could topple the universe’s delicate balance of power.
Mihalik’s universe is vividly imagined… The book is told entirely from Ada’s point of view, offering the reader no more insight past Loch’s cold exterior than Ada herself has. It’s a risk on Mihalik’s part — Loch starts out menacing and mysterious, and he always remains a bit opaque — but it pays off as the reader, right along with Ada, gets to treasure every small crack in his stoic facade. Besides, Ada’s a tremendous heroine, brilliant and capable but never infallible, and I wouldn’t want to give up a moment with her. The set pieces skew toward sci-fi, but the burgeoning attraction between Ada and Loch is just as important to the story. This is space-opera adventure and sweeping romance in equal parts, an enthralling and eminently satisfying book.
You can check out the full review here. Mihalik followed up the success of her first book with Aurora Blazing (“A standout, memorable book that oozes crossover appeal” — BookPage) late last year, and in May of 2020 the series concluded with Chaos Reigning. The Seattle Review of Book says “The third and final volume in this blaster-filled space adventure romance series lands with a bang…” (Is that a euphemism for sex? I’m pretty sure it is.)
[Click the images for sexier versions.]
Back covers for Polaris Rising, Aurora Blazing, and Chaos Reigning (click to embiggen)
This series has been well-received by a wide range of readers, and the third book ties things up in a way that should keep both SF and romance fans happy (Booklist says, “Mihalik wraps up her action-packed, spacefaring Consortium Rebellion trilogy with a resoundingly romantic conclusion.” At least they didn’t say climax.)
Here’s the complete publishing details.
Polaris Rising (448 pages, $16.99 in trade paperback/$9.99 digital, February 5, 2019) — cover by Tony Mauro
Aurora Blazing (400 pages, $16.99 trade paperback/$11.99 digital, October 1, 2019)
Chaos Reigning (416 pages, $16.99 trade paperback/$11.99 digital, May 19, 2020)
All three books were published by Harper Voyager. Read the opening three chapters of Polaris Rising here.
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