I was not expecting to love Crownchasers as much as I did, but I am OBSESSED. What do I love about it? I love fierce pilot queer heroines in a clever scavenger hunt. There was tension, scenes that made me tear up, and all the found family. Keep reading my book review for a full breakdown of what I loved.
Alyssa Farshot has spent her whole life trying to outrun her family legacy. Her mother sacrificed everything to bring peace to the quadrant, and her uncle has successfully ruled as emperor for decades. But the last thing Alyssa wants is to follow in their footsteps as the next in line for the throne. Why would she choose to be trapped in a palace when she could be having wild adventures exploring a thousand-and-one planets in her own ship?
But when Alyssa’s uncle becomes gravely ill, his dying wish surprises the entire galaxy. Instead of naming her as his successor, he calls for a crownchase, the first in seven centuries. Representatives from each of the empire’s prime families—including Alyssa—are thrown into a race to find the royal seal, which has been hidden somewhere in the empire. The first to find the seal wins the throne.
Alyssa’s experience as an explorer makes her the favorite to win the crown she never wanted. And though she doesn’t want to be empress, her duty to her uncle compels her to participate in this one last epic adventure. But when the chase turns deadly, it’s clear that more than just the fate of the empire is at stake. Alyssa is on her most important quest yet—and only time will tell if she’ll survive it
(Disclaimer: I received this book from Edelweiss. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
I have been in such a SF mood and Crownchasers is a book that swept me away. Delightfully queer (pansexual MC and tons of queer side characters) and full of fantastic spaceship races, blaster fire, and action, Crownchasers is an action packed ride. And while I loved the action, all the SF world building and goodness that I adore in SF, what I loved were the characters. Alyssa just got to me. I’m not sure if it was her humor defense mechanism, prickly friendships, or her past, but I love her character. What I loved is that she’s clever, fierce, and incredibly talented, and she knows it.
She knows how awesome and amazing she is, how reckless and fearless her actions are, and how they are normally a bad idea that sometimes works out. But even more so, she’s vulnerable. While she doesn’t hide her insecurities from the readers, she also barely conceals them to her friends. And they see it, beyond her defenses, and it’s just all sort of assumed and tender? Alyssa is strong and brave, but also acknowledges the loneliness of drifting amongst the stars.
Um I also loved almost all the other characters. My favorite have to be Hell Monkey and Coy who are Alyssa’s best friends. Their relationships are endearing because of how they see each other, the jokes they can tell, and the playful banter. Crownchasers is full of character, heart, and banter. It will make you laugh out loud, scream to the stars, and tear up.
Another layer of Crownchasers, which we get a peak of in this installment, are the hidden trouble brewing. There are snippets of new stories between chapters, but it’s also a story about rulership. Who should be the ruler? There’s this chase for the crown, literally, but does that ensure that the best ruler wins? What will they do with their power? And the sacrifices and bargains made? I am confident this will be a huge issue in the sequel – the responsibility of power, knowing the people you are ruling and knowing their pain.
Another piece of Crownchasers I loved was how relatable Alyssa’s struggle felt. The incredible pressures of legacies, the weight of expectations, and decades in the making. Alyssa not only struggles with the mantle of her history, but also with her wanderlust and destiny. How much of our choices are ours to make, and how many were begun years ago? What control do we truly have over our own lives? It’s so relatable that Alyssa struggles with change – who doesn’t?
Change is the most difficult to accept because it feels a lot like loss. Saying goodbye to our past and to our version of now and, often times, our dreams for the future. What happens when our family, the world, or our duty is pushing us towards a future we don’t want, one of responsibility and necessity? It’s an incredible action packed debut which is also balanced with heartfelt and relatable characters.