I really enjoyed Lander’s previous book, Starflight. So I wasn’t sure what to expect from Starfall which is more like a sequel/companion novel (we don’t see much of Doran and Solara). But I actually thought Starfall shined more in terms of themes.
When Princess Cassia Rose fled her home world of Eturia to escape an arranged marriage, she had no idea her sudden departure would spark a war. Now after two years hiding as a ship hand, she is finally returning to her beloved home, but not in the way she imagined. Shackled by bounty hunters, she is violently dragged back to account for her crimes. Her only solace is that the Banshee crew managed to evade capture, including Kane Arric, her best friend…with occasional benefits.
Meanwhile, Kane and the rest of the crew of the Banshee plan a desperate rescue mission. But when they arrive on Eturia, Cassia isn’t exactly in need of heroics—she’s claimed her birthright as Eturia’s queen, but has inherited a war-torn planet simmering with rebellion. Cassia must make alliances, and Kane, the bastard son of a merchant, isn’t a choice that will earn her any friends.
Kane knows he will never find someone to replace Cassia—and is certain she returns his feelings—but how can he throw away his own promising future waiting on a queen?
When the outer realm is threatened by the dangerous Zhang mafia, Cassia, Kane and the rest of the Banshee crew uncover a horrifying conspiracy that endangers the entire universe. In the face of unspeakable evil, Cassia must confront her own family’s complicated legacy on Eturia and decide once and for all who her real family is.
So Starfall was going against high stakes for me. I really liked Starflight and while I didn’t enjoy the characters as much in this book, I enjoyed the themes more. I loved the witty, hilarious, and clever dialogue between Doran and Solara. But for Cassia and Kane, I just felt like theirs were more just arguments. And I didn’t really like Cassia that much. Kane was cute, but I felt like they were played a bit too much into their tropes. Loyal and devoted Kane and emotionally distant Cassia.
Not to mention the angst-y, will-they-won’t-they, went on forever. And I hate these types of things. I am a very much decide what you want and go for it person. So this will we be together or won’t we, can get old pretty fast for me. That being said, I really liked Remi, Doran, and Solara in this book – even if we didn’t see much of them. I would read a prequel to Starflight for sure.
The only area where Starfall shone was the theme of revolution. One of the central questions/conflicts in the book is whether a monarchy is better than a republic – and in what ways. Obviously each of our favorites come down on different sides of this question – but figuring out where our friendship loyalties lie versus our ideas lie was fascinating to me. Another thing that was interesting to me is this notion of personal violation in war. What is fair in war? We have a lot of different forces who are using violence, justice, and their ideas to justify their actions. Where do we draw the line? When we see pilots, the mafia, revolutionaries, the government, and more?
If those things sounds interesting, give this a go, but really adjust your expectations if you loved the first. Check out Starfall on Goodreads.