Princess Cassia Rose never imagined that fleeing her home world because of an arranged marriage would trigger a war. Now, after hiding as a ship hand aboard the Banshee for two years, she’s finally returning to her beloved Eturia. However, it is not the homecoming she would have preferred. Shackled and beaten by Daeva bounty hunters, Cassia is dragged back home to face her crimes, and her vile fiancé. Her only comfort is that the rest of the Banshee crew is still out there, including her best friend (with benefits), Kane Arric.
While Cassia is forced to reconcile with the past, Kane and the crew scramble to rescue her. But when they arrive on Eturia, Cassia isn’t exactly in need of the bravado. She’s claimed her birthright as Queen, but has also inherited a war-ridden country sparking with rebellion. Cassia now must make decisions not only for herself, but for the good of her people who would rather see the monarchy crumble. Kane, the bastard son of a merchant, isn’t exactly an alliance that will win her any points. Kane knows this, but he also knows that there will never be a replacement for Cassia - and is certain that she returns his feelings. Yet how can he and Cassia possibly be together? Especially since the entire galaxy seems to be against them, and the fact that they both may not make it out of this fight alive.
In “Starflight,” the first book, we were reading from the point of view of Solara and Doran, a mechanical genius and a blue-blood who come aboard the Banshee under interesting circumstances. In “Starfall,” we are experiencing the galaxy through the eyes of Kane and Cassia, a star-crossed seducer and a displaced princess-turned queen. The transition of the points of view across two novels was a unique concept that I quite enjoyed. It allows you to experience two characters that you didn’t discover a ton about in book one, while still keeping the others in the mix.
The writing, as Melissa Lander’s writing always is, very well-voiced. Her style is unique and really shines through in all of her novels, not just the Starflight duology. Landscapes are descriptive, fights are epic, and characters develop further and further while still managing to surprise us now and again. Overall the skill and technique is a ten out of ten.
The only bad thing that I have to say about the novel is the timeline transitions. One minute Cassia is being held captive by her fiancé, then escapes and the chapter ends. Then immediately in the next chapter, she’s Queen and struggling to put her country back together. This sort of thing happens a few times in the majority of the book, but I understand the familiar concept: make a sudden plot introduction, then develop the backstory of it later. Nevertheless, I thought that it made the novel just the slightest bit choppy and a little confusing at times.
In the long run, I give “Starfall” a 6.5/10. We explore Cassia and Kane’s points of view, and also get to learn a lot more about our beloved kleptomaniac Renny, which I thought was a well-deserved. Although some of the timeline seemed askew, the excellent writing skill and talent made up for it in this wonderful continuation of the Starflight series.