Publisher: Harper Voyager
Publication Date: February 5th, 2019
Page Count: 448 (paperback)
From the Jacket:
A space princess on the run and a notorious outlaw soldier become unlikely allies in this imaginative, sexy space opera adventure—the first in an exciting science fiction trilogy.
In the far distant future, the universe is officially ruled by the Royal Consortium, but the High Councillors, the heads of the three High Houses, wield the true power. As the fifth of six children, Ada von Hasenberg has no authority; her only value to her High House is as a pawn in a political marriage. When her father arranges for her to wed a noble from House Rockhurst, a man she neither wants nor loves, Ada seizes control of her own destiny. The spirited princess flees before the betrothal ceremony and disappears among the stars.
Ada eluded her father’s forces for two years, but now her luck has run out. To ensure she cannot escape again, the fiery princess is thrown into a prison cell with Marcus Loch. Known as the Devil of Fornax Zero, Loch is rumored to have killed his entire chain of command during the Fornax Rebellion, and the Consortium wants his head.
When the ship returning them to Earth is attacked by a battle cruiser from rival House Rockhurst, Ada realizes that if her jilted fiancé captures her, she’ll become a political prisoner and a liability to her House. Her only hope is to strike a deal with the dangerous fugitive: a fortune if he helps her escape.
But when you make a deal with an irresistibly attractive Devil, you may lose more than you bargained for . . .
Polaris Rising is the sexiest, most addicting book I’ve read in a long time. It is a deliciously fun blend of sci-fi space opera and romance (new favorite genre alert!) that I enjoyed so much I read it twice in a row without stopping. At 448 pages, this is not a short book. I flew through almost 900 pages in a single weekend and found the second read even more entertaining than the first! There is something inherently romantic to me about the possibilities for space exploration in the very distant future–to have the ability to effortlessly travel through space and time and wake up in a ship and look out the window to see vast, empty space, or some distant planet. For my imagination, the possibilities here are endless.
With Ada, Mihalik has created a character that made every part of my imagination sing. As the daughter of one of the most powerful families in the universe, Ada has rare access and means to go anywhere she wants to go. She’s been trained in espionage and fighting skills and her time growing up in a world rife with the dangerous politics of the other high houses means she has a confident self assuredness not typically found in someone so young. She’s disciplined, resourceful, intelligent, witty, incredibly brave, and she can pilot a ship! I want to be her.
The book opens with Ada’s unsuccessful escape from capture by a group of mercenaries (to be known here on out as ‘mercs’ because using her lingo makes endlessly happy) who plan to cash in the very large bounty her father has placed on her head. She has been promised since childhood to marry into one of the other high houses and it’s a fate she does not plan to take lying down, or at all. The mercs throw her into a cell with a very muscular, very handsome man who just happens to be the most wanted criminal in the ‘verse (see above note). *A quick note here to say plainly that I recognize the cliche here and throughout the rest of the book–recognize it but do NOT care at all. This is a romance remember? And some amount of cliche is going to exist because we can only tell this story so many times in a completely unique way.* If being captured frightens Ada, she doesn’t let it show. Almost immediately, she takes in her surroundings and begins plotting her escape, and the handsome criminal she’s locked up with, Marcus Loch, certainly makes things more interesting.
Full of believable futuristic world building that my nerdy brain devoured like candy, compelling characters, and non stop action, Mihalik packs so much into her debut. Polaris Rising starts off at a run that turns into a full out sprint as Ada and Loch plan one escape after another and make a discovery that threatens the future of the high houses, and subsequently, mankind. I particularly enjoyed the time spent planetside as well as the way the relationships are portrayed between Ada her friends and siblings.
I’ve always loved scifi, and while I enjoyed aspects of romance, they always lack something for me. I think part of the reason why this book worked so much for me, is the fact that Mihalik gives equal focus to the action and adventure you expect from a space opera as she does to the budding relationship between Loch and Ada. It reminded me a lot of The Illuminae Files and the Shatter Me series, but geared towards adults and has the steam factor I loved so much from A Court of Thorns and roses series.
If you are a fan of scifi but also enjoy some good smut, you should read this as soon as possible. I cannot overstate how entertaining this book is and how utterly and completely addicting. I neglected all responsibility this weekend to read it not once, but twice and I have no doubt I’ll read it again. The best part is that book two in the series, Aurora Blazing, will be out this fall! I’ll be scouring Edelweiss from now until then so I can get my hands on this next installment as soon as possible.
As always, the world’s biggest thank you to Edelweiss and Harper Voyager for the review copy of this truly wonderful book!!