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Star Search

Revisit old friends in Starfall, Melissa Lander’s companion novel to her 2016 hit, Starflight.

Star Search

BOOK REPORT for Starfall (Starflight #2) by Melissa Landers

Note: This is a companion novel to Starflight, and while it is not necessary to read the first book to enjoy this one, I might be spoiling certain plotlines of the first book below.

Cover Story: Space Lasers
BFF Charm: Eventually, Sassy Gay BFF
Swoonworthy Scale: 5
Talky Talk: Slow Burn
Bonus Factors: Companion Novel, Space Travel
Anti-Bonus Factors: Deep Water
Relationship Status: Hot and Cold

Cover Story: Space Lasers

This planet looks like it’s either about to blow up into unicorn sparkles or it’s having a really fun party (am I invited?). The hardcover version has a pretty metallic shine on the stars whizzing past.

The Deal:

Princess Cassia left her home world almost two years ago, fleeing an arranged marriage to a murderous and duplicitous ally. While she misses her land dearly, she brought the most important piece of home with her: her best friend and occasional smooch-partner, Kane.

Unfortunately for Cassia, her luck finally runs out and she is captured by the Daeva, a ruthless group of bounty hunters who drag her back to her war-torn home planet in chains. Luckily, Kane managed to avoid capture (his would’ve meant certain death without the moniker of “Princess” to save him), but what Cassia doesn’t realize is he’s determined to rescue her…at whatever cost.

With a rebellion brewing, a plague starting, the Zhang mafia sniffing around, and the responsibility of thousands of lives in her hands, Cassia needs to decide where her heart really lies: with her people, or with a boy who has always put her life before his own?

BFF Charm: Eventually and Sassy Gay BFF

Cassia certainly isn’t having the best few months after being starved and forced to grovel on her knees in front of a man who murdered his own family. I appreciated her responsibility to her planet and its people, but, man, was she dicking Kane around with her wishy-washy attitude. I get it – you’re a Princess, and your love life is not your own. Then do the kind thing and let the man go! Cassia had a tough journey in this book, but she eventually grew up and made some decisions that made me proud.

Kane is loyal, almost to a fault, and he worships the ground Cassia walks on, though he’s not above getting in her face and pushing her buttons when she does her push-pull routine. At the start of the book, he’s finally reaching a breaking point. As much as it pains him to give up hope, Kane does have to look out for his own future, and he’s received an enticing job offer to travel around using his considerable charm for Doran’s brother. The Sassy Gay BFF in me was screaming for him to take it.

Swoonworthy Scale: 5

Kane and Cassia have been playing this dangerous game of l ’amour since they were young. From what you know in the first book to now, they are obviously very close friends, but it’s tough to admit your feelings when one of you keeps the other at arm’s length. With the playing hard to get and the hint of a love triangle, I was definitely tired of Cassia’s shenanigans, and we spent only a few days together; I can’t imagine how frustrated Kane must feel after years of it.

Talky Talk: Slow Burn

Kane and Cassia’s backstory was established in Starflight, and for a while, I was thinking that it would’ve been better if they had remained background characters. It took me time to get into their story, as I was put off by Cassia’s indecision and the threat that this book would turn out to be another “reluctant princess must decide how she wants to lead her ravaged people” recycled plot. One of the things I loved about the first book was the space travel, and being stuck on the ground in Eturia wasn’t my vision of a wild romp of a novel. Somewhere around the halfway point, though, events transpired to ramp up the excitement, and I quickly raced through to the conclusion.

Bonus Factor: Companion Novel

I like the idea that this is not a direct sequel, in that you could ostensibly pick it up and dive straight in without reading the first book. Granted, I think you would get a better overall experience for the world and the other characters on the ship since you would learn more about them (like why Doran is sometimes called Daro the Red), but it’s not strictly necessary.

Bonus Factor: Space Travel

The crew of the Banshee get to travel all over the four quadrants of their universe and visit some interesting planets. Despite having to be stuck in a flying metal tube for weeks on end, this is one of my favorite parts about sci-fi worlds, where traveling in space is possible without being NASA-certified.

Anti-Bonus Factor: Deep Water

There is a planet with one continent surrounded by a dead sea, so the people farm their food on the land and live suspended above the ocean in giant glass bubbles. I’m sure you can see this through to its logical conclusion when our characters stop by for a visit. I am not one for deep water or the claustrophobic feeling of being under water in small spaces, so this part was very suspenseful and stressful for me.

Casting Call:

Nicola Peltz as Cassia

Cassia in the first book is very tan with blonde dreadlocks, but she has to cut them off because she is being hunted. Nicola looks appropriately tan and princess-y enough.

Jesse Williams as Kane

Kane and Cassia are supposed to look very similar, like siblings almost, so he also had blonde dreadlocks in the first book but shaved his head to a close crop to avoid detection. I know Jesse isn’t blonde, so please just picture him as such, because for some reason he is who I envisioned for Kane (maybe because his long-suffering character on Grey’s Anatomy has also had to deal with a wishy-washy girlfriend).

Relationship Status: Hot and Cold

It took us a little while to warm up to each other, Book, and there were times when I didn’t think we’d pull through. But at some point, you opened up and showed me everything you had to offer, and we got along juuust fine.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received my free review copy from Disney-Hyperion. I received neither money nor peanut butter cups in exchange for this review. Starfall is available now.

Stephanie Johnston's photo About the Author: Stephanie is an avid reader who moonlights as a college Educational Advisor. Though she now calls Orlando home, she grew up all over the U.S. Aside from her obsession with YA books and book-related activities, Stephanie loves watching way too much television, reading organizational/DIY blogs, planning awesome parties, Halloween decorating, and playing live-action escape games.