My Rating: 4 stars
Genre: Science Fiction Romance
Age Category: Adult
Type of romance: MF
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 . . .
I got an ecopy of this book for review from the publisher through Edelweiss. I didn’t get around to reading it and ended up listening to audiobook version that I listened through a subscription service eventually.
After enjoying the first two books in Jessie Mihalik’s Rogue Queen series I decided to finally give Polaris Rising a try. The weird thing is that I got a review copy of this back when it wasn’t released yet and then somehow forgot about it until I listened to the Rogue Queen last year and decided to finally check out Polaris Rising too. As I listened to the Rogue Queen series I decided to give this one a try in audio as well. This book was off to a rough start for me, but slowly I got more invested in story got to know the characters and got used to the narrator and then suddenly I was hooked and I wanted to keep listening.
First let me start with the start of the book. I thought the start was quite slow, especially compared to the Rogue Queen series which is quite fast paced, this was quite the adjustment as I mistakenly thought it would have the same pacing as the other series. I didn’t find the opening scenes as interesting, although looking back I can definitely see why the author started the book there. It just wasn’t gripping me. Add in a new to me narrator that I couldn’t seem to get used to and I struggled through the first few hours.
And then once I got through those first few hours I suddenly was hooked. The plot was picking up, I got used to the narrator (or maybe her style really did change as the book progressed?), I was more familiar with the characters and started caring about them, the romance started blossoming, interesting side character joined the field and then there was some interesting political intrigue as well. It was great. definitely worth pushing through the first hour or so to get there.
Polaris Rising follow the story of Ada who ran away from her family. Her family is one of the three big houses who rule the galaxy. She didn’t want to marry someone she didn’t love and wants to make her own way instead, but at the start of this book she gets captured by a group of mercs who want the money her father promises to those who find her. She’s put in the brig with a notorious criminal Marcus Loch. He wants to escape and she wants to escape, they’re both prisoners, but can they trust each other? Marcus is rumored to have killed his whole squad of soldiers and is a wanted criminal, but he might be her only chance at escape.
Just like Jessie Mihalik’s other series this series has that blend of different factors that make it a great read. A compelling story, but also enough focus on the characters and the development. The romance is a big part of the plot, but doesn’t overshadow the plot. It’s an awesome balance with enough romance and enough plot. I also really like the politic intrigue, with the different factions and how they rule the galaxy and all the political scheming and how Ada plays that game as well as anyone who grow up in the high houses.
Ada is a great main character, she’s capable both in combat and in social and political situations. I have to admit it took me a bit of time to warm up to her because at first she came across as less than capable and a bit dramatic and led by fear, but I think that’s also how the narrator made her seem and she was locked in a cell with the galaxy’s most wanted criminal at the start of the book. But once she has some space to do her own thing, she really shows what’s she capable of. I also like how caring she is, she cares about her friends and her family and even though Loch is this creepy criminal she still feels bad for how the merc treat him and is a bit nice to him even while scared out of mind. And later in the book it becomes even more obvious how far she goes for those she cares about. I liked seeing that.
I also really liked the romance, it’s a bit of a slow burn and they aren’t sure they can trust each other for a long while, but there is this simmering attraction. And slowly they grow closer and it was awesome seeing them let each other in. There was some drama and miscommunication that frustrated me a bit when it happened, but it was realistically done in a way that made sense for these characters. And they actually realized what was going on and I liked how Ada basically told him that they had to communicate better. I really liked the two together and even more the further I got the book. They really are good together.
The main plot line of the series is a bit slow to build, but there is this part when things fall on their place and start making sense and is getting connected that was great to see. This book resolved the romance of Ada and Loch and their main part in the bigger plot I think, but it leaves the main plot line open for the next books, which will each follow another sibling. I am really curious to see how that works and how the focus will shift and which part Ada and Loch will still play.
This was a new to me narrator and at first I had some trouble getting used to her style, I didn’t like the vibe she gave Ada and how dramatic and over emotional some things sounded. And then as the book progressed I got used to her style or maybe she toned down the over-dramatic parts and by then I was really liking the narration. I thought her voices for Ada and Loch were well done and I especially like Reese his voice as well. There were a few side character that sounded a bit similar, but all the main character had their own voice. And she did a good job with different intonations and showing the emotions in their voices as well.
To summarize: This was a really great read. I struggled a bit to get into the book at first, the plot took some time to grip me, I had to warm up to the characters and get used to the narrator. And then suddenly I was totally invested and started really enjoying the book. I really liked Ada as main character, how capable she is in both combat and social and political situation. And also how caring she is and how far she goes for those she cares about. The romance was well done, the build up started out slow and it progressed in a way that felt realistic. Their mutual attraction slow builds into something more and I really liked these two together. I also liked the plot and the bit of politics and political intrigue that’s going on. The romance and Ada and Loch’s main part in the plot gets wrapped up, but the main plot is left open and will continue in the later books. It took me some time to get used to the narrator, I thought she sounded a bit too dramatic at first, but I slowly got used to her style or maybe she toned that down a bit and ended up really liking her style and the different voices for the characters. All in I had a great time listening to this book and look forward to later books in the series.