Starflight by Melissa Landers Book Review

Starflight by Melissa Landers
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Release Date: February 2, 2016

Life is hard in the outer realms, but Solara Brooks believes it is her only chance at a normal life. Just out of the orphanage and with fresh felony tattoos on her knuckles, Solara indenture's herself to the selfish prick Doran Spaulding who spent years making her life miserable. When he discovers her tattoos and wants to abandon her on a space station in the middle of nowhere, Solara does the only thing she can think of, she knocks out his memory, kidnaps him, and boards the first vessel heading towards the outer realms. Once Doran regains his memory, he is understandably angry, but it turns out he has a lot more to worry about than a tattooed runaway. In Doran's absence it seems he has been framed for conspiracy and Solara may have actually saved his life. As the months pass on the run, Solara and Doran go from enemies to friends and then something more. But neither are prepared for life as fugitives in space.

As far as plot goes, this book was fairly interesting. Two characters on the run,joining up with a run-down spaceship full of interesting characters who are willing to help for the right price. A run in with pirates that turns into all kinds of a mess. And a conspiracy that runs deeper and darker than Doran could possibly imagine.

I also like the idea that felons are tattooed with their felonies on their knuckles, making it almost impossible to go unnoticed for any period of time. Solara's felony remains a bit of a mystery until about halfway through and once you discover what it is, it seems almost unfair that she must live with these marks. The outer realms it turns out are not the wild west that Solara had been imagining and she is forced to face the reality of what life would be like on a planet. Starvation, prostitution, and slavery all beings things that would probably await a girl like her, no matter how street smart she is.

Doran's life however relies on a lot more stereotypes and Landers doesn't bother to do as much world building for him because we all know what rich assholes are like, right? Of course, it turns out that when you take a rich asshole and put him in a spaceship with unusual characters and a spunky felon, one magically transforms into an awesome lover boy. I don't buy it. In the story, they explain this switch as Doran just being hurt that his mother abandoned him when he was younger and that is why he wasn't nice. But here's the thing, this is a guy who spent years making Solara's life miserable. Absolutely miserable and he showed not a single ounce of remorse until Solara told him some of her sob story. As if his actions were justified by her being less than. And even when they got older, he continued to treat her like crap. He was going to abandon this girl on a space station knowing she was penniless and would probably have to sell herself as a prostitute to get off, and he didn't care. He didn't care! All because he was upset that she wouldn't show him her tattoo convictions. As if he deserved that somehow. The later explanation was supposed to make up for that. It didn't. Sure, Doran changes in the book, but I found the whole character arc to be completely absurd. Not that I don't think bullies can't change, but I wasn't convinced by Doran's change and that's what matters here.

Solara's character arc was a bit more believable. As someone who has been bullied though, I can promise that one of the most unattractive things in the world, no matter how handsome the guy is, is a guy who is a jerk.