Starflight has been on my radar for the better part of a year, since I saw it on My Subscription Addiction as a book that came in a subscription box. (I don't remember which box.) It's a young adult sci-fi story with a slow-burn romance, which hooked my attention easily because I had recently finished reading the These Broken Stars trilogy, which I enjoyed immensely.
Starflight follows two main characters, Solara and Doran, in their flight across the galaxy. Solara needs to find someone to hire her as a servant in exchange for paying her passage to the outer rim of the galaxy where there's a job waiting for her as a mechanic. Doran, the guy who bullied her relentlessly in school, ends up hiring her, though he seems to have done it mostly to torment her even more. But when he learns that Solara is a convicted felon and tries to toss her off the ship, Solara manages to switch their positions and get them onto another ship, with Doran suffering some memory loss and now in the position of Solara's servant, instead of the other way around.
This memory loss was my one big issue with the book. It doesn't last long, but for the duration of it Solara gaslights Doran mercilessly, leading him to believe that he's a different person entirely. Doran's memory comes back in full force and he's furious with her and everything gets resolved, of course, but this was very not cool of Solara to do in the first place. I can think of a dozen other ways she could have gotten them off that ship and onto the Banshee without gaslighting Doran (even if she did still use the stunner on him) so the fact that she chose this method made me think a lot less of her, which wasn't a great way for the book to get started.
Overall, though, I really liked this book. The Banshee's crew are fleshed-out and three-dimension with all of them having their own quirks and backgrounds, which serve purposes rather than just being there as props. And there are sugar gliders! And of course, not everything is exactly the way it seems to be when Solara and Doran depart the Zenith for the Banshee, and soon they're all renegades running across the galaxy and trying to figure out how they're going to clear their names or escape. Everything in this book seems to serve a purpose; it's very well-crafted to that end. And of course the slow-burn romance is wonderful. And there are sugar gliders! Well, a sugar glider.
And here's the thing... Yes, I'm going to do it. I'm going to compare Starflight to Firefly. Because that's basically what this book is: YA Firefly. A ship full of misfits of questionable legality travel across the galaxy doing jobs along the way, with two paid passengers who aren't exactly what they seems, etc. Some scenes draw upon Firefly very heavily; for example, a scene where a medical clinic is raided for supplies. It goes down differently from the show, but the parallels are there. And the Daeva seem to be somewhat like not-crazy versions of the Reavers. And there's definitely a conspiracy going on, too!
This was a great YA sci-fi romance. I really enjoyed it despite my doubts at the beginning because of Solara's actions--she really does redeem herself throughout the story, as does Doran. I hope that the other young members of the crew feature as the main characters in the future books, however--I liked Solara and Doran, but at the same time I don't think they would be interesting as main characters for at least another two books. I think relegating them to the supporting cast and elevating someone else to main is definitely the way to go.
4 stars out of 5.