Starflight by Melissa Landers is my latest read– and it was just plain fun! 🙂 Before I get into my personal list of pros and cons, I want to point out that the cover, the jacket synopsis, and the excerpt on the back are all beautiful and inviting. This is the first work by Landers I’ve read, and I’ll definitely be back.
The novel is a young adult sci-fi set in a future where humans have colonized other planets. The tourist and scientific industries hungrily eat up resources in space. Solara Brooks searches for a new life by hitching a ride with an old classmate to escape arrest her for former crimes…and from there, we travel to an endlessly interesting and action-packed array of extraterrestrial places.
My Personal Pros of Starflight:
- The Imagery: There are just enough details– sensual and concise– to incite the imagination. Along with this strong point is Landers’ world building. Solara and her friends visit a large variety of beautiful settings. The book evoked that sensation of transcending one’s time and place and traveling amidst others.
- Characterization: None of the people are perfect: I see that as a strong point. They’re not always likable; but in the moments they aren’t, they’re still people we can get behind. Backstories are plausible; conversations are (mostly) not cliché; and relationship dynamics are complex and mature, especially (in my opinion) for the young adult genre. There’s honestly good development in everyone.
- Pacing: Plot developments came about in (largely) believable ways and times. Most of the progressions didn’t seem forced or rushed. Events were polished and things came full circle in a way that felt natural and exciting. And there were genuinely surprising plot twists! Yaay!
- Aaand, lastly, I’m gonna geek out for a second: The Sci-Fi Elements! New tech, new worlds, ships and shuttles and artificial beaches and all of that good stuff lie inside Starflight, as well! It’s clear Landers did research on the science of it all.
All right, now that that gushing is out of the way, a few cons…
- Some Cliché Moments: There were a few quotes/speeches/descriptions that either seemed blatantly cheesy, or made me question why said character was allowed to be in authority. This happens a bit in YA literature (See Insurgent and Allegiant every time Tris enters a room full of older people). In Starflight, however, this was extremely muted, and only happened a handful of times.
- Love on a “Rusted Bucket of a Ship”: Love in a vacuum is difficult. The pacing was good, but certain “jumps” felt rushed. Things would progress naturally, and then a major development would happen…often secluded and around the occurrence of mortal threats. The issue of isolation is discussed once; however, certain *ahem* activities take precedence over its resolution.
- Ain’t No Party Like A Holy Gh…Oh.: As a Christian, I’m not always expecting God in either sci-fi or young adult lit. The book does references communities of faith and the Holy Spirit a few times. For the most part, these are neutral and part of someone’s history. There’s one place, however (at a party) where the Holy Spirit is said to not belong. The reason is probably because the two conversing want to make out; however, this slightly offended me, because there was more merrymaking going on around them: dancing and festival stuff. I mean, guys– have you ever seen a Holy Ghost Party? Just sayin’. Apart from my feelings, I don’t see how much purpose this quote had, other than to make its speaker sound a bit (more) self-righteous.
Sooooo those are my thoughts! Anyone else read this yet? What did you think of it? Or what’s your own latest read?