Polaris Rising grabs hold of your attention and never lets go as it flies through dangerous missions, near death experiences, and steamy encounters. You’ll be immediately addicted to the fast-paced storytelling mixed with a character who is always one step ahead of the game. I couldn’t put it down.
As a character, Ada von Hasenberg is brilliant. I love the concept of a space princess turned rogue who fights her way across the galaxy to avoid a horrible arranged marriage. By every expectation, Ada should be a spoiled, conniving member of a royal family, yet she’s surprising down to Earth and cares deeply about those around her. She has mad skills and she’s quick on her feet, evading capture for years as her father tries to get her back. She never wavers in what she wants from her life, and that’s one of the high points of the story.
Mihalik has mastered the art of the space opera with excellent pacing and just the right amount of battles and nail-biting escapes. Dark secrets from the past are swirling through multiple storylines and they’re presented slowly to maximize intrigue. Ada’s love interest is the most wanted man in the galaxy, adding an intense wild card to the mix. Their progression as strange allies to lovers is filled with passion and raw emotions, leading to steamy sex scenes and random fight scenes. It’s space opera at its finest.
Ada is incredibly intelligent, especially when it comes to the technical side of captaining a ship. As a member of a high house, she’s been taught everything there is to know about the workings of the machines her family, and the competing houses, have created. The technical aspects are quite entertaining, providing a lot of the mystery in the story. In this same vein, there’s a surprising amount of contract negotiation and political brokering throughout the story. We get to see the inner-workings of this intense society, adding another layer to the narrative.
Polaris Rising is one of the strongest space operas I’ve read. It has everything you could want from the genre, and lives up to every one of my expectations ten-fold. Read it, obsess over it, and prepare for the sequel in October.
By Jessie Mihalik
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