Thursday 9 June 2022

CBR14 Book 7: "Hunt the Stars" by Jessie Mihalik

Page count: 428 pages
Rating: 4 stars

Hello, welcome back to Malin reviews things she read several months ago, in this case - FIVE whole months. Let's start off with the official book description:
Octavia Zarola would do anything to keep her tiny, close-knit bounty hunting crew together—even if it means accepting a job from Torran Fletcher, a ruthless former general and her sworn enemy. When Torran offers her enough credits to not only keep her crew afloat but also hire someone to fix her ship, Tavi knows that she can’t refuse—no matter how much she’d like to.

With so much money on the line, Torran and his crew insist on joining the hunt. Tavi reluctantly agrees because while the handsome, stoic leader pushes all of her buttons—for both anger and desire—she’s endured worse, and the massive bonus payment he’s promised for a completed job is reason enough to shut up and deal.

But when they uncover a deeper plot that threatens the delicate peace between humans and Valoffs, Tavi suspects that Torran has been using her as the impetus for a new war. With the fate of her crew balanced on a knife’s edge, Tavi must decide where her loyalties lie—with the quiet Valoff who’s been lying to her, or with the human leaders who left her squad to die on the battlefield. And this time, she’s put her heart on the line.

I enjoyed the first two books in Mihalik's previous series, Consortium Rebellion. But Malin, if you liked those books so much, why didn't you read book 3? To which the answer is obviously that I was busy or distracted with something else when the book came out, I bought it when it appeared in an e-book sale so I'd have it when I wanted it, and then I completely forgot about it because it wasn't the newest and shiniest thing grabbing my attention. In other words, Chaos Reigning, I will get round to you at some point. 

This, on the other hand, was new and shiny and caught my attention immediately upon release, especially because my friend Emmalita gave a positive review of the ARC. She has excellent taste and if she says a book is good, I'm likely to really enjoy it too. So never mind me not having finished Mihalik's previous series (the books are stand-alones, anyway), my brain wanted this brand of romantic space adventure escapism instead. 

I really have not done myself any favours by waiting five months before reviewing the book. Hence this is all going to be what I remember now, with my swiss-cheese depression brain. Tavi and her crew mates (think found family) are veterans of some sort of space war.  Now they basically work as bounty hunters of sorts. One of the generals from the enemy side of said war comes to Tavi with an offer she basically can't afford to refuse, because of course her spaceship is badly in need of repairs (these spaceships are so rarely new and state of the art). If I remember correctly, Tavi and her crew are humans, while the enemies are humanoid and could pass for humans, but have woobly psychic powers of some kind. Possibly only some of them have the woobly psychic powers, the general certainly does. But Tavi has trained herself to shield her thoughts, and she's taught her crew as well. Hence the general can't mess with them.

Anyways, they take the job, even though they're not exactly happy about it. Tavi charges the general a truly exorbitant rate, and figures that the mission has to be both very dangerous and very personal to him since he's willing to pay without hardly any haggling at all. The mission will take them to the general's home world. Is it all a trap? How long will it take, with both of them forced together on a small ship, before Tavi and the honorable and quietly dignified, but also dangerous enemy general fall prey to their pants feelings for one another? How many secondary romances are going to be set up as sequel bait? 

You'll have to read the book because by now, I really don't remember. As well as the ragtag bunch of found family members on a space hulk, we also have an adorable pet thrown in the mix. Tavi has a pet fox-like creature that she rescued during the war. Apparently, these creatures are seen as almost sacred on the woobly psychic alien world, so the fact that she's had one since it was a poor orphaned baby is also something that earns her the respect of the former enemies. 

As enemies to lovers romances go, I seem to recall that it doesn't take that long for the enemy part to fade away to mutual respect, and Mihalik seems to like sci-fi romances where each couple gets their own book. So in this one, it's Tavi and general Torran (I almost called him General Woobly, which I like better) who fall crazy in love and there will be at least two more books, I think, with a new couple in each one. There's a bunch of action both on and off the spaceship. There are quiet moments of getting to know one another, there are thrilling moments, and the occasional tense (oh noes we're in danger) moments. Even now, five months later, I remember the book fondly enough to give it four stars. It's not one of those reads that's likely to change your life, but it's entertaining and I liked spending time with the characters, and look forward to what comes next in future installments. 

Judging a book by its cover: There are some covers that do pretty much exactly what you need them to. This book features romantic science fiction, and the cover promises you exactly that. You've got your spaceship, your impressive space vistas, your heroic protagonists in silhouette, both facing away from each other and clearly together. The colour choices are pleasant, but I've seen a lot more interesting covers in the past. 

Crossposted on Cannonball Read

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