Friday, April 12, 2019

Polaris Rising by Jessie Mihalik

A space princess on the run and a notorious outlaw soldier become unlikely allies in this imaginative, sexy space opera adventure—the first in an exciting science fiction trilogy.

In the far distant future, the universe is officially ruled by the Royal Consortium, but the High Councillors, the heads of the three High Houses, wield the true power. As the fifth of six children, Ada von Hasenberg has no authority; her only value to her High House is as a pawn in a political marriage. When her father arranges for her to wed a noble from House Rockhurst, a man she neither wants nor loves, Ada seizes control of her own destiny. The spirited princess flees before the betrothal ceremony and disappears among the stars.

Ada eluded her father’s forces for two years, but now her luck has run out. To ensure she cannot escape again, the fiery princess is thrown into a prison cell with Marcus Loch. Known as the Devil of Fornax Zero, Loch is rumored to have killed his entire chain of command during the Fornax Rebellion, and the Consortium wants his head.

When the ship returning them to Earth is attacked by a battle cruiser from rival House Rockhurst, Ada realizes that if her jilted fiancé captures her, she’ll become a political prisoner and a liability to her House. Her only hope is to strike a deal with the dangerous fugitive: a fortune if he helps her escape.

But when you make a deal with an irresistibly attractive Devil, you may lose more than you bargained for...

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Book 1
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Harper Voyager

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

I loved this book! It’s an epic Sci-Fi adventure with a kick-ass female lead. With nods to classic Sci-Fi, Ada leads a band of misfits and reprobates on a quest to reclaim her independence… and save the universe.

I love the mix of action, adventure, courtly politics, and romance. Ada is a princess on the run but she’s also cunning, fierce, and a little bit ruthless. Whether she’s commandeering a stolen spaceship, infiltrating an enemy planet, or manipulating the key players in the royal courts, Ada is always three steps ahead of everyone else. Loch makes for an intriguing but unlikely partner and their relationship is a fabulous mix of fantastic chemistry, fragile trust, and complementary skill sets. I love that he is a strong character but never a traditional hero or protector. Ada saves herself and she saves the people she cares about.

I love a good romance but the romance between Ada and Loch is the least interesting part of this story. This is a complex, beautifully crafted space adventure and I love the way the author weaves so many narrative threads together. For the first book in a new Sci-Fi series, the pacing is surprisingly good. I was immediately absorbed into Ada’s world and I understood the parameters of her experience without any of the lengthy descriptive passages that can so often make the start of a new Sci-Fi series tedious and slow. The writing is tight, and tension and suspense are built perfectly.

This was a fabulous read and I can’t wait for book two. This is definitely a new must-read series for me.

I hate when a Sci-Fi or Fantasy story (both genres which I love, by the way) starts slowly. I truly dislike the majority of world building and character introduction just thrown at me in the first chapter. Not to worry, Polaris Rising does NOT do this. We start the story in the middle of an interesting situation, action-packed and exciting, I was propelled into the story from page one.

A strong, independent female lead. An imposing, alpha male lead. Two characters on the opposite sides of the spectrum, politically and socially. I loved learning about them and their pasts. I was fully invested in their present situation and felt like I was a long-lost member of their party.

I will not go into a summary of the story, nor will I spoil anything. I will say that this was an exciting story full of action, political intrigue, interesting characters, and contained a touch of long-simmering, sizzling romance. I'm excited to see this is a series, I want to see more of these characters!

4.5 Stars

Jessie Mihalik is a new-to-me author.

From the very first page, I was immersed in an original space landscape, with intriguing characters. I'm a huge fan of 'adventuring' novels, reminding me of playing a video game. Added with political intrigue, this is where the story shines, not being used as a vehicle to drive the romance forward.

It's a breath of fresh air to have a true heroine in Ada. Ada had the perfect mix of intelligence, badassery, and emotion. In the fantasy genre, most novels actually, the heroine always comes off as independent, yet always makes ridiculous choices to put herself in danger – used to fuel romantic tension and cause the male to look like a real hero – even the ones who, on the outside, look to be in charge. This isn't Ada. Ada takes care of her own business.

Then there is Loch, who is a mystery unto himself. This alpha male is the most unlikely of allies to our Ada. Opposites attract because this creates a balance within the partnership. While there was a ton of yummy romantic tension between Ada and Loch, it wasn't the main focus of the story.

I'm trying to talk around the storyline, simply to avoid spoilers. I will say, I wasn't in the mood to read when I picked up Polaris Rising, but after a few pages, I was hooked. By the time I finished the novel, I wanted the next in the series and am now eager for a binge-read session.

Avid Reader☆☆☆☆
M/F Romance, Fantasy, Future

Ada is from a very powerful house, sometime in the future. While she isn't ready to be a pawn in her father's political game, she runs away and has been able to stay a step ahead for a few years. But when it comes down to her family, she'll have to take a risk she knows was coming. When she finds herself in a holding cell with a criminal who is known throughout the planets, Marcus Loch, Ada isn't sure if she can trust him, but with time running out, both her father and her almost fiancé coming after her, she'll have to go with Loch.

Loch is kind of an enigma in this story. He's known for being incredibly tough, almost without compassion. But as the story unfolds, you get to see layers of Loch peel back and the underbelly comes out. He feels the need to protect Ada, despite his prejudice against the consortium and very wealthy families.

What unfolds is a story about betrayal, love, and above all, power. I loved watching their journey through time in order to get ahead of Ada's family and try to redeem Loch's torturers. They are cunning, sneaky, strong, and brave, but they are also tender with each other. They have a quirky chemistry that works for them and while there were some ideas and things that were hard to believe, overall, it was a good relationship.

I do wish that we could have had more of a storyline behind Ada's dad and the rest of the family. There was mention of other family members, but we never really got to see them in the story.

I really hope in future books that we get to see Ada's sister's story too.

Jessie Mihalik has a degree in Computer Science and a love of all things geeky. A software engineer by trade, Jessie now writes full-time from her home in Texas. When she’s not writing, she can be found playing co-op video games with her husband, trying out new board games, or reading books pulled from her overflowing bookshelves. Polaris Rising is her debut novel.

Connect with Jessie

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Polaris Rising (Consortium Rebellion #1) by Jessie Mihalik to read and review.

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