Title: Polaris Rising
Series: Consortium Rebellion #1
Author: Jessie Mihalik
Publication Date: February 5, 2019
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ARC provided by the publisher through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
A princess on the run from a political marriage strikes an unlikely alliance with the universe’s most wanted man in this action-filled space opera.
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 . . .
As much as I love the genre, I admit that I haven’t read a lot of adult sci-fi. Maybe because I’ve always found it intimidating with those thick-spined volumes. Or maybe it’s because I’ve always felt like it’s a man’s world having grown up to names like Ray Brabury and George Orwell , whose books as good as they were, felt distant to me because I couldn’t identify with and cheer for their characters. So, picking up Polaris Rising I was both excited and wary, not really knowing what to expect or what I’m even getting myself into.
I shouldn’t have worried.
Polaris Rising had me from the very first blaster fire. It was fast-paced, filled with all the daring action my heart desired and, as an added kick, it has real steamy, swoon-worthy romance. Needless to say, I loved it!
The story centers on Ada von Hasenberg, the fifth of six children of House von Hasenberg, one of the three most powerful families of the Royal Consortium. Groomed from childhood to wade the intricate and precarious relationships between three High Houses, Ada knows that her destiny is to be married off to a rival house so she could spy on her husband and his family. But it’s not the life she wants for herself, fate or not, so she escapes before her engagement with Richard Rockhurst could be formally made. For two years Ada eludes capture but, eventually, her luck runs out and she gets taken by a group of mercenaries eager to get their hands on the bounty her father put up for her supposed safe return. This is where Polaris Rising officially starts.
I had tons of fun reading this book. The first page immediately hooked me with its fast-paced action. The plot was also easy to get with, and none of my fears about not understanding the whole tech that runs the world of the story were realized. No info dumps here! Instead, Mihalik breaks it down bit by bit, inserting technical stuff about the world she created into the story and her characters’ dialogues, which was effective and efficient.
But what I really loved about this book was its characters.
Ada and Loch both drive this story – it moves when they do, follows the path they’ve chosen to traverse. It was a treat to trail after their adventures (and misadventures!) I immediately liked Ada, while Loch grew on me as I continued reading. The two of them are similar in a lot of ways – they’re both resourceful, smart and can kick some serious ass. They don’t trust as easily as other people would, which kind of work against them at the beginning since they needed to trust each other enough to form an alliance no matter how tenuous or temporary it was.
Ada and Loch’s romance was also another I unabashedly loved about Polaris Rising. These two got me all heart eyes and swoony for most of the book. The attraction between them were palpable right from the very beginning. Their reluctance to pursue one another only added to the thrill of the chase. And when they finally got together, it lighted up fireworks. It was perfect – the whole hook, line and sinker deal!
I also loved how Mihalik drew her secondary characters. They are all colorful on their own account: there is Rhys, the successful black market dealer who shares Loch’s past, and Veronica, the fence with a secret of her own that could get her in trouble with one of the high houses; then there’s Bianca, Ada’s older sister who’s kind of a master in gathering information and Ian Bishop, House von Hasenberg’s director of security who may or may not (this is just a hunch) know Loch more than he lets on. All these help Ada and Loch providing them with something only they could give and helping the two main character reach their end goal.
While some parts of the story were outlandish, I didn’t much mind because I was having loads of fun reading the book. It was so easy to turn off the skeptical part of my brain. Overall, Polaris Rising was an excellent, entertaining space opera. I’m sure many readers will enjoying this book. I know I did! I’m already so excited for the series’ next book, releasing this October, Aurora Blazing which will be focusing on Bianca and Ian’s story.
🍂 🍂 🍂 🍂 🍂
About the Author:
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.