Starfall by Melissa Landers
When Princess Cassia Rose fled her home world of Eturia to escape an arranged marriage, she had no idea her sudden departure would spark a war. Now after two years hiding as a ship hand, she is finally returning to her beloved home but not in the way she imagined. Shackled by bounty hunters, she is violently dragged back to account for her crimes. Her only solace is that the Banshee crew managed to evade capture, including Kane Arric, her best friend…with occasional benefits.
Meanwhile, Kane and the rest of the crew of the Banshee plan a desperate rescue mission. But when they arrive on Eturia, Cassia isn’t exactly in need of heroics–she’s claimed her birthright as Eturia’s queen, but has inherited a war-torn planet simmering with rebellion. Cassia must make alliances, and Kane, the bastard son of a merchant, isn’t a choice that will earn her any friends. Kane knows he will never find someone to replace Cassia–and is certain she returns his feelings–but how can he throw away his own promising future waiting on a queen?
When the outer realm is threatened by the dangerous Zhang mafia, Cassia, Kane and the rest of the Banshee crew uncover a horrifying conspiracy that endangers the entire universe. In the face of unspeakable evil, Cassia must confront her own family’s complicated legacy on Eturia and decide once and for all who her real family is.
Cassia is abducted and returned to her home planet. But through cunning, she’s able to overthrow an evil dictator and re-take the throne. Suddenly, Kane doesn’t feel needed, and Cassia’s adviser sews mistrust between the two. Meanwhile, the Banshee captain stumbles upon his old love at a time that seems too coincidental.
Starfall is a companion novel to Starflight – a sequel of sorts, but also focuses more on different crew members of the Banshee. Cassia and Kane have an incredibly immature relationship and can’t express their feelings to each other. So, both end up hurting each other. It gets really frustrating at times. But the adventure and suspense don’t disappoint. Once again, this action-packed, science fiction novel is an exciting and fun read. While I prefer the plot of Starflight a bit more, there were still plenty of great twists in this installment. Melissa Landers has found a great niche for herself in these YA scifi, romance novels (see also her Alienated series), and I look forward to reading more.