The Soldier and the Mech:
Noemi Vidal is a soldier of Genesis, a planet that seceded from Earth's colonies in hopes of protecting their world. Now Genesis is at war with Earth and they are desperate. Abel is a machine, abandoned by his creator in the Genesis system, he spent 30 years alone until Noemi boards his ship. The two then set off on a romp around the galaxy on a mission to save Noemi's planet. I love Claudia Gray's books. Defy the Stars is so entertaining. I can't seem to get enough of the the sentient AI motif, and Gray's book is a great addition to this subgenre. I also love that she handled religion and the idea of souls with so much respect and honesty. Defy the Stars is out April 4, 2017. Review copy from NetGalley.
Solara Brooks hopes her mechanical skills will mean more than her felony status in the Outer Realm. She's so desperate to escape earth that she agrees to an indenture with the most arrogant boy from her high school, Doran Spaulding. A series of bizarre events lands Solara and Doran on the Banshee, a rickety tin can of a ship manned by a small group of outcasts. Starflight is so much fun. If you like pirates or Firefly you will have a lot of fun reading Melissa Lander's book. I loved the camaraderie between the members of the Banshee's crew. The mystery angle to this book definitely kept me guessing. I'm excited to read the sequel, Starfall, which was published earlier this year.
Emmett joins a group of ten teenagers who have been recruited by the Babel company to mine an amazing material called nyxia recently discovered on the planet New Eden. The first book in this new trilogy takes place aboard the space ship Genesis 11 where Babel forces the kids to train via an intense competition. Nyxia has the high-stakes competition plot device that we've seen in so many books recently. It especially reminded me of Red Rising. Scott Reintgen really keeps the pace moving and also confronts deeper issues like race and poverty. I'm both terrified and eager to learn what will happen once the characters reach Eden in book 2. Nyxia is out September 12, 2017. Review copy from NetGalley.
In Under Nameless Stars, the sequel to Zenn Scarlet, our titular character leaves Mars as a stowaway aboard the Helen of Troy. Zenn is following a lead on her missing father. What starts as a mission to find her dad becomes much bigger when the Helen is hijacked. Christian Schoon's book is so creative. Zenn is an exoveterinarian, meaning she specializes in doctoring creatures from space, and Schoon is so good at populating his book with interesting creatures. I found space travel by Indra especially fascinating, and a clever move on Schoon's part as it makes Zenn's role that much greater. Jules was a very fun addition. I'm not going to tell you what kind of creature he is, but I will say it was very unexpected.
The Lost Princess:
Princess Rhiannon Ta'an is the only surviving member of the Kalusian dynasty. Her driving force is to avenge her family's brutal deaths. Alyosha is a Wraetean who stars on a popular reality show but has not forgotten his difficult past as a refugee. The two are forced to go into hiding together. They must journey across space and learn who is behind the plot to kill Rhee and start a war. Empress of a Thousand Skies is an epic space odyssey. In her debut novel, Rhoda Belleza sets the scene for what is sure to be an intense duology. She grapples with themes such as war, revenge, race, and discrimination in a thoughtful and serious way.
All books reviewed by JoLee.