Author: Michael Miller and AdriAnne Strickland
Publication: Delacorte Press (March 21, 2017)
Description: Firefly meets Dune in this action-packed sci-fi adventure about a close-knit, found family of a crew navigating a galaxy of political intrigue and resource-driven power games.
Nev has just joined the crew of the starship Kaitan Heritage as the cargo loader. His captain, Qole, is the youngest-ever person to command her own ship, but she brooks no argument from her crew of orphans, fugitives, and con men. Nev can't resist her, even if her ship is an antique.
As for Nev, he's a prince, in hiding on the ship. He believes Qole holds the key to changing galactic civilization, and when her cooperation proves difficult to obtain, Nev resolves to get her to his home planet by any means necessary.
But before they know it, a rival royal family is after Qole too, and they're more interested in stealing her abilities than in keeping her alive.
Nev's mission to manipulate Qole becomes one to save her, and to survive, she'll have to trust her would-be kidnapper. He may be royalty, but Qole is discovering a deep reservoir of power--and stars have mercy on whoever tries to hurt her ship or her crew.
My Thoughts: This is fast-paced, action filled space opera. Qole, her brother Arjan, and their crew mine Shadow which is a very dangerous power source. They pick up a new crew member in Nev who has a hidden agenda for being on their ship.
Qole and her brother come from a family that has been involved in Shadow for a long time and, thus far, Shadow has proved to be fatal to most of the family. Qole is only sixteen and has charge of the ship because her parents and her older brother all went mad from too much Shadow and died. Qole feels that that will likely be her fate too. However, Shadow does have some benefits. She is stronger, faster, and a much better pilot than anyone else her age.
Nev has been sent by his family who are among the Royals who control everything to bring Qole back so that they can learn about her affinity with Shadow and how to use it. He doesn't realize that his father the King and his uncle the mad scientist are willing to dissect her to find out her secrets. He comes to a rude awakening when he learns that all the high ideals about honor and service to the people were just lies that his family told him.
When Qole and Arjan are kidnapped to be experimented on, Nev has to break from his family to rescue the young woman who deserves his loyalty.
The world building in this one was intriguing. It takes place after the collapse of the gates that allowed interstellar travel which has isolated many planetary systems. Qole's own home planet is an ice-covered planet that has been mined out by drones owned by Nev's family. The drones still exist but no one knows how to program them anymore. Now they are mainly hazards to Shadow fishers.
I liked the relationship that grew between Nev and Qole. I liked that both of them had to come to terms with who they wanted to be. Qole has to learn more about Shadow and learn how not to be overwhelmed by it. Nev has to learn to forge his own path since he can no longer follow his father's orders blindly.
The story has lots of adventures as Nev has to first rescue Qole and then Nev, Qole and the rest of the crew have to mount a rescue of Arjan. They need to battle the combined forces of the king to win through.
If the other Qole was dangerous as a meteor, this Qole was dangerous like Shadow, an unknown element to the people around her, and they stayed well away, casting sideways glances.I got this one for review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.