Polaris Rising (Consortium Rebellion, #1)by Jessie Mihalik Published 05 Feb 2019
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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 . . .
"Polaris Rising (Consortium Rebellion, #1)" Reviews
4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2019/02/04/...
Not gonna lie, I’ve always been hard on the romances in my fiction. While I have nothing against romance, I’ve always said that if there’s going to be a romance arc in any book, it needs to be convincing—not to mention I also want the characters, plot and other story elements to be strong. It also helps when a novel is upfront with the reader on what to expect. In the case of Polaris Rising by Jessie Mihalik, it is an example of a sci-fi romance mashup that handles all these points very well.
The protagonist of this tale is Lady Ada of High House von Hasenberg. As the fifth of six children, her usefulness to her family only extends to her marriageability into one of the other High Houses, and only so that her father can have a spy in a rival’s house. To avoid that fate, Ada ran away years ago and has since survived on her own by living under the radar on space stations and mercenary ships. But unfortunately, her luck has just run out. As our story begins, Ada finds herself in a holding cell with another high-profile prisoner named Marcus Loch aboard a bounty hunter’s ship, soon to be handed off to Richard of High House Rockhurst, the man she was supposed to marry. Though Ada knows better than to trust Loch, a known dangerous criminal, she’s also aware he’s her only chance to escape. And so, the two of them strike up a tenuous alliance, agreeing to work together until they make it some place safe. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that Loch is hot as hell and has the body of a Greek god.
However, Richard is not about to give up so easily. For some reason, House Rockhurst is really keen on having his and Ada’s arranged marriage go forward, presumably to get their hands on her dowry. But what exactly is it that they want? And why does Richard also seem to want to capture Loch as badly as he wants Ada? As our two fugitives go on the run together, they end up finding the answers to all these questions and more. In order to protect her house and prevent war, Ada will need to recruit more help and put a stop to Rockhursts’ plans. Meanwhile, she’s also realizing that Loch is more than he seems. He’s certainly not the heartless mercenary she had expected him to be, and as the two of them grow closer, Ada must also admit to herself that Loch has become more to her than just an escape plan.
In case it’s not glaringly obvious, Polaris Rising is mostly a romance first, and a genre novel second. By that, I mean it can be awfully self-indulgent at times, being predominantly interested in focusing the attention on the romance arc between Ada and Loch, and it does that boldly with no apology. For one, the plot is light and leaky and doesn’t stand up to much scrutiny. World-building elements are plentiful but just robust enough to get by. Characters are also on the conventional side, with Ada being your typical heroine with a fierce personality and a strong independent streak, while Loch is even more clichéd as the tall, dark, brooding and possessive alpha male whose sculpted face and abs appear to be his main appeal. As they’re both archetypal to an extent, neither instilled much likeability at the beginning, though credit where credit’s due: both scored high on the believability meter. Ada and Loch are flawed characters each dealing with a painful event in their past. Ada’s prevents her from letting anyone get close, while Loch has done some terrible things that he’d rather forget. Again, it’s not the most original setup, resulting in drama that could have been predicted from miles away. And yet, the emotional growth they each experienced was convincingly written and fun to watch, and in the end, isn’t that why we read such stories?
Another point for this book: the supporting cast. Characters like Veronica, Rhys, and Bianca are fully-fleshed individuals in their own right, adding much flavor to the story (not to mention a nice break from the smoldering gazes our two protagonists are constantly throwing at each other). Even if romance isn’t your thing, you’ll love the meaningful relationships that these other characters add to the equation. And ultimately, that’s what I enjoyed most about Polaris Rising—the fact that there’s so much else to like beyond the main romantic arc. In spite of the light world-building, there is also a clear and strong effort to make the sci-fi setting as authentic and full-bodied as possible. It feels developed from the ground up along with the story, and not as though it was slapped on as an afterthought. And of course, if you’re here for the romance you’ll leave very happy, but those of us who require an actual plot with some action too will certainly not be disappointed either. Mihalik manages to balance the sexy times with enough suspense and thrills so that neither aspect overshadows the other, leaving both coming through very naturally.
Overall, I had a really good time with Polaris Rising. Admittedly, the romance genre is still not something I can take in large doses, but I love throwing a book like this into my reading repertoire whenever I feel like I need a change. Like a rich, fluffy, decadent dessert, I can only read these types of novels once in a while, but whenever I do, it’s always oh so satisfying and delicious.
I feel compelled to start with a disclaimer that I don’t normally pick up books with romance as the main draw, preferring instead stories that also include a mix of world-building, characters, plot, and external conflicts. Romances tend to just focus on the relationship, and I was hoping that one set in space would require a lot more attention paid to all the other elements I enjoy. Surprisingly, it actually had a good balance, and because of that I enjoyed it more than most from the genre, but overall I don’t think the type of story is my cup of tea, and my rating reflects that.
Don’t get me wrong – I love romance in books, but only when it’s not the sole focus. In this case, where the love story was front and center, I found myself not on board with how it played out. It was kind of insta-lovey. The declarations of love came without a satisfying series of events to back it for my personal tastes. I always want to be able to see why characters fell in love through some poignant moments, and that was missing for me. For a book mostly about the romance, the romance needs to have more substance to win me over.
Honestly though, I knew what I was getting myself into. And for what it was, it did have a nice balance of action and love scenes. The plot was even decent – bringing in an external conflict that at least kept my attention until the end, even if it was a tad repetitive. I can’t help but think other readers are going to enjoy it a lot more than I did because it definitely has some merit.
Series status: It’s currently planned as a series, but I don’t believe I will be reading on.
Recommendation: Although this might not be my genre, I think it was a decent story that fans of romantic sci-fi will gobble up. The banter between the main characters reminded me of Ilona Andrews’ writings, which is always a good thing. Venture in expecting a good mix of action and lovey-dovey moments.
Via The Obsessive Bookseller at www.NikiHawkes.com
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SFR at it's very best! I loved everything about this story: the capable, regal, kickass heroine and spaceship pilot; the muscular, dangerous and enigmatic escaped war criminal hero; the well-realized universe and secondary characters; and the the fast-paced plot that kept me turning pages. I had a serious book hangover when I finished and the story left me craving more of this world and characters. Highly recommend!
A ton of my Book Twitter friends recommended this book to me and I can tell you now, it absolutely lives up to the hype. I love a good sci-fi romance set in space and this one hit all the high notes. A fierce, loyal, and capable heroine. A gruff, powerful, and mysterious hero. Fantastic world building… great plotting and action… and a cast of secondary characters that have me chomping at the bit for more.
Ada is a princess in one of three royal/ruling houses of the galaxy. But she isn’t the kind of princess who dreams of marrying the prince. In fact, she has been on the run for the past two years, just to avoid an arranged marriage with a prince of a rival house. Her own father has put a bounty on her head to get her back home, but her royal training has served her too well. To be the daughter of a High House, she has been well schooled in every skill she would need to be an ideal spy and it’s helped her evade capture… until now. As the story begins, she’s been nabbed by mercenaries and she has to enlist the help of a fellow prisoner to help her escape before she is shipped back home.
That prisoner is Marcus Loch. He is well known as a killer, and Ada has no doubt he’s capable of it. But she sees something more to him. They bust out just as her betrothed breaks in, intent on forcing the marriage. They must jump through hoops, making one escape after the next to evade him, all while trying to figure out why he is so desperate to make the marriage happen.
I don’t want to spoil too much. But I loved, loved, loved the dynamic between Ada and Loch. They start out so wary of each other, and for good reason, but in forced proximity, they spark and eventually flame. Loch is such a great love interest. His secrets are peeled back like the layers of an onion, at the same time his defenses against Ada slowly break down. (His moments of jealousy, by the way, pushed my happy buttons.) Ada was phenomenal too. She would never ask anyone to take a risk she’s not willing to take herself. And though she looks out for her interests, she works hard not to cause undue harm to those around her.
Jessie Mihalik’s writing is so easy to sink into. She makes it feel so effortless. From setting up the political dynamics of the world to the space science to character histories. It all flows so well, allowing you to just sink into the action. I am a little sad to say goodbye to the Ada and Loch romance, but the author has planted a good seed to pique my interest in Bianca and Ian’s story. (Bring on book 2!)
Would definitely recommend for fans of sci-fi romance or space opera. Or really, romance fans in general.
*ARC provided by publisher
ARC received in exchange for an honest review - thank you!
This wasn't an especially bad book. It had its moments: we got to see interesting worldbuilding, fast-paced action and a nice heroine. But the hero was mediocre and the writing wasn't really my cup of tea.
The summary is very fulsome when it comes to revealing the basic plot of the book, so I'm not going to go into much more detail. It's basically Ada and Loch doing their best to simultaneously elude the members of Houses Rockhurst and Hasenberg, two of the three High Houses who rule the Consortium - essentially, the government of the universe. The Houses have always had a fractious relationship; they're competitors in the spaceship market, so when Ada discovers something that could give the rival Rockhurst house an edge, it's her familial duty to learn more about it. This whole thing gave me serious Rockefeller/Vanderbilt vibes.
Ada was a relatively good heroine. Cool as a cucumber, smart, knew how to defend herself. I didn't particularly like her but I didn't really dislike her, either. She was okay. Very close relationship with her siblings, which I always like to see in a book.
Loch, on the other hand, I just could not get behind AT ALL. He felt like a cliché of the tall, dark and handsome hero; in fact, a lot of the time, I got the sense that he was an extremely sub-par Jericho Barrons. Somehow there was zero heat and tension in his relationship with Ada. Just mechanical sex scenes and manufactured misunderstandings. Also, we got barely anything on his past or personality. AND IF THAT WASN'T BAD ENOUGH, HE HAD A SHAVED HEAD. I'm sorry, but I cannot take a hero with a shaved head at all seriously.
The action scenes were nice and there was complex world-building but the dialogue was ridiculously stilted, it got a bit jarring. Contractions weren't used when they really should've been. Most of the other characters were obvious sequel bait - they were all implausibly young and unnecessarily good-looking. The other important male characters were compared to Loch, just so you'd know they were sexy and tough and ready to be heroes in the rest of the trilogy.
Good space opera, terrible romance.
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A space princess escapes an arranged marriage only to end up captured and imprisoned with a notorious criminal, and that’s just the opening setup to this balls to the wall adventure. The universe is controlled by three enormously wealthy families, all rivals but currently in an uneasy truce. Ada is a daughter of one of the houses and grew up in the lap of luxury, but since running away from her family and fiancé she’s enjoyed living a lower key lifestyle—that is, until her father’s minions catch up to her. Ada will do anything to escape—seriously, there is no risk this chick won’t take—but she’s not sure if the dangerous yet alluring stranger sharing her cell is ally or foe. Politics, intrigue, action—the pace is nonstop and doesn’t let up until the very last page. This is the book I would put in the hands of people who claim romance is formulaic (and then dance around in victory when they love it).