Polaris Rising by Jessie Mihalik
Consortium Rebellion #1
Science Fiction Romance
February 5, 2019 by Harper Voyager
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 . . .
Angela– As soon as ARCs went out I began to hear praise for this book across Romancelandia. Sci-fi/fantasy romance is one of my favorite genres so I immediately went and requested a review copy. Because when Romancelandia shouts out loud that something is pure awesomeness, you absolutely listen.
I really had no preconceived notions going into this book, other than reading the blurb and listening to gushing praise. One of my very favorite things though, is finding new authors to fall in love with and Polaris Rising is only this author’s second published book. I mean I wish she had more of a backlist, but I’m pretty excited to find her so early into her career.
Kini- I had seen some folks talking about Polaris Rising on social media but my laziness on not reading outside of contemporary and seeing the ARC was only available on Edelweiss seemed to seal the deal that I wasn’t going to be reading Polaris Rising. But then it showed up in my mailbox, it was like the universe was telling me that this book was for me. The universe spoke, I listened and it was not wrong.
The back cover refers to this as a sexy space opera. Typically space is not a setting I seek out for my romances. I define myself as a lazy reader, but the real reason I don’t read outside of contemporary very often is because I need to have a good visual in my head. Books outside of this are often hard for me to visualize because of either not enough or even too many details. The world building worked really well for me. She did a good job of giving me enough information without bogging down in to too many details.
Angela: As soon as the book opens with Ada surrounded by bounty hunters and pitched into a darkened cell with a known murder I knew that this would be 100% my cup of tea. Ada is exactly the kind of heroine I love. Resourceful, resilient, and ten steps ahead of everyone else. The moment she finds herself taken and en route to a man who she is determined never to marry, she begins to develop an escape plan. And it’s not just some hum-dum idea, Ada’s plan involves basically reprogramming a ship and finding her way IN THE DARK to an escape shuttle. It’s brilliant.
Oh, and then there is Loch.
I headed to the holding cells, counting doors and following the schematic in my head. Once I reached what I hoped was the right door, I fumbled until I found the manual release.
“Been having fun, darling? his voice rumbled from the dark.
*Shivers from deliciousness. *
Kini: When the story opens up, Ada has been captured by a rival and she is basically like, “nah, this isn’t going to work for me.” She’s thrown in a cell but she isn’t alone! Marcus Loch is in there and he looks dangerous. **Cue the dramatic music** We don’t learn much about Marcus but Ada isn’t bothered by him and they quickly form a allyship. They want off the ship they are on. Ada offers to pay Loch to help her. The way that Ada and Loch work together was wonderful and refreshing. Loch never once, that I can remember, tries to take over for her. He doesn’t doubt her abilities. He never once says anything about her not being capable because she is a woman. Kick-ass heroines who are seen as capable by the men they love is 100% my jam.
Angela: I’m with Kini, kickass heroines and partners who never doubt their competence are what I read romance for. Loch and Ada have this chemistry from the moment they get meet and it just gets hotter and more exciting as their alliance grows and they get to know each other. She is daughter of one of the three ruling houses, who, from what I gather, control the technology and therefore control pretty much everything else. He is a former soldier who is dubbed the Devil of Fornax Zero, and is accused of killing his commanding officers during the Fornax Rebellion. They should be natural enemies, but instead they make a pretty awesome team.
Kini: There is a scene where Ada is suffering from hypothermia and Lock makes her take off her clothes and get warm with him via skin to skin. It is very early on and there to help build the trust and I texted Angela and said I was swooning.
There is another scene where they intentionally grapple to kill time. It was tense and sexy and competence porn all rolled into one. Ada sets her boundaries and Loch stays within them. It really worked well for me.
Angela: Loch is what I would describe as maximum alpha. He could have easily stepped into asshole alpha, but he never does. I’m a huge, huge believer in boundaries in my romance and his respect for Ada is what had me all in on this couple.
Kini: The conflict centers around Ada not wanting to be forced into marriage. Ada is the 5th heir to her family’s house. In this world there are three houses. They rule the universe together, sort of. Some of that stuff I skimmed, but it didn’t take away from the rest of the story. Richard, the heir of the House of Rockhurst, is determined to marry Ada or there will be a war. He is the one that captures her at the beginning of the book. So the bulk of the book is spent her trying to escape that. There were some twists and turns and I was here for them.
Angela: The worldbuilding is marvelous. Interesting, expansive, detailed, and absolutely believable. It felt real. I felt like I could have stepped right onto the ship with Ada as she was running for her life. I loved the new take on who are the powers of the universe. I mean three super rich, power hungry dynasties fighting for control of technology and dominance isn’t that hard to believe amirite?
I feel like even readers who aren’t huge fans of this genre would enjoy this world. It was detailed without being too much and interesting without feeling too heavy. Also, the romance was so delicious that it would make any romance lover squee in joy.
There are several intriguing secondary characters introduced that I’m hoping get their own stories. And can I just say that I adore the relationship Ada has with her siblings? I’m so excited to get to know them better.
Kini: I agree with Angela! If this book, which I read in paperback, can capture me, a 98% contemporary reader, it can capture and retain the attention of pretty much any reader. It was well paced and action packed with fantastic moments of intimacy between Ada and Loch in between. The contemporary romance reader in me would have liked a smidge more focus on the romance. Mihalik sprinkled in secondary characters that piqued my interest and I definitely look forward to reading more about them.
Final Grade: A
Angela: I ADORED this book. The next installment releases in October and features Ada’s sister, Bianca, and the von Hasenburg security director, Ian Bishop, and I. Can’t. Wait. Final Grade- A