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.
I really liked Starflight and was excited to hear that a companion novel would be coming out featuring a couple of my favourite supporting characters from the first book. I was looking forward to diving back into this world and into another story with this crew. I didn’t end up liking it as much as Starflight but I still enjoyed it and was very happy to have gotten the chance to go back into its world.
Cassia and Kane take a front seat in this companion and their dynamic was so different from Doran and Solara in the first book. They were the fun, banter-filled couple in the first book and now, with their relationship more in the spotlight, it showed that they weren’t just all lightness and play fighting. Cassia and Kane were friends from childhood and Kane was always protecting her. It did mean that sometimes Cassia felt smothered or like she was being treated as incompetent and that Kane felt he was only good enough for her when she needed him. It led to this dynamic of them trying to do what they thought was the right thing for themselves and for the other person, but usually ended up resulting in hurt feelings.
The plot really focused on Cassia’s return to her home planet and the rebellion. That left less time for the crew scenes where they were acting like a family, which was something I loved from the first book. Cassia spent a lot of time with her General as they tried to gain control and stop the rebellion. Kane spent more time with the crew as they tried to track down information on a cure for the outbreak ravaging Cassia and Kane’s home planet. I did find myself looking forward to Kane’s chapters over Cassia’s due to his having more interactions among the crew and there were times when Cassia was being a frustrating character with the way she was treating poor Kane.
I think my enjoyment of this book was helped by the fact that I was expecting the dynamic between Cassia and Kane, which was light and fun in the first book, to change pretty drastically with the focus on it in this one. It meant the flaws in their relationship were more exposed and their new situation meant they had to face what they could ignore when they were on the ship: Cassia was a princess and Kane wasn’t royal.
I do like that both books can be read as standalones. The first one a little more than the second. The second did refer to some instances in the first book but even with more than a year in between readings, I didn’t find myself confused. It great a great escape back into a world that I really enjoyed.