Starfall by Melissa Landers
Summary from Goodreads:
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.
This book was so different from the first one. I remember the first book being more of a romantic comedy set in space, with lots of action and even pirates! This book was good as well, but much darker. You don’t necessarily need to have read the first book to enjoy this one, but there are references to the first story throughout so it does help if you have.
All of the characters from the first book are here, but the focus changes to Cass and Kane and their relationship. Solara and Doran the main characters from the first book are still in the story, just not front and center any more. I did missed them a little bit, but I also enjoyed seeing more of Cass and Kane and their story.
Cassia was an interesting character. She never wanted to be queen, but once it happened she doesn’t want to give it up either. She was a study in opposites on many occasions. While she fiercely loves her home planet and cares about it’s welfare and the people who live there, she longs for the days when she was roaming the galaxy with the Banshee crew. She also had a lot of trouble admitting to her feelings for Kane until it was almost too late.
I really liked Kane, he was smart and funny and put up with a lot of crap from Cass, way more than he should have. But he is also very loyal to her. You could see through him much about how the love grew out of their friendship. But I couldn’t blame him for wanting more than she was willing to give. He also makes some very stupid decisions, but I don’t want to give to much away, this ties into the dark part of the book.
The second part of the book does get rather dark and serious, the twist of what is really going on is quite different. I missed the lightness of the first book, but I think that is more due to the fact that I was expecting a similar story here. Still I am hoping that we will see more of the Banshee and her crew and their space adventures.