No, it's not STAR WARS, it's Heidi Ruby Miller's novel STARRIE. Check out my review from Amazon below.
SPACE OPERA WITH AN ENSEMBLE CAST!
In this caste-ruled society, where multiple partners are the norm, celebrity, beauty, and power mean everything. Love and jealousy are considered emotional fallacies, nothing more than fleeting moods and sentiments biased by hormones. But sometimes people just fall in love...and that can be deadly.
Ben Anlow and his team embark on a revenge mission to bring down serial murderer and rapist, Liu Stavros, at his fortress in the inhospitable mountains of Tampa Three. But contractor Naela Starrie already has her own kind of vengeance planned for Stavros. Even as a battle-hardened soldier, Ben's not prepared for the darkness he sees in the female assassin, nor the way she challenges his prejudices about her people when she makes a sacrifice to save to his life.
STARRIE is Firefly meets Battlestar Galactica - and it's a non-stop ride through terraformed planets.
Having previously read the first novel in the AMBASSADORA universe, I was well aware of Ms. Miller's excellent writing style and pleased to have the chance to read this side story set within as well. It's always nice to read a novel that is well plotted, uses point-of-view properly, and is free of irritating errors that slow so many stories down. So since there is no need for me to breakdown those elements here, let's move onto the storyline.
The world-building in STARRIE is excellent, and if you're like me and have had at least some exposure to the space opera genre in books, movies, or television, you'll easily find yourself enmeshed in the fictional universe created here. I cracked up with the 'docking' euphemism (think about it) and several other word usages that took on whole new meaning here. Even with such a far-out-there imaginative world, the story never bogs down with heavy-handed telling and achingly long descriptions (thank you!), while the action continues to keep things moving forward at a well-paced clip. There are familiar tie-ins with some of the elements from MARKED BY LIGHT that were nice to see and get a better feel for in this outing. And, of course, there's the Anlow brothers.
We open with Ben Anlow and his team on a mission to take out a sick and twisted member of the Embassy, the ruling order, on the frozen planet of Tampa Three's highest peak, Durstal Ki. But someone else got to Stavros just before them, a contractor assassin on the Embassy's payroll. Through a series of dire circumstances, Ben is separated from his team and must depend upon Naela Starrie, the assassin in question, to get him off of Tampa Three or at least keep him alive and safe from the hunters until contact can be made to the outside world. Naela knows who is hunting them, and her crazed cousin won't stop until he has what he's always wanted - her.
After a genetically altered puma attack on Tampa Three marred the team's own attack plan atop Durstal Ki, Char must race to get her prime back to civilization before the blood loss and poison have their final effect. But that means leaving the team's leader behind in the hands of a deadly assassin - and also explaining to Embassy officials why their mission failed.
Like I said, excellent pacing, nearly non-stop action, and great world-building (not to mention an error-free experience) make STARRIE a fabulous read for those who enjoy science fiction, particularly the aforementioned shows. I guess that means I'm exposing my nerdy/geeky side. I did get a little dizzy and had trouble following all of the media drones toward the end and how the characters' recorders worked, but that was only a minor annoyance. Content warnings: graphic and bloody violence (dismemberment), mild sexual situations, and strong language usage throughout, so definitely an 18+ read. For the wild adventure, five stars from me.
Pick up a copy if science fiction and space opera are up your alley by clicking here on AMAZON. Oh, and you can also enter for a chance to win a paperback copy over on Goodreads if you sign up soon by clicking HERE.
Heidi Ruby Miller uses research for her stories as an excuse to roam the globe. With degrees in Anthropology, Geography, Foreign Languages, and Writing, she knew early that penning fast-paced, exotic adventures would be her life. She's put her experiences and studies to paper in her far-future AMBASADORA series and into her two new thriller series.
In between trips, Heidi teaches creative writing at Seton Hill University, where she graduated from their renowned Writing Popular Fiction Graduate Program the same month she appeared on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. AMBASADORA was her thesis novel there, and the multi-award winning writing guide MANY GENRES, ONE CRAFT, which she co-edited with Michael A. Arnzen, is based on the Seton Hill program and was named #5 in The Writer magazine's Ten Most Terrific Writing Books of 2011.
She has had various fiction and non-fiction publications, as well as various jobs, including contract archaeologist, foreign currency exchanger at Walt Disney World, foreign language teacher, and educational marketing director for Frank Lloyd Wright's House on Kentuck Knob. In 2012, Heidi created the Dog Star Books science fiction imprint for Raw Dog Screaming Press and was the managing editor for the line for three years. Recently, she was the Director of Professional Writing Relations for the Pennsylvania Literary Festival, an event she co-founded in 2014.
Her formal memberships include The Authors Guild, International Thriller Writers, Pennwriters, and Science Fiction Poetry Association. Heidi is fond of high-heeled shoes, action movies, chocolate, and tea of any sort. She lives near Pittsburgh with her award-winning writer husband, Jason Jack Miller, and a sweet little kitty. Visit her at www.heidirubymiller.com.