When you put the idea out there that a book is for fans of Firefly and Dune, there is going to be a lot of expectation and some skepticism. I have never gotten through Dune – I tried, but I thought it was boring. I do, however, drop everything when Firefly or Serenity show up on the TV. Don’t expect a Captain Tightpants, but it is pretty shiny. I gave Shadow Run 4 stars.
They can steal her home. They can attack her ship. But they cannot touch her crew.
Nev just started as the cargo hauler on the starship Kaitan Heritage. His captain, Qole, is the youngest-ever person on Alaxak to have her own ship. She’s brassy and bold, and she brooks no argument from her crew of orphans, fugitives, and con men. Nev can’t resist her, even if her ship is a rust bucket.
As for Nev, he’s handsome and impetuous—and Qole and the crew have no idea that he’s actually a prince in hiding. He thinks Qole holds the key to changing galactic civilization, but when her cooperation proves difficult to obtain, he resolves to get her to his home planet by any means necessary. Word of Nev’s presence on board spreads quickly to other ships, however. Soon a rival royal family is after Qole, and they’re more interested in stealing her abilities than in keeping her alive. Before he knows it, Nev’s mission to manipulate her becomes one to save her.
To survive, she’ll have to trust her would-be kidnapper. Nev may be royalty, but Qole is discovering a deep reservoir of power of her own—and stars have mercy on whoever tries to hurt her ship or her crew.
Shadow Run is a great read from beginning to end. I loved the action, which felt pretty non-stop. It is surprising how much character development actually made it into the story considering that the crisis mode is on continually. I will say I didn’t connect with the female narrator until the second half of the book, but the male narrator is a pretty solid anchor until that point. Fans of Firefly will find the tightknit crew and the complete inability to do anything the easy way very satisfying. Themes of honesty, integrity, and finding your real home add nice depth to the adventure. I’m definitely adding it to my high school classroom library and recommending it to fans of Amie Kaufman’s Illuminae, Tessa Elwood’s Inherit the Stars, and other fast-paced action reads. Language and situations are suitable for grades 8+, but adult readers of YA will find it enjoyable as well.
I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.