Starfall: Starflight, Book 2

Book review by
Michael Berry, Common Sense Media
Starfall: Starflight, Book 2 Book Poster Image
Amusing mix of sci-fi, court intrigue, and romance.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Starfall mixes together elements from sci-fi, romance, Westerns, and martial arts movies and books, demonstrating how different literary genres can be combined.

Positive Messages

Romance requires honesty and integrity. Friends watch each other's backs.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Cassia and Kane are devoted to each other, but they can't seem to go a day without picking a fight. They need to be honest about their motivations as they fall in love.

Violence

Until the final chapters, Starfall has few violent scenes. Marius punches Cassia in the stomach after she has been manhandled by bounty hunters,. A gladiator-style duel to the death takes place at the end, but even that episode is fairly bloodless.

Sex

One scene takes place in a brothel, but there is no description of the activities there. Kane and Cassia are obviously head-over-heels for each other, but they find excuses to stay apart. The sexual tension is mostly played for laughs, but they share a handful of passionate embraces before finally spending the night together.

Language

Infrequent use of strong language, including "ass," "a--hole," "bastard," "damn," "hell," and "s--t." 
 

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Partygoers swill a drink similar to Champagne. Kane becomes addicted to a drug that makes him want to fight in the gladiatorial arena.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Spacefall is a science fiction romance, a stand-alone sequel to Starflight. There's not a lot of violence until the final chapters, which feature gladiatorial combat. In their on-again/off-again relationship, Cassia and Kane generate a lot of sexual tension, but it's mostly played for laughs until they actually spend the night together. Swearing includes a couple uses each of "ass," "a--hole," "bastard," "s--t," "damn," and "hell." Kane becomes addicted to a drug that increases his performance in the arena.

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What's the story?

In Starflight, Princess Cassia Rose fled her home world to escape an arranged marriage. Now in STARFALL, she has been captured by bounty hunters and brought back to Eturia to wed sociopathic Marius. Her friends aboard the starship Banshee -- including her best friend in the world, Kane -- devise a desperate plan to rescue her. Meanwhile, there's trouble brewing in the outer reaches of the galaxy, including an epidemic that might kill millions. Cassia, Kane, and the crew of the Banshee must rely on each other to stop an intergalactic conspiracy, even as Cassia and Kane sort out their feelings for each other..

Is it any good?

Readers who enjoy a tossed salad of familiar sci-fi, romance, and Western tropes will find this space adventure to be a satisfying mix of disparate elements. In Starfall, author Melissa Landers devises scenes that brim with action, humor, and passion. The will-they-won't-they romance may try the patience of some readers, but others will find it highly amusing. The book can be enjoyed as a stand-alone, but it undoubtedly makes for a more satisfying experience if read following the previous volume. Either way, fans of Firefly or Guardians of the Galaxy will appreciate the snarky humor and star-crossed love.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Starfall and how it uses elements of science fiction, romance and other genres. How do these different elements work together?

  • How is sexual attraction portrayed in Starfall? Why do Kane and Cassie have so many misunderstandings about their feelings for each other?

  • How is violence portrayed? What does violence add to the story? How is it used to resolve disputes?

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