Hunt the Stars
Starlight’s Shadow, Book #1
By Jessie Mihalik
Author’s website: jessiemihalik(.)com
Brought to you by OBS reviewer Omar
Hunt the Stars is the first book in the Starlight’s Shadow series by author Jessie Mihalik. It tells the story of Captain Octavia Zarola, or Tavi to her friends, of the Starlight’s Shadow ship and a group of bounty hunters that are just trying to get by in the vast universe. The inhabitants of this universe have entered a recent time of peace, as the major war between the humans and the Valoffs has ended, and a treaty has been set. Valoffs are similar to humans but with eyes, hair, and skin a bit brighter, and with mental abilities to read minds and control objects. But some wounds are still fresh, and the peace is still fragile, one wrong incident and the war can start again.
Tavi meets Torran Fletcher, a diplomate of the Valovian Empire in a space station on the outside of the FED – Federated Human Planets. Torran with his diplomatic immunity has been interviewing bounty hunter groups in the station for a job he has for them. Once they arrive at Tavi’s ship, they clash at first for being war enemies, but also both Torran and Tavi have high bounties over their heads by other nations.
After a long negotiation and a high price set for the job, Tavi agrees to try to find a ring stolen from Torran’s house in Valovia by some humans. But there is a condition, Torran’s team will be traveling with them to Valovia to safeguard their passage, and Tavi is not yet comfortable with Valoffs that close to them. After some convincing by her team and the need to finance the repairs of the ship, they accept the conditions. Tavi’s crew is made up of Eli and Kee but knowing that they will be having four Valoffs in their ship for the two weeks of travel, Tavi hires Anja, a mechanic, and Lexi, another bounty hunter, and friend of the ship.
As the teams travel through space, they get to know one other a bit. Tavi wants to learn more about the Valoffs and their abilities in case this is a trap and more about the mission. But as time flies by, some secrets are revealed. Among them is the truth about the robbery and the value of the ring.
I liked Hunt the Stars, it was a good space opera story, and the characters were interesting to follow along on their travels. Tavi and Torran make a nice couple, both of them have baggage from their time in the military and the distrust they have on the other species. But still, they manage to get past those prejudices and learn more about one another. Apart from Tavi, her crew is made up of Eli Bruck the first officer, and Kee Ildez the system engineer and navigator, they are later joined by Lexi Bowen that was part of Tavi’s squad, and Anja Harbon a mechanical engineer that is trying to leave the space station on which Tavi accepts the Valoffs job offered.
Compared to other space opera series from author Jessie Mihalik, this new series has added the element of mental powers to some of their characters. I liked that the Valoffs have abilities that humans feared and want to also learn. It was great how the reader and the human crew got to learn together that the Valoffs have more abilities that they hide during the war and will be great for the humans to know about.
While the romance storyline is centered around Tavi and Torran, as the narrative progresses, we can see other relationships flourishing while the mission is happening, and I can’t wait to read how they end.
This story was a fast-paced read, perfect for a weekend. A good recommendation if you are looking for a new read this spring.
If you are a fan of author Jessie Mihalik, I recommend Hunt the Stars. It starts as a high-profile job for the crew of the Starlight’s Shadow but then becomes even more dangerous with the Valoffs on the ships because they can protect their minds but not their hearts.