by Amanda Bouchet
Series: Endeavor #1
Also in this series: Starbreaker
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication Date: January 1, 2019
Genres: Romance, Science Fiction
I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.My rating:
Captain Tess Bailey and her crew of Robin Hood-like thieves are desperate and on the run. Pursued by a vicious military general who wants them dead or alive, Tess has to decide if she can trust Shade Ganavan, a tall, dark and arrogant stranger with ambiguous motivations.
Shade Ganavan had oodles of arrogance, oodles of charm, and oodles of something that made me want to kick him in the nuts.
What Tess and Shade don’t know about each other might get them killed…unless they can set aside their differences and learn to trust each other—while ignoring their off-the-charts chemistry.
I loved Amanda Bouchet’s previous series, so I was extremely excited to see her next book was a scifi romance! While it’s pretty fun overall, it wasn’t quite what I was expecting.
“There was nothing on my ship that wasn’t stolen. Hell, even the ship was stolen. Even the crew was stolen because, well, jailbreak.”
There’s some similarities with the Kingmaker Chronicles, specifically that Tess, like Cat, is the long-lost heir to a despotic ruler and was born “different.” Unlike those books, Tess basically announces who she is within the first chapter and she’s far more trusting than Cat. Tess has spent the past five years after breaking out of jail with her crew of Jax, Fiona, Miko and ship grandma Shiori. They’re Nightchasers, rebels who run supplies around to the needy (including an orphanage) and avoid catching the notice of the Dark Watch, the Overlord’s minions. A good chunk of the story is spent with the ship practically in pieces and docked on Albion 5, Shade’s home. Shade runs a parts store, but that’s not how he makes most of his money…. and those secrets set him at odds with his attraction to Tess. Both will need to decide what secrets to share and how far to trust, because more than just their lives are at stake.
“I was a Novalight. I wouldn’t go out like a sigh in the Dark. I’d go out like a fucking bomb.”
Tess was an interesting mix of confident rebel and socially awkward woman. There were several times during the book that I wanted to shake her for being too naive and trusting, but I liked her overall, and respected her for her convictions. It took a lot longer for me to warm up to Shade, mostly because of his continuous waffling over his feelings for her. I loved Tess’s crew and her interactions with them, especially Jax, and I honestly wanted more, especially the hint of a romance between two of the crew members. A lot of pages were spent on building up the relationship between Tess and Shade, to the detriment of the rest of the plot.
“[T]he whole galaxy was a freaking jail. Not everyone needed bars to be locked up, and what I saw around me was evidence of entire populations falling into complacency for the sake of personal peace.”
And that’s where my main criticism comes in. I wanted more action. What’s there is excellent, but most of the middle of the book is spent waiting for the ship to be repaired and building the will they/won’t they relationship between Tessa and Shade. I mean, the most interesting thing that happens in the middle is that Tess visits a bookshop and gets a cat. I’m hoping it’s just first-book-in-a-series syndrome, because the last quarter of the book really picked up. I also found the writing a bit clunky at times, especially the philosophical discussions about the Overseer’s banning of art and focus on conformity and routine. The clunkiness was worsened by the POV. It’s told from both Tess and Shade’s POVs, but Tess’s is first person while Shade’s is third. It was incredibly jarring for me to switch back and forth between them, sometimes mid-chapter.
Overall, this wasn’t quite what I was expecting, and I’d give it 3.5 stars. I’m interested enough in Tess and her crew to keep reading, and I’ll definitely be hoping the next book has more action!