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A space princess on the run and a notorious outlaw soldier become unlikely allies in this imaginative, sexy space opera adventure—the first in an exciting science fiction trilogy.

In the far distant future, the universe is officially ruled by the Royal Consortium, but the High Councillors, the heads of the three High Houses, wield the true power. As the fifth of six children, Ada von Hasenberg has no authority; her only value to her High House is as a pawn in a political marriage. When her father arranges for her to wed a noble from House Rockhurst, a man she neither wants nor loves, Ada seizes control of her own destiny. The spirited princess flees before the betrothal ceremony and disappears among the stars.

Ada eluded her father’s forces for two years, but now her luck has run out. To ensure she cannot escape again, the fiery princess is thrown into a prison cell with Marcus Loch. Known as the Devil of Fornax Zero, Loch is rumored to have killed his entire chain of command during the Fornax Rebellion, and the Consortium wants his head.

When the ship returning them to Earth is attacked by a battle cruiser from rival House Rockhurst, Ada realizes that if her jilted fiancé captures her, she’ll become a political prisoner and a liability to her House. Her only hope is to strike a deal with the dangerous fugitive: a fortune if he helps her escape.

But when you make a deal with an irresistibly attractive Devil, you may lose more than you bargained for . . .

448 pages, ebook

First published February 5, 2019

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About the author

Jessie Mihalik

11 books1,672 followers
Jessie Mihalik has a degree in Computer Science and a love of all things geeky. A software engineer by trade, Jessie now writes full time from her home in Texas. When she’s not writing, she can be found playing co-op video games with her husband, trying out new board games, or reading books pulled from her overflowing bookshelves.

Sample chapters of all of my books are available on my website!

The Consortium Rebellion trilogy: Polaris Rising, Aurora Blazing, Chaos Reigning.

The Rogue Queen novellas: The Queen's Gambit, The Queen's Advantage, The Queen's Triumph.

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5 stars
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3 stars
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193 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,734 reviews
Profile Image for Holly.
1,430 reviews986 followers
March 6, 2019
3.5 stars

This had a fun space-travel based action/romance plot, but when the primary characters get captured/rescued five times total between the two of them, that's a little bit of overkill. The story starts out with one of them already captured and the other one is in the process of being captured. Then later on one of them gets captured again, and then it happens again, and then yet again one more time. For two people who have been on the run for years with large bounties on their heads, they are suddenly really bad at avoiding being captured, just saying.

Ignoring the capture/release/capture plot line, I did like the future-sci-fi-space setting complete with blasters, spaceships, and machines that make food for you quite literally. The romance part of the plot is also nice but I wish they had interacted more outside of the nearly constant action. In the end their sacrifices seems rather large for someone they barely know.

Subsequent books in this series will focus on the secondary characters, not this couple, but I can't say I am really invested in the characters enough to continue on with reading these.
July 9, 2020

💀 DNF at 52%.

Newsflash! I’m a complete, utter, total idiot! I mean, I obviously wouldn’t have read this ROMANCE set in space if I wasn’t. Because, you know, it’s ROMANCE and stuff . But I did, so I am! A complete, utter, total idiot, I mean! (Don’t mind me, just rehashing for the slackers in the back of the classroom.) Yay and stuff!

Anyhoo and stuff, when I started reading this most titillating book, I was super extra ready for some scrumpalicious intergalactic action. It had been a while since I last used my modified phaser (it’s got a special handle so I can grab it with my pincers, just so you know), and I just couldn’t wait to get it out of storage and go kill things dead. So when Jessie Mihalik showed up unexpectedly and invited me for a ride, I was quite a little ecstatic and stuff.

No, this is not actually Jessie Mihalik, in case you were wondering. It’s her chauffeur, Engelbert the Scandalous.

Hop in I did. And a moderately epic debacle this silly jolly romp in space turned out to be. Because as daring and pugnacious and resilient as I might be, there are some things that are bloody shrimping too much, even for me:

① 💕 Insta-lurve 💕! My favorite! Yay!

Clichéd as fish romance! Clichéd as fish characters! Clichéd as fish everything! Yay!

A Mary Sue heroine! Another favorite! Yay! She’s a princess! She’s super clever! She’s streetwise! She’s good-looking! She’s in great shape! She’s augmented! She kicks ass! She cooks a mean paella! (That has yet to be verified, but Ada is so Super Extra Gifted I have no doubt she can prepare a paella, shoot at someone, haggle with the local fence and kiss the Gary Stu hero all at the same time.) Yay again!

Everyone one is white! Everyone has blond hair! Yay! The MCs both have “bronze” skin and dark hair, but the rest of the universe apparently fell into a bottle of hydrogen peroxide when they were born! Yay!

Yes, when I say “everyone,” I do mean everyone. Even space bovines.

Eyerolling material aplenty! Yay! (Nearly lost two or three eyeballs while reading the book. Quite the hazardous reading material this is.)

Ridiculously convenient plot points galore! They’re totally unrealistic, but who the shrimp cares?! They’re convenient and handy and most opportune, and it’s all that matters! Yay!

Bored bored bored bored bored! Yawn yawn yawn yawn yawn! Yay!

Nefarious Last Words (NLW™): ① + ② + ③ + ④ + ⑤ + ⑥ + ⑦ =

P.S. Yeah yeah yeah, I know it’s not me you, it’s you me .

[Pre-review nonsense]

This is NOT Sci-Fi, it's bloody shrimping ROMANCE in a Sci-Fi setting.

My thoughts exactly.

Note to self: even though the way books are shelved on Goodreads tends to be a constant wellspring of hilarity, sometimes, just sometimes, it also happens to be a somewhat reliable source of information. So, you know, maybe, just maybe, you could bloody fishing check it you before reading a bloody book.

Full review to come and stuff.
Profile Image for Rachel  L.
1,827 reviews2,186 followers
December 8, 2022
3.5 stars

Maybe if I hadn’t read Hunt the Stars first, this would have been a higher rating. But this book wasn’t as good as other books this author has written.

Fleeing from a bounty placed on her head, space princess Ada von Hasenberg teams up with renowned criminal Marcus Loch to flee her jilted fiancé. But Ada notices something suspicious about the ship they escaped on, and may have accidentally started a war.

I enjoyed this for the most part. I wasn’t super in love with the romance between Ada and Loch, I didn’t really feel their chemistry. And the story/plot felt like it dragged on forever instead of coming together seamlessly. I am interested in reading the other books to see if things improve, but I find myself more of a fan of Milahik’s Starlight’s Shadows series than I am of the Consortium Rebellion series.
Profile Image for Angela.
3,198 reviews368 followers
March 11, 2020
Release day - February 5th - Today

Wow. That was my first thought upon finishing this book - which I devoured; I couldn't stop reading. This was the absolute best way to start 2019. There's so much I want to talk about, where do I start??

Okay. World-building. Damn. This is everything I'm ever looking for in sci-fi. I've never been one of those readers that loved all the technical and/or military overtones that some sci-fi has. I don't want to be drowned in techy words, detailed descriptions of said technological marvels, and pages upon pages of the minutiae of war. I do like my world to be detailed, thorough, solid, and feel real. And this one does. I can picture myself walking around the ships, even digging into some of the details about how they run. When we step on a planet, I feel the gravity, the sun blazing, the weight of the history of that particular place.

World-building is more than just places, it's also the history of the people that built and inhabit those places. Polaris Rising excels there as well. A good eighty percent of this book takes place away from the center of that history, but it's still deftly woven into the fabric of this book. We learn from Ada as she moves through the story, so that when we do encounter the core of these worlds, I was fully invested and clamoring for more. Jessie Mihalik delivered.

Ada, oh Ada. I love you. I've rarely felt such an instant connection and love for a character. In fact, only one other comes to mind. She's smart, honorable, strong, and kick-ass. Her morals and values are hers regardless of what is expected of her as a House member. The dichotomy of her privilege and her chains is fascinating and something that I really enjoyed exploring. Ada is everything I ever hope for from a heroine. And more than a match for Loch.

I don't want to say too much about Loch, because his secrets are his to tell, but I don't think it's a spoiler to say that I always felt how trustworthy he was. Never mind that our first glimpse of him is when he's chained to a wall. Peeling back the layers on his history is fascinating. If I thought him a little too alpha at times, well, it never crossed over the line to unacceptable. He has a core of respect and never steps over Ada's boundaries, regardless of what he wants.

Their romance feels slightly rushed, but I think that's more me than the book. I've been primarily reading Urban Fantasy and Fantasy for the last year or so.  Relationships develop  much more slowly there. Still, Ada and Loch progressed their relationship at a believable pace for all that was happening around them. They were forced to find out if they could trust each other, and intense situations always bring out intense feelings. I thought I would complain about the "misunderstanding" in the book when it came up. And, honestly, I did roll my eyes when I saw it. So often I want to shake the characters and demand they talk. But you know what these guys did? They TALKED. AND each took responsibility for their part in the argument. Love. Love, love, love.

Ada was also driven by much more than just her feelings and hormones for a love-interest. She felt responsible for millions of people, and moved forward on things because she knew them to be right, sometimes in direct contradiction to Loch's desires and needs. And there were times when he did the same. I think one of the things I loved the most is seeing how these two came to terms with each other's independence and compromising on how to deal with the things the other couldn't or wouldn't change about themselves. Their acceptance of each other and how they got there was amazing.

I am absolutely dying for the next book, and many more, in this series. I've already marked it on my calendar and am counting down the days.

More available at The Alliterates

Wow. That was kick-ass, awesome, sexy, and fun. I can't wait for more!!

Full review to come.
Profile Image for Jacob Proffitt.
2,937 reviews1,550 followers
May 8, 2020
This might as well have been written for me; a wish-fulfillment romance transported competently to a sci-fi setting (with a plot that holds together) and a helping of competence porn with found-family thrown in for spice? Yeah, sign me up for that! I can see why others might hesitate because the sci-fi is the vehicle for the romance. So it's not the focus and if you're expecting space opera or cultural exploration or alien interactions or lots of complicated worldbuilding this is not that. But it is a lovely romance and I really liked the main character and Marcus grew on me the way someone should if I want him to be with someone I like and care about.

Competence porn is tougher to pull off in romance than people think, which now I think on it, explains why Leverage and Hustle never much bothered with romantic subplots. Hmmmm. Christian Kane. Sorry, where was I? Wow, he'd be perfect to play Marcus in a film of this story. Hmmmm. Crap. Right. Anyway, most competence porn requires big obstacles and working together in complimentary roles. So throwing romantic conflict in the middle of that tends to adulterate those important elements and slow the pacing down if it isn't managed carefully. Mihalik managed this mainly by having both leads used to running solo and leaning into their strengths. So the romantic conflict folds into their learning to trust each other and incorporate their varied strengths into their planning and execution of the things they need to accomplish.

So I loved seeing them trade off rescuing one another and learning to trust despite both having backgrounds full of betrayal and loneliness. Indeed, seeing them connect and recognizing how alone they had been while finding that connection was a great emotional high and a highlight of the story for me. My heart was engaged immediately with Ada and her plight that kept her far from the siblings she loved. And seeing her fall for Marcus and having them choose to trust and be vulnerable was outstanding. I particularly liked that in the later parts of their relationship development they explicitly call out the missteps brought by miscommunication and let that impel them past later-stage conflict through having the hard talks. I loved that so very much!

So I'm going to be the rare all-out fan among my friends who have read this and give it all five stars. Recognize that this is very much my kind of story and that the primacy of the romance exactly fits my reading preferences. And I can't wait to read the next in the series because, in true romance series fashion, it is a new couple and I really liked what we got of Bianca in this story.

A note about Steamy: There are three explicit sex scenes putting this in the middle of my steam tolerance. The first two were pretty well done and a great illustration of their tentative, but growing, intimacy. The last was pretty much gratuitous and reminded me that this is likely also a bit new adult if you go with romance subgenres.
Profile Image for Corina.
759 reviews2,127 followers
March 23, 2020
4.25 stars

Honestly Polaris Rising had EVERYTHING I love about this genre. Moreover, it even reminded me of the adventure romances on TV. A space odyssey that brings a princess on the run and a known and dangerous fugitive together. A space princess that can kick ass and isn't just another damsel in distress. A fugitive that believes in the heroine's abilities, trusts her judgements and doesn't feel weak when she takes the driver's seat. I could go on and on.....

The writing is fantastic, the dialogues are crisp, smart, and engaging. The author took the time to develop the characters to a satisfying level. The slow burn between Ada and Loch was equally enjoyable and matched their personalities. Both were cautious, but also ready to give it a try - with the right person.

Besides all the things I loved about this book, it's still a debut novel. But it's a really GOOD one!! And I can't wait to read the next book. I actually can see myself having a collection of the author's books on my shelf, because they fill a niche of adventure romance books that I'm sorely missing.

I was vastly entertained by the story, the characters and plot.

Even though I didn't feel like Ada and Loch's story was satisfyingly concluded, it seems the author is releasing her sister Bianca's story next. Since the overall story arc isn't done yet, the books must be interconnected. Which works fine for me, that means I get more Ada and Loch.

✵ ✦ ✷ ✫ ✷ ✦ ✧ ✵ ✧ ✵ ✦ ✷ ✫ ✷ ✦ ✧ ✵ ✧ ✵ ✦ ✷ ✫ ✷ ✦ ✧ ✵ ✧ ✵

Profile Image for Niki Hawkes - The Obsessive Bookseller.
725 reviews1,198 followers
March 12, 2019
I feel compelled to start with a disclaimer that I don’t normally pick up books with romance as the main draw, preferring instead stories that also include a mix of world-building, characters, plot, and external conflicts. Romances tend to just focus on the relationship, and I was hoping that one set in space would require a lot more attention paid to all the other elements I enjoy. Surprisingly, it actually had a good balance, and because of that I enjoyed it more than most from the genre, but overall I don’t think the type of story is my cup of tea, and my rating reflects that.

Don’t get me wrong – I love romance in books, but only when it’s not the sole focus. In this case, where the love story was front and center, I found myself not on board with how it played out. It was kind of insta-lovey. The declarations of love came without a satisfying series of events to back it for my personal tastes. I always want to be able to see why characters fell in love through some poignant moments, and that was missing for me. For a book mostly about the romance, the romance needs to have more substance to win me over.

Honestly though, I knew what I was getting myself into. And for what it was, it did have a nice balance of action and love scenes. The plot was even decent – bringing in an external conflict that at least kept my attention until the end, even if it was a tad repetitive. I can’t help but think other readers are going to enjoy it a lot more than I did because it definitely has some merit.

Series status: It’s currently planned as a series, but I don’t believe I will be reading on.

Recommendation: Although this might not be my genre, I think it was a decent story that fans of romantic sci-fi will gobble up. The banter between the main characters reminded me of Ilona Andrews’ writings, which is always a good thing. Venture in expecting a good mix of action and lovey-dovey moments.

Via The Obsessive Bookseller at www.NikiHawkes.com

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The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers, #1) by Becky Chambers Grimspace (Sirantha Jax, #1) by Ann Aguirre Fortune's Pawn (Paradox #1) by Rachel Bach Stardoc (Stardoc, #1) by S.L. Viehl Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy, #1) by Ilona Andrews
Profile Image for Aisling Zena.
635 reviews462 followers
July 1, 2020
4 stars

I have been battling with a migraine for 3 days now, so I'm not exactly with it therefore my review will probably be blunt and to the point, if it makes any sense at all at this stage.

I don't usually read sci-fi but this was a welcome change of pace. I loved the setting, the worldbuilding and the two main characters, Loch and Ada. Some things needed a bit more work but overall it kept me engaged and distracted me a fair amount from the pain in my head. If you want to plunge in a new world set in space, with a strong, runaway princess and a mysterious, silent outlaw hero, this is the book for you. Full of family intrigues, battles and House politics the status quo of the 'verse is at stake. Will our two heroes make it through?

Profile Image for Choko.
1,200 reviews2,584 followers
June 27, 2020
*** 4 ***

This was a bit of a pleasant surprise. A typical romance, but in the futuristic Universe and heavy on the sci-fi action. Earth rules over the known universe, but Earth and the Universe are both ruled by the families of the Consortium. A daughter of one of the Consortium families, our heroine is running from a faith worse than death - an arranged marriage! So, she has been on the run for over two years, her father having put up a bounty for her capture and safe return. It was bound to happen, and a group of mercenaries gets lucky in capturing her. Only she is not the only captive for their bounty. A dangerous criminal, a mass murder, is chained just feet away from her. And out heiress knows she is in trouble...!!!

This was fun, exciting, and even the sci-fi elements were darn good! I think it is imperative for those who choose to read this book and series to know what to expect. I see some of the reviews are not very positive not because of the story itself, but because they had been expecting a science fiction novel with some romance in it, while the book is actually a romance novel set in a science fiction background. As such, I find it very well executed and successful. But it is not for those who expect a hard sci-fi and find romance fine as an additional element, or waist of time. This Kick-ass lady is not so tough as not to allow herself to be swept away by a gruff and deadly, but loyal and passionate soldier. And it sure is fascinating watching them maneuver the dangerous currents of high society and intellectual property espionage. Not much violent content, but some sexy times included👍😃
Profile Image for Mashara.
635 reviews55 followers
May 25, 2019
I've been sitting on this review for a couple of days, because I've been trying to figure out what exactly I didn't like.
So, let's start with what I did like: Ada is a great character. Slightly too Mary Sue for my liking, a little too author's self-fulfilment but she is resourceful and uses her head and knows her limitations, even if her resources sometimes is a fence in the ass of the universe that is able to get her all the tech she might possibly need to take over a heavily guarded facility by herself. But still, I liked Ada.
And I liked Marcus a lot for 50% of the book. Then he manages to fall into this terribly boring category of male heroes in which the moment they are in luuuurve they become this possessive, jealous, sulky teenagers. It's exhausting. The final time he storms off in a hissy fit and Ada comes to his rescue I was like "THEY CAN KEEP HIM".
And this brings me to my other point, because of the resolution of this last mission to save Marcus. The world building is very thin.
3 Houses rule THE UNIVERSE. Each has 1 leader. These 3 people are the most powerful, again, in the UNIVERSE and they are basically CEOs with levels of access that would make the security detail of Beyonce brake into a cold sweat. We have been building space ships for apparently thousands of years, and nothing seems to have changed, other than we are now in space.
A woman is hidden away when she gets pregnant with the heir of house Yamada's baby and in this world where they are all trying to kill each-other all the time, he ships her to a backwards planet by herself instead of having her killed? With no guards? Just hides her away? This guy is about to run a third of the UNIVERSE and he's going to leave a bastard running around? That shit didn't work for Albert II, and he's basically eurotrash.
All this makes the book campy to the nth degree.

Also in this universe, humans escaped and uninhabitable Earth, which they then colonised back, and for what I can see humans have not ran into other species, which fine, there's more than enough theories about us being the only sentient species in the universe, depressing as they might be, but my problem is that this book doesn't ran into a single black person (Veronica is described as warm brown skin, that's it).

The houses are called, Yamada, von Hasenberg and Ruckhurst, this will become relevant in a minute. Of the descriptions of people in the book, a total of maybe a dozen, both Ada and Marcus are described as dark haired and bronzed skinned, this are some of the other, unique, descriptions:

- The door swung inward to reveal a young man with a shaggy mop of blond hair that looked like it had never seen a brush.
- John, the blond merc who’d wrestled me into the ship, stood in the doorway.
- The fourth of five Rockhurst children, he was a handsome man with the trademark Rockhurst blond hair and blue eyes.
- His hair was blond and cut close to his skull.
- He was a handsome man, with blond hair and blue eyes and just enough rough edges to be interesting.
- He and Bianca shared the same long face, sharp nose, and light brown hair that they’d inherited from Father.
- Lady Rockhurst herself. She was coldly beautiful, with the signature blond hair and blue eyes the House was known for.

Stop me when you spot the problem. Are we in an alternative universe where the Third Reich won WWII? If so, fine. But tell me why. Specially with a recessive gene like blue eyes. That shit is going out the window before the 3rd millennium. Because if you don't, then I can only assume you didn't realise as as you were writing it, and that is horrifying.

All in all, it really is not a bad book, I feel that I am being unfair because I am disappointed with it, but I cannot find a way around these concerns.
Profile Image for Mallory.
1,126 reviews82 followers
December 10, 2022
This book is this author’s debut novel, and I truly wish I had read it first. I recently read the first 2.5 books in the Starlight’s Shadow series and they were to be completely frank much better than this one. That’s not to say this was a bad book. It is a fun space opera with some interesting characters and a romantic side plot. But it wasn’t hard to tell this was the first. The characters weren’t developed as much as they could have been and it hurt the chemistry in the romance for me at least. I also thought the plot was a little over dramatic (there were more captures and rescues than in most series). I will be reading the rest of the series as I want to see the evolution. This was a decent start and there is a lot of potential in the writing and world building. There is a lot of potential in the characters set up for the next book. Ada may be a child of one of the most powerful men in the consortium but she is the 5th of 6 children and holds little power other than what she can gain for him in a marriage. Once he started seriously negotiating for her marriage to a practical stranger she ran. Two years later she gets picked up by mercs and meets a very interesting fellow prison on board, the most wanted man in the galaxy Marcus Loch. Of course adventure and sparks follow in droves.
Profile Image for Mogsy (MMOGC).
2,030 reviews2,604 followers
February 4, 2019
4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2019/02/04/...

Not gonna lie, I’ve always been hard on the romances in my fiction. While I have nothing against romance, I’ve always said that if there’s going to be a romance arc in any book, it needs to be convincing—not to mention I also want the characters, plot and other story elements to be strong. It also helps when a novel is upfront with the reader on what to expect. In the case of Polaris Rising by Jessie Mihalik, it is an example of a sci-fi romance mashup that handles all these points very well.

The protagonist of this tale is Lady Ada of High House von Hasenberg. As the fifth of six children, her usefulness to her family only extends to her marriageability into one of the other High Houses, and only so that her father can have a spy in a rival’s house. To avoid that fate, Ada ran away years ago and has since survived on her own by living under the radar on space stations and mercenary ships. But unfortunately, her luck has just run out. As our story begins, Ada finds herself in a holding cell with another high-profile prisoner named Marcus Loch aboard a bounty hunter’s ship, soon to be handed off to Richard of High House Rockhurst, the man she was supposed to marry. Though Ada knows better than to trust Loch, a known dangerous criminal, she’s also aware he’s her only chance to escape. And so, the two of them strike up a tenuous alliance, agreeing to work together until they make it some place safe. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that Loch is hot as hell and has the body of a Greek god.

However, Richard is not about to give up so easily. For some reason, House Rockhurst is really keen on having his and Ada’s arranged marriage go forward, presumably to get their hands on her dowry. But what exactly is it that they want? And why does Richard also seem to want to capture Loch as badly as he wants Ada? As our two fugitives go on the run together, they end up finding the answers to all these questions and more. In order to protect her house and prevent war, Ada will need to recruit more help and put a stop to Rockhursts’ plans. Meanwhile, she’s also realizing that Loch is more than he seems. He’s certainly not the heartless mercenary she had expected him to be, and as the two of them grow closer, Ada must also admit to herself that Loch has become more to her than just an escape plan.

In case it’s not glaringly obvious, Polaris Rising is mostly a romance first, and a genre novel second. By that, I mean it can be awfully self-indulgent at times, being predominantly interested in focusing the attention on the romance arc between Ada and Loch, and it does that boldly with no apology. For one, the plot is light and leaky and doesn’t stand up to much scrutiny. World-building elements are plentiful but just robust enough to get by. Characters are also on the conventional side, with Ada being your typical heroine with a fierce personality and a strong independent streak, while Loch is even more clichéd as the tall, dark, brooding and possessive alpha male whose sculpted face and abs appear to be his main appeal. As they’re both archetypal to an extent, neither instilled much likeability at the beginning, though credit where credit’s due: both scored high on the believability meter. Ada and Loch are flawed characters each dealing with a painful event in their past. Ada’s prevents her from letting anyone get close, while Loch has done some terrible things that he’d rather forget. Again, it’s not the most original setup, resulting in drama that could have been predicted from miles away. And yet, the emotional growth they each experienced was convincingly written and fun to watch, and in the end, isn’t that why we read such stories?

Another point for this book: the supporting cast. Characters like Veronica, Rhys, and Bianca are fully-fleshed individuals in their own right, adding much flavor to the story (not to mention a nice break from the smoldering gazes our two protagonists are constantly throwing at each other). Even if romance isn’t your thing, you’ll love the meaningful relationships that these other characters add to the equation. And ultimately, that’s what I enjoyed most about Polaris Rising—the fact that there’s so much else to like beyond the main romantic arc. In spite of the light world-building, there is also a clear and strong effort to make the sci-fi setting as authentic and full-bodied as possible. It feels developed from the ground up along with the story, and not as though it was slapped on as an afterthought. And of course, if you’re here for the romance you’ll leave very happy, but those of us who require an actual plot with some action too will certainly not be disappointed either. Mihalik manages to balance the sexy times with enough suspense and thrills so that neither aspect overshadows the other, leaving both coming through very naturally.

Overall, I had a really good time with Polaris Rising. Admittedly, the romance genre is still not something I can take in large doses, but I love throwing a book like this into my reading repertoire whenever I feel like I need a change. Like a rich, fluffy, decadent dessert, I can only read these types of novels once in a while, but whenever I do, it’s always oh so satisfying and delicious.
Profile Image for Lindsay.
1,263 reviews222 followers
March 7, 2019
An entertaining science fiction romance (or romantic SF, it's hard to pick), that pretty much sets the bar pretty high for space opera-based settings for romance stories.

Humanity has spread to the stars under the auspices of the Consortium, which is run by groups of mercantile Houses, one of the most powerful of which is House von Hasenberg. Lady Ada von Hasenberg has reached the end of a two-year run from an arranged marriage when she's picked up by bounty hunters looking for the bounty on her return placed on her by her father. Ada gets put in the same cell as a monster of a man, Marcus Loch, known as the Devil of Fornax Zero. Against all expectations the two reach an agreement to escape which all gets very complex when Ada's erstwhile monstrous fiance appears.

This is seriously action-packed and manages to squeeze in the whole romance plot (sub-plot?) and a lot of exposition and world-building without bogging down all that action. That's largely achieved by not really doing anything particularly new with the science fiction. It's all pretty Star Trek/Wars standard stuff with FTL, artificial gravity and nanotech as givens, but without doing anything interesting with AI or robots. Similarly, the romance side of things, which relies a lot on gender politics/norms would be quite familiar to anyone reading romances now.

Entertaining, but check your brain at the door and have fun.
August 4, 2019
With 2 hrs and 4o mins of this 12 hr 41 min audiobook to go, I just can't bring myself to push through and finish.

Loved the action, but the romance is so not working for me. There's no chemistry, no emotional connection, and the romance doesn't feel organic. I find myself cringing with each sexual innuendo made by the hero or each time the hero and heroine flirt with one another. The sex scene itself was just...no!
Profile Image for Jen Davis.
Author 7 books700 followers
April 4, 2019
A ton of my Book Twitter friends recommended this book to me and I can tell you now, it absolutely lives up to the hype. I love a good sci-fi romance set in space and this one hit all the high notes. A fierce, loyal, and capable heroine. A gruff, powerful, and mysterious hero. Fantastic world building… great plotting and action… and a cast of secondary characters that have me chomping at the bit for more.

Ada is a princess in one of three royal/ruling houses of the galaxy. But she isn’t the kind of princess who dreams of marrying the prince. In fact, she has been on the run for the past two years, just to avoid an arranged marriage with a prince of a rival house. Her own father has put a bounty on her head to get her back home, but her royal training has served her too well. To be the daughter of a High House, she has been well schooled in every skill she would need to be an ideal spy and it’s helped her evade capture… until now. As the story begins, she’s been nabbed by mercenaries and she has to enlist the help of a fellow prisoner to help her escape before she is shipped back home.

That prisoner is Marcus Loch. He is well known as a killer, and Ada has no doubt he’s capable of it. But she sees something more to him. They bust out just as her betrothed breaks in, intent on forcing the marriage. They must jump through hoops, making one escape after the next to evade him, all while trying to figure out why he is so desperate to make the marriage happen.

I don’t want to spoil too much. But I loved, loved, loved the dynamic between Ada and Loch. They start out so wary of each other, and for good reason, but in forced proximity, they spark and eventually flame. Loch is such a great love interest. His secrets are peeled back like the layers of an onion, at the same time his defenses against Ada slowly break down. (His moments of jealousy, by the way, pushed my happy buttons.) Ada was phenomenal too. She would never ask anyone to take a risk she’s not willing to take herself. And though she looks out for her interests, she works hard not to cause undue harm to those around her.

Jessie Mihalik’s writing is so easy to sink into. She makes it feel so effortless. From setting up the political dynamics of the world to the space science to character histories. It all flows so well, allowing you to just sink into the action. I am a little sad to say goodbye to the Ada and Loch romance, but the author has planted a good seed to pique my interest in Bianca and Ian’s story. (Bring on book 2!)

Would definitely recommend for fans of sci-fi romance or space opera. Or really, romance fans in general.

Rating: A

*ARC provided by publisher
Profile Image for Namera [The Literary Invertebrate].
1,194 reviews2,937 followers
September 9, 2018
ARC received in exchange for an honest review - thank you!

This wasn't an especially bad book. It had its moments: we got to see interesting worldbuilding, fast-paced action and a nice heroine. But the hero was mediocre and the writing wasn't really my cup of tea.

The summary is very fulsome when it comes to revealing the basic plot of the book, so I'm not going to go into much more detail. It's basically Ada and Loch doing their best to simultaneously elude the members of Houses Rockhurst and Hasenberg, two of the three High Houses who rule the Consortium - essentially, the government of the universe. The Houses have always had a fractious relationship; they're competitors in the spaceship market, so when Ada discovers something that could give the rival Rockhurst house an edge, it's her familial duty to learn more about it. This whole thing gave me serious Rockefeller/Vanderbilt vibes.

Ada was a relatively good heroine. Cool as a cucumber, smart, knew how to defend herself. I didn't particularly like her but I didn't really dislike her, either. She was okay. Very close relationship with her siblings, which I always like to see in a book.

Loch, on the other hand, I just could not get behind AT ALL. He felt like a cliché of the tall, dark and handsome hero; in fact, a lot of the time, I got the sense that he was an extremely sub-par Jericho Barrons. Somehow there was zero heat and tension in his relationship with Ada. Just mechanical sex scenes and manufactured misunderstandings. Also, we got barely anything on his past or personality. AND IF THAT WASN'T BAD ENOUGH, HE HAD A SHAVED HEAD. I'm sorry, but I cannot take a hero with a shaved head at all seriously.

The action scenes were nice and there was complex world-building but the dialogue was ridiculously stilted, it got a bit jarring. Contractions weren't used when they really should've been. Most of the other characters were obvious sequel bait - they were all implausibly young and unnecessarily good-looking. The other important male characters were compared to Loch, just so you'd know they were sexy and tough and ready to be heroes in the rest of the trilogy.

Good space opera, terrible romance.

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Profile Image for Brittany McCann.
1,652 reviews407 followers
March 9, 2023
My biggest question: Where are the aliens? Do we honestly think that in the future and taking over all of these planets we will encounter NOTHING?!? This was honestly the biggest letdown of the entire book for me.

This is much more of a romance novel than a sci-fi novel. If you are a steamy romance fan who likes romance clichés, this book is for you. I was not expecting it, and it was VERY cliché heavy to the point that it was somewhat humorous and exasperating. The main character was pretty flat as far as character development goes. The only time I felt any connection with her was toward the end of the book.

The biggest issue I had with the book was the fact that it broke its own laws of abilities. Loch is supposed to be able to do all of these amazing things, but somehow he gets captured multiple times, I just don't buy it. He isn't written as being a dummy, and he has a lot of experience in sticky situations, so how would he be so careless as to get into these situations repeatedly without being able to escape without Ada's help? I can get that the author was trying to switch the fairy-tale princess in distress needing a man to rescue her idea, but this was not well-executed for me in this book.

Overall I didn't hate this book, and there are elements with potential if you can cut through the rest. The last quarter of the book laid a good idea for future novels, and there are a lot of subplots left open to continue with. The most interesting characters are, unfortunately, not the main ones for me, and I'm not sure if or when I will revisit this series.

It was just ok for me: 2/5
Profile Image for Bibi.
1,282 reviews3,268 followers
December 25, 2020
An uncomplicated, fast-paced space opera with a kick-ass heroine!
Profile Image for Lata.
3,599 reviews192 followers
March 26, 2019
Fast-moving plot, funny and capable main character, lots of action and peril, light and frothy, what's not to like?
Main character Ada's on the run from her family (a super-rich House, one of three others) and a potential and unwanted marriage to the son of another house. She's picked up by mercenaries, and encounters Marcus Loch, a brutal murderer, also in their custody. The two manage to form an alliance of convenience so they can escape. Which they do, but narrowly, with her almost betrothed Richard after them.
The characters are pretty much what you're told they are, and I didn't really care, because this story is just so much fun. It begins with Ada fighting the mercenaries and doesn't really let up till the end. There's humour, romance and danger, and I'm interested in Jessie Mihalik's next book in this series as this installment was such fun.
Profile Image for Lisa (A Life Bound By Books).
1,107 reviews748 followers
September 21, 2019
4.5 Stars!!! Seriously LOVED this book!!! Talk about strong female lead character!

Political intrigue, an heir on the run, mercenaries around every corner and bounties chasing them down. All set in space and mostly distant planets.

It’s a well written story that’s just the beginning and I can’t wait to read the next books.

For me, this is without a doubt an author to watch!
Highly recommend to anyone who loves a great, thrilling and exciting space opera!
Profile Image for ♥Rachel♥.
1,855 reviews846 followers
March 30, 2019
Great start to the series, but I'd skip the audio version. I started reading my e-copy and switched to the audio when I wasn't able to read and the narrator turned Ada into a more arrogant, dramatic version of the character I was reading. Didn't care for her performance of Marcus Loch (the hero) at all.
Profile Image for Jeffe Kennedy.
Author 88 books1,230 followers
September 27, 2018
SFR at it's very best! I loved everything about this story: the capable, regal, kickass heroine and spaceship pilot; the muscular, dangerous and enigmatic escaped war criminal hero; the well-realized universe and secondary characters; and the the fast-paced plot that kept me turning pages. I had a serious book hangover when I finished and the story left me craving more of this world and characters. Highly recommend!
Profile Image for Gavin.
862 reviews392 followers
July 8, 2020
This was a fun and engaging sci-fi/romance tale. It was more UF/PNR in tone and feel than regular sci-fi but I think that worked pretty well for the tale as the sci-fi setting gave the story a fresh feel and helped it stand out a bit from the crowd of similar style romance/action tales.

The premise was a good one. Ada von Hasenberg is the fifth of six children and has been on the run from her father/family for the last two years in order to escape an unwanted arranged marriage. Her family is one of the three High Houses that rule the Consortium. The Consortium rule in this far sci-fi future world with populated planets spread across the Galaxy! The story picks up as Ada gets captured by a group of mercenaries. She seeks the help of fellow prisoner Marcus Loch to escape from the mercenaries before either her own family of that of her potential husband (who is a member of a rival High House) show up! Marcus is a guy with a dark reputation as he is rumoured to have killed his entire chain of command during the Fornax Rebellion and the Consortium wants his head. The pair must work together to escape. This is a romance tale so it does not take a genius to figure out how this story played out from here lol.

I quite liked what we got in this story. I'm a fan of the sci-fi romance genre in general and feel it is a pity it is not so big as some of the other popular romance sub-genres. Polaris Rising had a good mix of romance, action, and intrigue. The two lead characters were pretty likeable so it was easy enough to root for them as people and as a potential couple. The romance was a tad run of the mill but I did not feel that hurt my enjoyment of the story. The sci-fi world itself was a fun one. The intrigues of the Consortium were quite interesting and added a fun extra dimension to the romance, action, and adventure. I quite enjoyed the whole corporate espionage story arc! As an added benefit this was a very readable tale as Jessie Mihalik's writing style was a direct and engaging one.

If the story had a flaw it was that the ending felt a tad rushed. Satisfactory but definitely a bit rushed. On the plus side this story did a good job of fleshing out a few of the secondary characters and making the world seem an interesting place in general so I'll definitely pick up the two sequels to see what Ada's sisters are up to! I'm sure a lot of the intrigue will continue in the sequels.

All in all this was a fun tale!

Rating: 3.5 stars. I'll round up to 4 stars as this was very readable.
Profile Image for Justine.
1,133 reviews309 followers
March 12, 2019
4.5 stars

This was lots of fun. As is usual for me I didn't read the summary all that carefully so I didn't appreciate in advance that this book is a romance with an SF setting. No matter, because I do love my SFR, and Polaris Rising is an especially good example of the sub-genre. Adequate worldbuilding, lots of action, and of course, sexy times.

Ada and Loch reminded me some of Elena and Clay from the werewolf books in Kelley Armstrong's Women of the Otherworld series - Bitten, Stolen, Broken, and Frostbitten - both as individual characters, and in terms of the way they view each other. Marcus is with Ada like Clay is with Elena; he is very loyal and protective but at the same time respects that his love interest is capable and can look after herself. Ada shares the qualities that I liked about Elena, being strong and self-reliant but also vulnerable without being weak. As a couple Ada and Marcus seemed like a good partnership.

I loved the side characters like Veronica and Rhys, who were nicely realized rather than just created as supporting props for Ada and Marcus, and who gave the story as a whole a nicely rounded feel. By the end of the book there are still lots of interesting possible story threads left that could be pursued in further installments. While I do want to read a follow up on those, I also appreciated how Polaris Rising stayed very focused. It avoided spreading itself too widely and turning itself into a set up book rather than a self-contained story.

If you are a fan of SFR or just want to add some romance to your usual SF diet, Polaris Rising is an excellent choice.
Profile Image for Rhode PVD.
2,342 reviews23 followers
February 8, 2019
DNFed at 15%. The universe it’s set in is as sexist as today’s world, right down to men being in charge, often preferring demure women and staring at their breasts. I don’t think LGBTQ people exist. And the hero, who is enormous and bulky with abs (hello stereotype) just told the heroine he likes her because she’s not like other girls.

As a woman who literally owns a t-shirt that says, “What’s wrong with other girls?” I couldn’t stand another page.

Nothing particularly creative about this as SF either.

[later] Picked it up for one last try... a chapter later the heroine is arguing because she wants to risk her life to go out to buy shampoo to wash her hair. Which we had a full scene of her washing two days before. There’s no special world-building reason to explain this. Am dumbfounded. Toss Kindle aside.
Profile Image for Veronique.
1,232 reviews169 followers
March 11, 2019
This SFR turned out to be a lot of fun :O)

A strong-willed princess, on the run from an arranged marriage, finds herself captured by bounty hunters. In an effort to escape, she joins forces with another prisoner, a monster of a man, if his reputation is correct, and by doing so, discovers something that could change the balance of power. What ensues is highly entertaining, with plenty of action scenes.

The narration follows Ada, who is not afraid to fight for what she believes and those she cares for. Loch is a bit more of a mystery, especially concerning his past. Both being headstrong, it is easy to see how they would interact. And yes, it is highly diverting. As for the world-building, it reminded me a lot of the one in Firefly for some reason, with the rich inhabiting the centre, while the outskirts of space are barely making do.

Mihalik doesn’t give us anything widely different, from the space gates and tech to the social order, but it all works nicely, and in a very entertaining way.
Profile Image for laurel [the suspected bibliophile].
1,420 reviews393 followers
March 21, 2019
Well this one was underwhelming.

I walked into this intrigued by the premise—space princess gets captured and makes a bargain with space outlaw and they eventually steal a space ship and go into space—but this is a standard romcom with all of the tropes of romancelandia and little of the charm, and reminds me why I am so leery of the genre when it doesn't involve an LGBTQIA+ element

I want to start off with—straight people, are you okay??

Blink twice if no.

Perhaps because I listened to the audiobook, the voices the narrator used annoyed the hell out of me. Ada's voice was all over the place—poised and confident, whiney, scared, terrified, lusty, unsure, etc. It mimicked her character of a woman who knew exactly what she wanted and was capable of her abilities...until the second Loch came into the picture and she had to become the little woman. Loch's voice was like his personality—low, bland and sounding bored. Reese's was...oh yikes. Nasal does not even begin to describe it. Everyone else was pretty much forgettable.

Like her voice, Ada's personality was all over the place. Perhaps this was because she was constantly pulling on her public persona, a phrase that was used no less than 1 million times. This is not an exaggeration. However, since her public persona differed very little from what she would or wouldn't say while not in her...public persona, it just made me more annoyed than anything. She did have a lot of personality, but whatever she had was wiped away whenever Loch was within 10 meters of her.

As for Loch. This dude exhibited toxic masculinity to a T. He's the biggest, baddest, strongest guy ever, who becomes weirdly possessive of and lusty for Ada without really any connection or conversation between them. Their chemistry felt very forced, particularly when I take no shit from no man Ada is on the receiving end of a very much assualty kiss and...just melts into it. And aside from his possessiveness towards Ada and his hotness for her, Locke had like, no personality beyond that. Sure, he's got a sob story of all sob stories and knows just about everyone in the 'verse, but dude has no personality. No quirks. No redeeming factors or conversation starters beyond sharing of his past or talking about how much he wants to fuck Ada. He's just an erection with muscles.

The two had a weird chemistry that manifested out of nowhere (seeing a naked dude in chains would inspire more pity/concern/fear from me than lust, but hey your kink's your kink I guess?), and little to no actual conversations to further their relationship. It went from 0 to 100 without anything in between.

To the sex, since really the plot didn't exactly matter. As soon as they get the ship you know pretty much where this story is going—onto D-town and then back, with some politicking and rotating captures and rescues to feel like "hard" sci-fi...pun intended.

I mean, I guess the sex was hot?

I haven't had hetero sex in...quite some time, so perhaps it's normal for dudes to thrust their tongues in and out of a gal's mouth like he's wielding a tongue-phallus? And dudes can stay hard enough after orgasming to keep their dingle-dangle inside their lady, pick her up (still inside her) and carry her over and lay her onto the bed (again, still inside, still post-cum hard).

I guess I was fucking the wrong dudes.

And while I'm glad that Ada was very much in tune with her own needs (home girl pleasured herself to get that extra bit of satisfaction....hells yes!), NSFW bits to follow

It felt unrealistic, but then again...hetero sex.

Who knows how it's done now?


Anywho, this was okay but not mind-blowing, and ultimately it just wasn't for me.
Profile Image for Luna Joya.
Author 17 books268 followers
October 2, 2019
This book is sooooo good. It’s a romance first and foremost. But the heroine is a kickass space princess on the run with the hots for a criminal...or is he?
Highly recommend!
Profile Image for Christa.
860 reviews66 followers
June 2, 2019
Enabler Alert - on sale $1.99 on 6/1/19

Earth was depleted of resources and humans went to space and settled on other planets/space stations. Three prominent Houses (families) have form the Consortium. I’ve been reading a lot of historical romance, so it makes me think of the Ton of Regency England, except with people that actually work and a lot more bloodshed. But backstabbing and passive aggressive insults never go out of style.

Ada von Fancyname (it’s in the description and yes, I’m too lazy to look it up) has been on the run from her family. She captured by bounty hunters and put in a locked cell with Loch. Loch is a dangerous prisoner, and while Ada doesn’t trust him, they become temporary allies to escape. While on the run, Ada discovers a conspiracy about another House and decides to investigate it.

I really liked the world building in this book. There are no infodumps, the setting is expounded as the plot progresses. The romance was very nice. There’s immediate attraction but no “my hormones have taken over and I’m going to make incredibly dumb decisions that are out of character”. I really liked Ada. She’s strong and capable, but she’s really likable. Also I liked the relationship between Ada and her siblings. Her parents pitted them against each other, but they are all close because of it.

This book wraps up Ada and Loch’s romance, and it looks like the series will continue with Ada’s sister in the next book.

This book will go over well with fans of Nightchaser. If you’re wanting a sci-fi romance with a strong heroine, give this book a try.
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