Reviews by Riley and KJ Van Houten
Two (count ’em), two reviews in this post. Veronica Scott’s Danger in the Stars is a popular book today!
Miriell, a powerful empathic priestess, has been kidnapped from her own primitive planet along with a number of her people, and sold to the evil Amarotu Combine, largest organized crime syndicate in the Sectors. When she and her handler are sent to use her power to commit an assassination, she must leave behind her own sister as hostage to ensure her compliance. Miriell cannot ask for aid without endangering herself and others.
Despite his best efforts, Combine enforcer Conor Stewart is entranced by Miriell, and helps her evade the worst of brutal treatment from the rest of the mob. But Conor must keep his distance, before the lovely empath learns that he has secrets of his own–secrets that could get them both killed.
The situation becomes dire when Conor and Miriell come to the attention of both the Combine overlords and the deadly Mawreg, aliens who threaten the Sectors. Can she save herself and the Mawreg’s next victims? And will Conor help her, or remain loyal to his evil bosses?
5-Star Review: Danger in the Stars
by KJ Van Houten
I’ve had nearly six weeks of long working hours and rushed deadlines, so there hasn’t been much time for reading, much less writing reviews, so it’s been an extra special treat to sit down with another Veronica Scott novel! In case it isn’t obvious, her Sectors series is one of my favourites to read, listen to, then reread and relisten to again! Alas, no audiobook for Danger in the Stars is out yet or I’d be going through this story a second time before writing this review!
The story starts out as Miriell, our heroine, is just coming out of a cryo-sleep. She is a Tulavarran, a race with special psy abilities that enable her to assess the minds of others to get a sense of their thoughts, desires, and intentions. She is the property of the Amarotu Combine, a large galactic Mafia-style mob. Miriell has been hired out to provide her services to Lady Opherra, a high-level Combine crime boss. Miriell and her handler are taken in by Conor, Lady Opherra’s bodyguard. Miriell doesn’t understand why Conor’s presence soothes her, given his job within the Combine pits them against each other. And worse, her attempts to read him psychically yield intense mental shields, hiding his secrets, but with a confusing hint of something else, a special warrior’s fire that belies his involvement with the Combine.
Miriell uses her abilities at Lady Opherra’s request as best as she can, although Opherra remains unconvinced that the services are worth the trouble of Miriell and her handler. After the death (deserved) of Miriell’s handler brings her more fully under Conor’s control, the two find themselves drawn more and more to each other, despite the futility of their situation. There is a deadly explosion at the restaurant they are attending, forcing Miriell and Conor to go on the run, although they eventually make their way back to Lady Opherra. The time on the run does allow Miriell the chance to uncover some of Conor’s secret, bringing them even closer, and admitting their growing feelings for one another. Until their lives are thrown into chaos again when they discover Lady Opherra is playing a deadly game of her own, pushing her own agenda to gain more power within the Combine.
I don’t want to give away more spoilers than I have already, so without more detail, I’ll just say that the story continues, revealing just how deadly Opherra’s game is, and bringing Miriell and Conor into the orbit of some of the deadliest enemies of the Sectors. More deadly action, an intense showdown, lives hanging in the balance, finding unexpected allies, discovering true love, and reuniting with loved ones thought lost, just makes the story better as it goes on.
As always, Veronica Scott has woven yet another fun and amazing tale of romance, with lots of action, drama, and interesting twists along the way. Just when you think the story might be over, you find a new thread that carries it further – not in a way to change or convolute the story, but rather to enhance it and show you more depth of plot and characters.
While all novels in the Sectors series can be read as standalones, I recommend reading them all to gain a better sense of the enormity of the overall story. Danger in the Stars brings up people and alien races that recur throughout the Sectors series, and the story is richer for having known about those already. In addition, this story is directly tied in to the novella Star Cruise: Stowaway that was part of the Pets in Space anthology that was released last year.
Review of Danger in the Stars
The decision to read Danger in the Stars was a no-brainer for me after having read Veronica Scott’s Star Cruise: Stowaway in the Pets in Space Anthology. Danger in the Stars, the follow up to Stowaway, continues to develop that crime syndicate known as the Combine, their collaboration with the Shemdylann, and their use of slaves. Specifically, slaves with psychic powers like Miriell, priestess of Thuun.
Miriell is an empath. She also seems to have a bit of a telpathic ablity, being able to sense not only emotions, but also intent. Miriell has the added ability to put thoughts into a person’s mind. And more. This makes Miriell much more dangerous than her captors believe her to be. And at the same time, very interesting.
At first glance, Conor is a thug. Second-in-command to a Combine leader, so, a bad guy. But there is more to him than meets the eye (or there would not be much of a story). It is difficult to say too much more about Conor without spoilers, so just know Conor is a character worth getting to know – good or bad.
The first part of Danger in the Stars is about the slave, Miriell, trying to prove herself to Conor’s boss Lady Opherra. The proof Opherra is looking for requires Miriell to do terrible things. The proving process runs concurently with the process in which Miriell and Conor become better acquainted, even if they both have secrets that make it hard to trust one another. The bad guy and the heroine make a most interesting combination that have more in common than they realize.
And then, things start to get ugly. Opherra’s ambition takes them all to a place where the danger increases exponentially. As if a large crime syndicate wasn’t enough. As the stakes got higher, the intensity of the story increased and kept me reading late into the night to finish the book.
I’ve read a few other books in Veronica Scott’s Sectors SF Romance series. There are many common threads, but the one that most intrigues me is the elder race – the Mellureans. Each Sectors story offers just a bit of interesting info about them. Danger in the Stars has a Mellurean character in it that plays a bigger role than I’ve seen of the Mellureans so far. But still, there is more that is not know about the Mellurean’s than is known. Which keeps them in that intriguing category.
I recommend Danger in the Stars for sci fi exploits and intrigue, exotic locations, romance and redemption. Once again, Veronica Scott has delivered a 5-star adventure!
The author provided a copy of her book so that I could bring you this honest review.
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