Series: Starlight's Shadow, #2, #2
Published by Harper Voyager on 12th July 2022
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Kee Ildez has been many things: hacker, soldier, bounty hunter. She never expected to be a hero, but when a shadowy group of traitors starts trying to goad the galaxy’s two superpowers into instigating an interstellar war, Kee throws herself into the search to find out who is responsible—and stop them.
Digging up hidden information is her job, so hunting traitors should be a piece of cake, but the primary suspect spent years in the military, and someone powerful is still covering his tracks. Disrupting their plans will require the help of her entire team, including Varro Runkow, a Valovian weapons expert who makes her pulse race.
Quiet, grumpy, and incredibly handsome, Varro watches her with hot eyes but ignores all of her flirting, so Kee silently vows to keep her feelings strictly platonic. But that vow will be put to the test when she and Varro are forced to leave the safety of their ship and venture into enemy territory alone.
Cut off from the rest of their team, they must figure out how to work together—and fast—because a single misstep will cost thousands of lives.
Jessie Mihalik wastes no time in getting straight to the heart of the story here: world-building set-up done and dusted in the first book, so there’s the expectation that you do know what has gone on before (whether you’re a new reader or one who’s trying to dust off the cobwebs of the last few months) as we settle into an uneasy time of political shenanigans and so-called peace between several factions.
Having a crew of humans and Valovians makes for pretty interesting reading and like the first book, ‘Eclipse the Moon’ narrows it down considerably to the pairing of Kee Ildez and Varro Runkow—both had an uneasy tension in the first book—and their rocky journey takes a number of twists and turns, and a whole lot of push-pull up until pretty much the end of the whole book.
There’re several good tension-building bits between Varro/Kee and moments when they admit they do want each other but are restrained by something else or other for reasons I thought unnecessary since they felt like moments deliberately drawn out just for the sake of it.
I also got lost quite a few times however, due to the technicality of the writing and consequently skimmed the whole load of computer things that Kee did (and over-explained in the story), which certainly wasn’t helped by the entire story written only in her POV. Unfortunately, Varro remained quite the mysterious figure, with his motivations and emotions seemingly overridden behind Kee’s own assumptions and feelings; it was perhaps this that made ‘Eclipse the Moon’ a little too lopsided for my liking when there was so much of Kee upclose and so much of Varro only from a narrative distance.
‘Eclipse the Moon’ was one that I’d looked forward to a fair bit honestly and that it didn’t quite live up to expectations was a bit of a deflating experience. I’m a little leery of the next one in the series after this one however; it’d be interesting to see where it goes but I’m probably just crossing my fingers for now.