Series: Endeavor, #2
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca on 28th April 2020
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THEY NEVER WANTED TO BE HEROES
Captain Tess Bailey and Shade Ganavan are still the galaxy's Most Wanted, and with revolution in the wind and the universe on the brink of catastrophic war, the situation couldn't be more desperate. Despite the Dark Watch scouring the known sectors for them, rebel leaders have handed the crew of the Endeavor a delicate and dangerous mission: break into Starbase 12 and free renowned scientist Reena Ahern. She's the only one who stands a chance of tipping the odds in their favor for the first time in decades.
BUT PULLING OFF THE IMPOSSIBLE IS WHAT THEY DO BEST
The clock is ticking. But as their attraction builds and secrets are revealed, Tess and Shade must decide if they trust each other enough to execute this impossible prison break. They could change the course of history, but they'll be risking everything... They'll just have to tackle one crisis at a time
Tess Bailey and Shade Ganavan—fresh off their reunion post-betrayal in the first book—have large bounties on their heads; the latter is facing a new life and the prospect of being a rebel and the ‘wrong’ side of the galactic law so to speak. There’re multiple shades of Star Wars in here, but it’s one that ‘Starbreaker’ plunges us into: a rolling journey of ups and downs, unexpected fire-fights, close escapes and world-turning events.
The hardest part of reading a second installment that comes years after the first is that I barely could remember (even though I distinctly remember liking Amanda Bouchet’s breadth of imagination) the teeny-weenie details of the plot and the who’s who save for the main characters. There, I said it. But ‘Starbreaker’ does an admirable job to rebuild that singular universe in the course of a few chapters and again, throughout the book to lay out where the battle lines are drawn. It’s not a standalone by any means, and those going in blind without having read the first book would probably have quite a miserable time doing endless catch up in Bouchet’s extensive world-building.
Still, Bouchet excels in handling the sheer number of characters that come and go throughout the book without losing its grounding protagonists to the overall action—and if this isn’t enough to impress, I don’t know what else will. Tess/Shade become the heart and soul of the story—their alternating POVs throughout seem to cement authorial intention—and it’s their deepening relationship that Bouchet keeps building on.
There were admittedly parts of Tess I couldn’t quite get on board with – her selective pettiness when it came to Shade’s past and weaponising it against him – with Shade constantly feeling like he had an upward journey to make to constantly get back into people’s good graces did somewhat overshadow the story’s brilliance.
The details are impossible to get into this far into the overall arc, but there’s the ebb and the flow of action, some interpersonal conflicts that mirror a huge galactic struggle, some astounding revelations that clearly do not have their loose ends tied up, because the adventure goes on. It’s deeply absorbing and entirely enthralling—Bouchet has a thrilling thing going on here, and I for one, can’t wait for more.