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July 11, 2023

2 New Books for Fans of Young Adult Space Opera

by MK French

If you are in need of something new to read and love young adult space operas, then today is your lucky day. Two great new young adult space operas hit shelves today. 

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. Free books were provided for an honest review.

Stars, Hide Your Fires by Jessica Mary Best

book cover of young adult space opera Stars, Hide Your Fires by Jessica Mary Best
July 2023; Quirk Books; 978-1683693512
audio, ebook, print (304 pages); YA space opera

Cass is a pickpocket on a backwater moon that believes the emperor’s ball is her chance to steal a fortune for herself, her ailing father, and her scrappy crew of thieves and market vendors. Once there, however, she's set up for the emperor's murder. Now Cass must work with the rebel with her own reasons for being on the station. Together, they unravel a secret that could change the fate of the empire.

I loved seeing Cass in her element picking pockets, slipping jewelry and watches off the unsuspecting, and mimicking high class accents. As much as she doesn't think she wants much out of life, and that she's selfish, she loves her father and her crew fiercely. It's because of that love that she puts together a plan to get to the ball on the thinnest of hopes and makes it work. Once there, she charms the elite nobles and lesser royals and has pocketsful of jewels that could set her up for life, along with a dagger that's meant to be a twin of the murder weapon. The novel flows very quickly, with the action taking place mostly over a single evening: the announcement, hiding the jewels, discovering her recent acquaintance is part of the rebel group, teaming up to investigate, and discovering explosive secrets about the royal family.

It's a breakneck action story, with a smattering of romance for Cass. I raced through the novel, eager to know what was going to happen next. Cass was a great character to follow around the station, and through her we learn about the empire, the war, and what's at stake if certain men become heir to that empire. Several of the characters aren't who we thought they were, and Cass decides along the way that some things are bigger than a handful of jewels to sell. It's a gradual and natural progression, and I cheered once we got to the end.

Buy Stars, Hide Your Fires at Amazon

A Song of Salvation by Alechia Dow

book cover of young adult space opera A Song of Salvation by Alechia Dow
July 2023; Inkyard Press; 978-1335453723
audio, ebook, print (352 pages); YA space opera

The god Indigo had created the universe and united people across galaxies to banish Ozvios, the god of destruction. Zaira Citlali is Indigo reborn, but hadn't ever harnessed those powers. Because of her power, the Ilori Emperor will sacrifice her in Ozvios’s honor unless she finds Wesley, the boy prophesized to help her defeat Ozvios and the Ilori. Wesley Daniels is a smuggler so he can explore the stars. He didn't plan on being part of an intergalactic war or helping to unlock Zaira’s powers to save the universe from total destruction.

Though A Song of Salvation is set in the same universe as The Kindred, you don't have to have read that one in order to understand this one. It's just a fun shout out to see names from that book in this one and see how the story continues. In this one, Zaira is on the run, and when we meet ne'er-do-well Wesley, we assume it's going to be a sudden romance between teenagers. While they have intense emotions due to their ages and the desperate situation that they're in, the focus is more on the escape from the Ilori and the meaning of destiny. The Ilori had brought war to various worlds in the galaxy, and now many planets are finally stepping up to put a stop to it. They figure prominently in this plan because of the roles they play, not necessarily because they fix everything on their own.

I really like the message that it's connection that solves problems. People don't have to be perfect or have all the answers. Life is meant to be lived, and there doesn't always have to be a grand purpose. It helps, sure, but for most of us the whole point is to experience and connect, to have and live love.

Buy A Song of Salvation at Amazon

Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and a golden retriever.

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