Release Day Review: Aurora Blazing by Jessie Mihalik

Aurora Blazing by Jessie Mihalik (Consortium Rebellion #2)
Science Fiction Romance published by Harper Voyager on October 1, 2019

Aurora Blazing by Jessie Mihalik book coverTo save her brother and protect her family’s future, a powerful princess must join forces with a dashing man from her past in this thrilling space adventure, the second novel in the Consortium Rebellion trilogy.

As the dutiful daughter of High House von Hasenberg, Bianca set aside her personal feelings and agreed to a political match arranged by her family, only to end up trapped in a loveless, miserable marriage. When her husband unexpectedly dies, Bianca vows never to wed again. Newly independent, she secretly uses her wealth and influence to save other women stuck in dire circumstances. Information is power and Bianca has a network of allies and spies that would be the envy of the ’verse—if anyone knew about it.

When her family’s House is mysteriously attacked, Bianca’s oldest brother, the heir to House von Hasenberg, disappears. Fearful for her brother’s life, the headstrong Bianca defies her father and leaves Earth to save him. Ian Bishop, the director of House von Hasenberg security—and Bianca’s first love—is ordered to find and retrieve the rebellious woman.

Ian is the last man Bianca wants to see. To evade capture, she leads him on a merry chase across the universe. But when their paths finally collide, she knows she must persuade him to help her. Bianca will do anything to save her sibling, even if it means spending time alone on a small ship with the handsome, infuriating man who once broke her heart.

As the search takes them deep into rival House Rockhurst territory, Bianca must decide if she can trust Ian with the one piece of information that could destroy her completely . . .

Bianca and Ian! Bianca and Ian! I really liked Polaris Rising (Ada and Loch), first in the Consortium Rebellion series. I enjoyed Aurora Blazing even more! It’s fueling my current obsessive reading of science fiction romances/space operas. It’s a fast paced read. Once I started reading, I didn’t want to stop!

Aurora Blazing is told I think entirely from Bianca’s point of view. You find out pretty quickly Bianca is still dealing with things that happened to her during her marriage. She’s very skillful and found ways to use some of those things to her advantage and to help other people. She’s worked very hard to make sure people watching her don’t suspect there’s more behind the socialite/House Royalty façade, including (especially) Ian.

Bianca has to go on the run for reasons and as head of House security, Ian chases her. I feel like the romance was more obvious/on the page in Aurora Blazing than in Polaris Rising which is great. I believe it helps that the connection between Bianca and Ian was made clear when they were introduced in Polaris Rising. The chemistry and connection between Bianca and Ian was electric and had been building for years. But they had a lot of hurt, distrust, and pride to get past before they could be together. I admire Bianca’s bravery in giving Ian a chance to explain his actions and prove his trustworthiness even if it meant getting hurt again.

I enjoyed the parallels between Bianca and Ian—they’ve both had things done to them against their wills that they’re trying to use for good and help other people rather than wallow in the injustices done to them. Bianca messed up at times, made wrong decisions, overextended herself and her abilities. I like that she didn’t beat herself up too much but instead picked herself back up, came at the problem from a different direction, and moved on. She knew her worth and her value to her House and used it to get what she needed for herself and for the people she was helping.

Family and found family are important to this series. Family is important to Bianca and she’ll do pretty much anything for her siblings. Ian has his found family and loyalties. I get all the happy feels from stories with big family/found family elements and Aurora Blazing is among those stories for me. Add romance and action/adventure?! This is my kind of read! The next book in the series should be kind of the ultimate culmination of this—the main couple is one of Ian’s trusted compatriots and one of Bianca’s siblings!

This was a fabulous story for me. I think you could enjoy Aurora Blazing if you haven’t read Polaris Rising. There’s a little bit of Ada and Loch (from Polaris Rising) but their story isn’t integral to Aurora Blazing. If Aurora Blazing sounds good to you, I also recommend Chilling Effect by Valerie Valdes, Jessie Mihalik’s Rogue Queen series, and Nightchaser by Amanda Bouchet (book 2 comes out in April! And Nightchaser is currently only $2.96 for kindle!). For a little less romance but big found family vibes, The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers is awesome.

Grade: A-

You can read an excerpt here and buy a copy here.

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