Mihalik, Jessie. Polaris Rising. New York: Harper Voyager, 2019.
Paperback | $16.99 USD | ISBN-13: 978-0062802385 | 431 pages | Sci-Fi Romance
I picked up Polaris Rising with one of my genre goals in mind, to read more sci-fi (beyond Star Wars), and, seeing it raved about by some romance readers as a great cross-genre read, I was interested.
And when it comes to the sci-fi elements, Mihalik delivers. The book (and, it appears, the overall series) is set in an intriguing futuristic Earth, with a combination of high-tech and historic-feeling class systems. And the overall premise with the patriarchal society demanding an arranged marriage from its princess, and her fight back, is well-done.
Ada is a sympathetic heroine, and I like that, while she’s competent in the situation she’s in, with her resourcefulness. I could at least become inveted in her situation, even if I wanted so much more for her than what she got.
Which brings me to the romance…cringe. My initial problem is that the hero, Loch, is just the standard cardboard cut-out rogue, except you don’t get the sense he has much depth, because you don’t get his POV (not that I wanted it, if it was going to also be in first person). Not to mention, he “knows his way around a women’s undergarments,” but still gets possessive and jealous when Ada is interacting with someone she doesn’t even have romantic feelings for?
And the sex scenes? They lacked any real chemistry outside the bedroom, but this perfectly exemplifies why I sometimes can’t stand sex scenes, because they just further exacerbate the lack of chemistry and make me hate the character I already dislike even more.
But as I said before, the world politics seems interesting, and the best part for me was toward the end when she was reunited with her siblings, who, it seems, based on the blurb for the next one at least, will be protagonists of future books. That, along with what I heard about a slightly different dynamic for the second one romance wise, keep me interested in the series.
That said, I think fans of romantic sci-fi/sci-fi romance might enjoy this, as it’s gotten great reviews from romance readers, but people coming in from the sci-fi genre might have different expectations. Either way, if Mihalik figures out the right balance of sci-fi/romance elements in future books, I can see her doing well, as this book does have a lot of promise.