After being violently apprehended by mercenaries, Ada von Hasenberg’s mind is already sorting through her options for escape as she’s dragged along spaceship corridors toward an uncertain end. As the fifth daughter of one of the vast Consortium’s most powerful Houses, she’s managed to survive for two years on the run from her fate as a political pawn destined for a strategic marriage. But even with the skills and resources she’s acquired as a fugitive among the stars, her father’s enormous bounty for her capture has finally brought Ada to heel.
In the dark confines of her captors’ brig, Ada finds her last chance to escape may be hanging in chains on the opposite wall. Notorious across the systems as the Devil of Fornax Zero, her cellmate Marcus Loch represents both certain danger and potential salvation. United by the knowledge that they each face a different kind of doom, they combine talents in a dangerous bid for freedom. Despite an instant physical attraction between them, Ada fears she’s hitching her getaway hopes on a killer, and Loch knows his escape might be complicated by the company of this tempting fugitive scion.
Sprinting from planet to planet on stolen transports as they scrabble for resources and allies, Ada and Loch accidentally discover technology that rival Houses would kill to possess. The pair’s path to freedom evolves as they struggle to unravel the tech’s mysteries before the Consortium erupts into war. In their quest for answers, the revelation of a shared enemy in their pursuer binds Ada and Loch closer. But the vast difference between their individual motives may send their smoldering romance up in flames.
An independent woman with powerful self-knowledge, Ada’s story is free of “rescued princess” tropes that can diminish a space opera. In a refreshing turn, Mihalik doesn’t compromise the action with a constant sexual undercurrent, but rather allows Ada and Loch to revel together in singular moments that perfectly punctuate the novel’s high energy pacing. The erotic elements are written with an economy that lets sex be sex, without an excess of emotional angst or contrived foreplay. The romance is raw, spare and more powerful for it.
Along with her remarkable world building, Mihalik introduces rich supporting characters that are deftly drawn into both the running battles as well as the layered political intrigue. With Ada and Loch’s future unclear and the fate of worlds hanging in the balance, Polaris Rising sets a magnificent stage for Mihalik’s next installment in the Consortium Rebellion trilogy.