Jessie Mihalik returns to her science fiction romance series with Aurora Blazing, as a noblewoman with secrets plays cat-and-mouse with her family’s security advisor.
Bianca von Hasenberg is a woman with a lot to hide. Widowed under mysterious circumstances, Bianca fully leans into “mourning” her late husband, which grants her freedom from the strict Consortium courtly etiquette. Though she plays up the air-headed, materialistic royal role, Bianca has been cultivating a network of spies and complex digital connections for collecting intel. But her biggest secret is that she was her scientist husband’s guinea pig, and now has a modified mind and body that intercept communication signals from nearly everyone.
Security Director Ian Bishop is a no-nonsense man who is loyal to von Hasenberg family, though Bianca’s habit of sticking her nose into things where it doesn’t belong is often his biggest source of frustration. When Ferdinand, Bianca’s older brother, is kidnapped and Bianca is framed as a traitor, Ian is tasked with keeping her locked away. When she escapes, Ian chases Bianca across the galaxy as she searches for answers and Ian does his best to keep her out of harm’s way.
Sci-fi romance is a relatively small subgenre and Mihalik’s imaginative series about the bonds of family amid scheming power plays feels like a refreshing sip of water after a long drought. The romance is tense, as Bianca and Ian both prefer to ignore whatever feelings they share. And with an intergalactic conspiracy as a backdrop, there is no shortage of action to rival the sizzling banter between the main couple.
Bianca is an impressively strong heroine, given what she’s overcome both in childhood and marriage. The survivor she’s built herself to be is, well, totally badass. She doesn’t need a blaster or superb fighting skills to get out of a tough situation. Instead, Bianca relies on her many connections and useful knowledge to gain the upper hand. And for romance readers who prefer the strong, silent type, Ian Bishop ticks all of the boxes. His sense of honor and duty is everything to him, but when pesky things like love get in the way, Ian must finally address how far he’ll go for his employer and his mission. Aurora Blazing is a standout, memorable book that oozes crossover appeal.
Prefer action and adventure? One spaceship heist coming up! Find court intrigue and politics to be irresistible? Two ruling houses are at war, with a third desperately trying to remain neutral. Sucker for a happy ending? Well, it’s a romance, so there’s definitely that. Mihalik fills the void for every Star Wars fan who wished the franchise had more kissing.