Review: Aurora Blazing by Jessie Mihalik
Series: Consortium Rebellion #2
Also by this author: Polaris Rising
Published by Harper Voyager on October 1, 2019
Also in this series: Polaris Rising
Bianca von Hasenberg did her duty for High House von Hasenberg and ended up trapped in a terrible marriage. When her husband dies unexpectedly and leaves her a happy widow, she vows never to marry again. Instead, she uses her connections to save other young women. Information is power and Bianca has a network that would be the envy of the ’verse—if anyone knew about it.
After an attack, Bianca’s oldest brother, the House von Hasenberg heir, disappears from Earth without a trace. Determined to find him, Bianca leaves against orders. When she refuses to return, her father sends Ian Bishop, the director of House von Hasenberg security, to haul her home like a recalcitrant child.
Bianca leads Ian on a merry chase across the universe, but when their paths finally collide, she persuades him that they would be far more successful at finding her brother if they worked together. She 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 clues lead 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. . .
Aurora Blazing was another intergalactic adventure with a strong female protagonist, Bianca, who is mastermind hacker with some serious computing skills. Another girl after my own heart like her sister, Ada from Polaris Rising, but in different ways. I mentioned her tech skills, but her strengths definitely don’t end there. She finds ways to gain an advantage by knowing as much as she can, and as many secrets as she can gather and hold on to until she finds an advantageous way to use them.
Aurora Blazing is the second in a trilogy but follows a different set of characters from the first book. For those that missed the first one, I think this book probably could be read out of order as the main storyline will work independent of the first book. However, I would highly recommend reading Polaris Rising before this. There are secondary characters in this book that were main characters in the first book (and the characters in this one were secondary in the first), so there are spoilers for the first book if you read them out of order. Plus, even though I did enjoy this one, I think I enjoyed Polaris Rising a bit more.
Bianca was in an unhappy arranged marriage, but with the passing of her husband, she found herself in a good position where she no longer had to worry about “pleasing” men. She paid her dues to her father with the political ties from the marriage he arranged, and with her miserable husband gone, she could live life for her and do the things she wanted to do. One of her top priorities was quietly helping other young women out of difficult situations. She was helping others find happiness when she could. Anything that empowers women to stand on their own, or take some control in their lives is a good thing to me, so I enjoyed seeing this aspect of her personality. Of course, nothing comes absolutely for free. She manages to use these relationships with the girls she helps to her own advantage as well, as she cunningly sets up a network of informants.
The main plot of this book is when Bianca’s brother, the heir, disappears and Bianca sets out on a mission to find him despite orders from her father to stay put. So, their father sends his head of security, Ian, after her. I am starting to get curious what their father does when not trying to force his daughters home (as the first book was also about bringing Ada home, though in that case it was to show up for an arranged marriage she was set against entering).
Here’s where the romance enters, between Ian and Bianca. I have to admit, the romance between these two did not work as well for me as the romance in Polaris Rising. I think because Ian and Bianca have some personal history, there was just something about it that felt more rushed. I know, that’s silly. They’ve known each other longer, but because of that I felt like the hate him/love him hot/cold reactions seemed a bit more superficial and forced. While overall the romance worked for me, it just had moments here and there that really didn’t. But I can deal with a few moments that don’t work, so I still found myself rooting for them. I think the romance may have been a bit less than the one in Polaris Rising as well, which was probably a good thing since I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as the first.
Overall this was enjoyable read, with a strong female protagonist and some intergalactic excitement. If you enjoy romance with your books, then I would recommend the series, starting with Polaris Rising.