I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Capture the Sun by Jessie Mihalik
Series: Starlight's Shadow #3
Published by Harper Voyager on June 20, 2023
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Acclaimed author Jessie Mihalik returns with the thrilling conclusion to her Starlight’s Shadow trilogy. An intergalactic thief must join forces with the charming teleporter who stole her last job—and may now be her only hope for saving her former crew. As a recovery specialist, Lexi Bowen’s jobs typically require more trickery and thievery than honest work. Her former captain might not approve of her flexible morals, but stealing artifacts for rich assholes pays the bills, and Lexi’s had enough of war and death. The FHP left her to die once; she doesn’t plan to give them a chance to finish the job. Unfortunately, her latest contract takes her to Valovia itself—and right back into the orbit of Nilo Shoren, a Valovian teleporter who already cost her one payday and nearly stole her heart. Armored against his clever charm, Lexi plans to get in, get the job done, and get out. But when her former crew goes missing in Valovian space, Lexi will have to work with Nilo to figure out what happened—and stop it—before the galaxy’s two superpowers can use the disappearance as an excuse to return to war.
I am a big fan of this author, and this series. A very quick backstory is that this series is about a ragtag group of bounty hunters who work together with their enemies to retrieve a stolen thing which may or may not be a “thing,” find out they aren’t so different, they aren’t enemies, and that they do have a common enemy (this is book 1 Hunt the Stars -link to ebook). Then we see them working together and furthering the cause, learning to live with the aftermath of the war that made them enemies, and learning to trust once more (book 2 Eclipse the Moon -link to ebook)
This book is about Lexi and Nilo who from the first scene together in the firs book had some intense chemistry. But to Lexi, Nilo betrayed her. My favorite trope is that betrayal/ enemies to lovers type trope. I had high hopes for this book.
Lexi is a thief. Nilo is a warrior. His race has powers, telekinesis, teleportation, telepathy, healing…you get the idea. Well Nilo can teleport. The original meeting, the original betrayal, came when Lexi was taking a job, she and Nilo flirted, had a moment, and he stole the job right from under her nose. He’s spent two books trying to apologize, but Lexi isn’t just mad. She’s hurt. She doesn’t want to listen. She hardens her heart and stays pleasantly cordial. Until this book.
Lexi has come to a hotel on Nilo’s home planet, knowing the Sun Empress is looking for her (based on events from the last books), knowing that it’s dangerous, but also, really wanting the job. She’s just walked in to her hotel when she’s made. She’s walking quickly, reaching for a weapon, hoping to escape before the guards catch up to her, when it seems she’ll have to fight her way out. And in the second, Nilo ports in, grabs her, and ports out. He saves her butt, and she’s grumpy.
Nilo has been doing his own recon in this area, and he knew when Lexi got planetside. He knew she’d be a target, and he wants her safe…he knows she can take care of herself, but really, he wants to keep her safe. They make an uneasy truce, and it is super obvious that from the get-go Nilo is 100% all-in with Lexi. But Lexi is prickly, still hurt, and keeps her emotions out of all of her relationships at the best of times, let alone with Nilo. And she starts to realize that the reason she’s so angry about his betrayal is because she liked him. And she wasn’t really angry, just hurt. But Nilo is patient. And persistent. I love Nilo.
This book was a little different than the previous ones in the sense that the first half of this book really concentrates on the Lexi/Nilo relationship. The hiding out and forced proximity allows them to learn more about each other, to understand each other, and to let those sparks fly. And through it all, they’re plotting. Neither of them can contact Starlight’s Shadow, their friends’ ship. That means one of two things: their friends have been captured/killed, or they’re in hiding. But how do you hide a whole ship?
The second half of this book was the wild, zany, and harebrained ideas that ragtag teams in Space Operas are famous for. This author excels in that. At one point, Lexi is planning something crazy and it worries Nilo. He tells her she’s running into danger She smiles and reminds him that she is dangerous. I loved that!
I liked seeing everyone together. I enjoyed the battles, the outsmarting, the romance, and the learning to trust again. It’s a fabulous series, and a fantastic book. I’m not happy that this is the end, though I’d like to hold on to hope that there will be more stories to tell. There are some threads left untied, so maybe we’ll get to visit this universe again some day. For now, though, I love this series, and highly recommend both this series and this author.
***ARC provided by the publisher