Amid Stars and Darkness by Chani Lynn Feener

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Title: Amid Stars and Darkness (The Xenith Trilogy #1)
Author: Chani Lynn Feener
Release Date: July 18, 2017
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Pages: 368
Source: ARC provided by Raincoast Books
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Overall: 4 STARS

A high-stakes space opera that combines science fiction and romance, this debut novel features plenty of action and a heroine whose unique brand of humor and tenacity make her easy to root for. 

Delaney’s entire world is thrown into chaos after she is mistaken for Lissa Olena, an alien princess hiding out on earth in order to escape an arranged marriage. Kidnapped by the princess’ head bodyguard, Ruckus, and imprisoned in an alien palace, Delaney is forced to impersonate the princess until Olena can be found. If she fails, it will lead to an alien war and the eventual enslavement of the entire human race.

No pressure or anything.

Factor in Trystan—the princess’ terrifying betrothed who is intent on unraveling all her secrets—and her own growing feelings for Ruckus, and Delaney is in way over her head.

Chosen by readers like you for Macmillan's young adult imprint Swoon Reads, Chani Lynn Feener’s debut novel Amid Stars and Darkness is a thrilling space adventure complete with perfectly detailed alien planets and a super sexy secret romance.

When Delaney is mistaken for Lissa Olena, an alien princess from Xenith who'd been hiding on earth to avoid an arranged marriage, her life is completely thrown into disarray. Delaney has never been interested in aliens, even when the Vakar and Kints made their existence known to humanity three years ago. Taken off-world by Olena's head bodyguard, Ruckus, now Delaney is stuck on Xenith for the foreseeable future, forced to impersonate Olena until the errant princess can be found and fulfill her duty.

But not everyone supports the impending royal marriage uniting the Vakar and Kint people, which will seal a peace treaty and prevent war from recurring, also ensuring the safety of Earth. There's a conspiracy at work to kill the princess before she can wed Zane Trystan, the prince of the Kint. Delaney must survive assassination attempts, tread carefully around an unwanted betrothed, and learn an entirely different culture without giving herself away as a normal human.

I loved Delaney's tenacity, bravery, and sensibility. She had her moment to cry and despair about being held on Xenith against her will, and then she found the courage to pull herself together, realizing the importance of pretending to be Olena. And if she had to be an alien princess, then she'd do it on her own terms. She could never act really bratty and spoiled like the true Olena. I really liked that she made the best of the situation, and didn't go running off into danger like some heroines might have done.

Ruckus was a loyal and trustworthy bodyguard, exactly the kind of person Delaney needed by her side when she was all alone on an unfamiliar world. He became her closest friend and confidante, sharing her fears and secrets to him the more time passed in the palace. It's easy to see why Delaney slowly found herself falling for Ruckus, even though he'd mistakenly brought her to Xenith in the first place. Yet Ruckus didn't inspire the same passion in me, probably because I was too busy shipping Delaney and Trystan together instead.

I'm definitely Team Trystan. Sorry, Ruckus. I just found myself drawn to Trystan immediately. His cold demeanor and commanding presence inspired fear, yet his actions never implied he was a cruel person. Early on, Ruckus warns Delaney to keep her distance from Trystan, that the Kints would love to take over Earth, but I'm still not ready to blindly trust that opinion. After all, the Vakar and Kints have never gotten along, so Ruckus's words could've been prejudiced. Trystan always protected Delaney when it counted, and was naturally curious (and suspicious) about the fiancee he was being forced to wed too.

Chani Lynn Feener's Amid Stars and Darkness is a fun, thrilling light science fiction romance! It was such an entertaining and addictive read, more than satisfying all my expectations. I only wish the book went into greater detail about the differences between the Vakar and the Kints, rather than just saying the Kints were essentially the bad guys. The world-building was a little vague in that area, but that's something that can be expanded upon in the sequel.

And I definitely need the next book! RIGHT NOW. I wasn't ready for Amid Stars and Darkness to come to an end, especially not after that epilogue left us hanging there! I absolutely can't wait to find out what happens next. I'm hoping there's even more danger and intrigue and alien drama. And more Trystan, of course!

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  1. Ahh I regret not requesting this on Netgalley! It sounds phenomenal! The main character sounds like a breath of fresh air, and I love sci/fi. Plus, a good love triangle doesn't hurt every now and again. :) Just added this to my TBR! You convinced me!