Cira Antares is deeply loyal to two things: Pax Novis—the cargo ship captained by her mother that transports supplies across war-torn star systems—and her personal mission to save war orphans. But hiding them as stowaways on the ship is illegal, and if any of them were found, not even her mother could protect Cira from the consequences.
She has successfully kept her secret…until supplies start to go missing. Food. Clothing. Tools. All signs point to her stowaways, but they wouldn’t do anything to risk exposing themselves—or her. Especially not Riston, the oldest of the group and someone Cira has grown close to. Someone she might even be falling in love with…
And petty thefts are only the beginning—whole ships are disappearing now.
Not caught in a firefight. Not destroyed by another planet. Vanishing. Without a trace.
And Pax Novis is next.
Ships missing in space? Stowaways? Yes, please. And that cover? A must read.
With a third gender pronoun set created by the author and incorporated into the story and several LGBTQ characters, the representation is outstanding. Admittedly, I stumbled over the new terminology (ze, zem, zir) early in the book, but before long, I barely noticed it.
The world-building is captivating. In the midst of war, I loved the idea of a fleet of ships delivering supplies to those in need. Characterization is also strong with both main and supporting characters. Riston and Cira both have enormous compassion for the war orphans and big hearts that sometimes cloud their judgement. And those stowaway war orphans? The chosen family they create with Riston and the small amount of security they feel on Pax Novis after enduring such horrific circumstances in their short lives is sweet and moving. You’ll feel like they’re part of your own family by the end of the book.
Pacing is somewhat sluggish until around the 40% mark, but then it rarely slows. My heart was racing along with the characters’ during the last 20% or so. The next book is absolutely going on my TBR.
If you’re looking for a thrilling sci-fi mystery with wonderful representation and scenes guaranteed get your pulse racing, Pax Novis checks all those boxes.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
*I’m traveling and won’t be able to get to comments until tomorrow afternoon.*