Book Review: At Star’s End by Anna Hackett

The time and place

The future, on various planets, spaceships, and nebulae. See the title.

The suspension of disbelief

Space travel exists. Long ago, people fled Earth after nuclear war, scattering its treasures and museum pieces everywhere. Those are now valuable. There are several humanoid races around, perhaps all descended from us.

The quick summary

Dr. Eos Rai, an astro-archaeologist at the Galactic Institute for Historical Preservation, is desperate to find Star’s End and a piece of the Mona Lisa. She can’t secure the Institute’s help, so she recruits a notorious band of treasure hunters, the Phoenix brothers. As they search, she gets involved with Dathan Phoenix, but to what end?

My squees

Eos is not a nitwit. She does not go into working with disreputable thieves with just a prayer. She already knows and trusts one of them because she used to work with him. Dathan finds her smarts super hot, and a woman who knows how to use her brain does not intimidate him.

The secondary characters are a lot of fun. The other Phoenix brothers are well defined and appealing, if susceptible to masculine idiocy (there’s a scene where they fight each other due to what I call testosterone poisoning). There’s also the treasure hunter Nera Darc, who I hope shows up again because she’s got just enough evil ninja badassery to keep the brothers on their toes. The sassy AI BE ll also kept me smiling.

There’s a cute Chekhov’s Gun moment that makes the market scene with the first kiss multipurpose. As I’ve been trying to plot a story, I mumble to myself, how do I make sure each scene is as relevant as possible to slim down the story? This scene is compact and accomplishes a lot.

My grumbles

The auction scene feels a bit contrived. Let’s make our heroine a damsel and need comforting later! Wait, what? I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to get out of it, the results of her ordeal would have happened organically without it.

Dathan and Eos are people I’d enjoy going on an adventure with, but not that complex compared to the secondary characters. Their motivations are similar and easily understood.

Read if you

  • Like tattooed bad-boy protagonists
  • Want your science fiction romance action-packed
  • Thought a lady could make a great Indiana Jones

Skip if you

  • Are tired of hearing about daddy/mommy issues
  • Have read about enough slave auctions and kidnapping
  • Prefer slow attraction and explorations of human emotions and relationships

Final thoughts

There’s considerable heat level in this short novel, both in sensuality and in action. I’m going to keep reading the Phoenix Adventures because I want to hear more about Zayn, Darc, and Niklas.

Author site:

Other resources: Goodreads / Amazon / Carina Press / Barnes and Noble

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