Inherit the Stars by Tessa Elwood: A Proactive Protagonist & An Inactive Editor

Posted: July 15, 2016 in Book Review
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InheritTheStars

Premise:

Three royal houses ruling three interplanetary systems are on the brink of collapse, and they must either ally together or tear each other apart in order for their people to survive.

Of course Asa Fane, youngest daughter of House Fane, worries about the collapse of her royal house. But, she wonders, why does no one else spare a thought for the health of her beloved, comatose sister, Wren? Asa determines to save both her house and her sister—a determination that leads her to impersonate her older sister in a marriage party, run away from her new home in Westlet, and even change her own blood signature. Published December 8th 2015 by Running Press Kids.

What I Liked:

(1) The immediate, engaging style of the prose and the action immediately drew me in. (2) The grey-scaled politics of the interplanetary milieu produce a few good twists. (3) Asa’s constant proactivity makes her a fun protagonist to read about. She isn’t just born to into power; she grabs the power because she knows what’s important and is determined to fight for it. She forges the best solutions to problems that no one else seems willing or able to solve. She takes responsibility, instead of just letting her domineering father or Eagle, her arranged husband, make decisions for her. Along that line, (4) I like the friendship/romance between Asa and Eagle. Eagle respects Asa’s right to make her own decisions, and they make a great team, solving problems, causing trouble and learning to respect each other. They actually *gasp* COMMUNICATE! Not in an instaluv mind meld, but in a natural progression from enemies->allies->friends->sweethearts. It’s great. Best of all, their relationship arc involves very little “ya angst.”

The Problems:

Although there’s a lot to like about this ya sci-fi adventure debut, it also has some major issues. (1) The speedy pacing comes at the cost of description, setting and imagery. Without sufficient worldbuilding, the book almost feels more like a political thriller with slight sci-fi elements, instead of a sci-fi adventure. (2) The actual writing, while swift and utilitarian, could have used a good editor. There aren’t “typos,” per se, but the prose is choppy, voiceless, repetitive and, at times, disorienting. The author also overused sentence fragments. This is not what I expect from traditionally published fiction. The choppy flow caused some confusion, for me. Sometimes, the characters seemed to read each other’s minds and I couldn’t understand the “subtext.” Other times, I couldn’t tell the flow of time between scenes. (3) The Ending. Even though I kind of liked the twist at the end, I would have been frustrated with it, if I didn’t have the guarantee of a sequel in hand. It’s too vague and leaves too many loose ends [highlight to view spoiler: such as, “What happens with Asa’s mom? Is she lying about her absence from Fane or is Asa’s father lying?”]. I hope book II resolves my questions.

Overall:

A ya sci-fi with interesting politics and adventure, but only bare bones worldbuilding and style. I have the Netgalley eARC of book II, and I’m definitely going to read it because, like I said, this debut author shows promise in her quick pacing and sci-fi ideas. There’s so little genuine sci-fi or adventure in the romance- and dystopia-driven YA market—I just have to give the author a second chance.

Recommendation:

I definitely wouldn’t say, “Don’t read this.” It depends on your priorities. In fact, I think reluctant girl readers would devour this. (And I’m going to find out if that’s true, in my next teen library event, “speed dating books”! Inherit the Stars will be in the book pool.) The proactive female protagonist, the gorgeous cover, the immediacy of the writing style, the engaging first chapter, and the depth of the friendship/romance all recommend it to reluctant readers. I would have loved it, as a teen. Other genre fans may enjoy it as a quick, fun read; however, the long list of problems may understandably deter a wider audience. Hence only 2.5/5 stars. But we’ll see if book II improves!

2.5/5 STARS

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  1. […] Inherit the Stars by Tessa Elwood: A Proactive Protagonist & An Inactive Editor […]

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