Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Book review: Inherit the Stars by Tessa Elwood

Source: Review copy received from the publisher via Netgalley. You can purchase a copy of the book from Raru.co.za.

Publication date: 8 December 2015
Publisher: Running Press Kids

What a surprisingly fun, fierce and unique sci-fi debut novel from Tessa Elwood.

Featuring a heroine that is brave, plucky and filled with heart, Inherit the Stars is a novel filled with the trademarks that define an excellent YA sci-fi novel: explosive action, strong characters fighting to save the world and world-building, which while not fully developed, is nonetheless intriguing.

We’re introduced to Asa, our main protagonist, right in the middle of what seems to be a riot attack.

Hailing from one of three interplanetary systems (each with their own rulers and own set of rules), Asa is desperate to save the injured and unresponsive sister she shares a strong bond with.

What she ends up risking to save her sister’s life soon sees her making the biggest mistake of her life and upsetting the balance of a precarious and fragile alliance between two interplanetary houses – an alliance desperately needed to save both planets from collapse.

In what was supposed to be her sister’s marriage to Eagle, heir to the throne of house Westlet (Asa belongs to house Fane), Asa now finds herself not only married to a boy she’s never met, but also having to deal with the political and socioeconomic repercussions her actions have brought on both houses.

As if that’s not enough, house Galton, the third house, and the one that Asa’s own mother defected to, seems hell bent on their own plans – plans that involve Asa and plans that could mean a possible invasion.

There are so many things to love about this book, that I’m not even sure where to begin.  Yes, it’s by no means a perfect book – there were a lot of gaps and plot holes that could have been expanded and more fully developed – but the characters are so well-drawn, the story so engaging that I found myself actually being a lot more forgiving than I normally am when it comes to gaping areas in books.

Not only that, but full points for the diversity factor as the heroine’s love interest is a person of colour. So much yay for that.

 What I loved most though was the complicated politics that formed the backbone of the novel. Each house has different strengths, resources, leaders and system in place and the way it connects to the decision that characters – in this case Asa’s specifically – make, is what gives the story its tremendous strength. 

The romance between the characters is a slow burn that is a joy to read and will have you cheering for them all the way.

There are also a host of interesting side characters who I’m pretty sure will be playing a more important role in future books and who I’m certainly more keen to learn more about. 

I also hope that more about the blight and the history of the planetary system will feature at some point because Tessa has given us a glimpse of an interesting galaxy that’s well worth exploring, but more so if we knew more about it.

All in all, it’s a solid debut and one that sci-fi and fantasy lovers alike should definitely add to their list of books to read.

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