21 February 2016

Inherit the Stars

Author: Tessa Elwood
Rating: 2.5 / 5 stars
Verdict: Borrow

The first half of this novel, I'm not impressed with much at all.  The second half, however, actually grows on me a little.  While I have some serious qualms with the plot - take, for instance, the fact that the one story arc I actually care about, Wren, isn't resolved to my liking - there is a fair amount of fast paced excitement in the latter section of this novel.  There is even one scene that is so visceral and well written that it had me cringing so hard I could barely make out the words through my eyelids.

I will even admit, the story between Asa and Eagle even grows on me there in the final pages of the novel.  In the beginning, it feels like just another played out young adult romance of two people thrown together who perhaps resent each other a bit for it.  And honestly, for the vast majority of the novel, I cannot care less about the relationship between them.  But they band together when it is needed, and Elwood does a good job of making their progression together seem viable.  There isn't one precise moment where she just flips the switch between them from hate to love or vice versa.  It's seems to develop naturally based on the circumstances surrounding them.

Unfortunately, the plot it is a bit of a jumbled mess.  In the beginning, Elwood throws you right into the thick of things.  In well-developed cases, I almost prefer this method of storytelling, as it keeps me invested while I try to piece together the different aspects of the world.  The worst thing an author can do in info dump all at the beginning.  Inherit the Stars, however, never pulls all the pieces together enough.  I'm still confused about how the House system works, especially since it seems different in each solar system.  I am also still completely lost on the aspect of bloodchips/the medchips in general.  How they work, why they were created, who gets to have them and why.  The whole thing is just a puzzled mess in my head.  Also, the Blight.  A vague mentioning on Asa's behalf seems to indicate what caused it, but if I read into that correctly, it seems crazy it could have been the whole cause.

Then there are all the different twists and turns this story takes.  It starts off being about how Asa is trying to save her sister Wren, who is unconscious, and Asa blames herself for that.  This initial plot point I actually really like.  And yet, it's thrown onto the back burner almost immediately.  Thinking it is the only way to save Wren's life (AKA to stop her family from pulling the plug on Wren's life support), Asa sneakily takes her sister's place in a blood bond to another House, a relationship that was set up to help aid one system that needs fuel and another that needs food.  The plot really seems to fall off the rails here, and it just gets further and further away from the original point that grasped me in the first place.

And Asa's character herself.  I cannot count how many times she says 'I am Fane' and Fane do not cry, etc. etc. etc.  And yet, for a good portion of the novel, she cannot seem to quit bursting into tears.  It really grates on my nerves, and starts me off on a bad foot with her character.  She's never really able to recuperate after that in my mind.

While Elwood makes descent strides towards the end of the novel to pick it up by its bootstraps, I don't think she quite accomplishes it.  Though the ending is unexpected but also rather fitting and has me smiling a half grin, I still don't think Elwood quite manages to pull this one off.

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