11 August 2016
Split the Sun
Series: Inherit the Stars #1
Rating: 2 / 5 stars
I received a free ARC of this novel from the publisher for an honest review.
In Split the Sun, the second and final novel in the Inherit the Stars series, we are introduced to a new leading character, Kit. It has been a while since I read the first novel, Inherit the Stars, so I cannot say with full confidence that this novel does not link back to the original in any way other than the universe, but for me Split the Sun did not trigger any recollections of the first novel.
My fundamental issue with Split the Sun is that I honestly can't really tell you what the plot was supposed to be. Elwood works on a handful of different subplots, but none of them take center stage to grab the reader's attention. If I had paid closer attention to the synopsis of the book, it alone would have given me this clue as even the summary seems to be a bit everywhere with no real focus. I have never done this type of review before, but here's the synopsis from Goodreads below with my comments thrown in.
The Ruling Lord of the House of Galton is dead (this does feel a bit like carry over from the first novel, as I seem to recall the characters in the first one causing all sorts of havoc. But again, I can't be certain), and the nation is in shock—or celebrating, depending on the district. Kit Franks would be more than happy to join him. (you mean 'them' right, not 'him'. Who is 'him'?)
Kit’s mother bombed the digital core of the House, killing several and upending the nation’s information structure (this feels like this should have been the core plot for the novel. Political intrigue laying the ground work for a great dystopian where the common man rises up against the totalitarian government bottle-necking and controlling all the dwindling resources in the solar system). No one wants the daughter of a terrorist. Kit lost her job, her aunt wants her evicted (this is a major subplot that takes a lot of focus away from whatever the main plot was supposed to be. Her relationship with her aunt and her cousin plays a heavy part in what is going on, as Kit inherited her grandmother's apartment upon her death, and her aunt and cousin has a big beef over that. Unfortunately, her annoying aunt and her drug addicted cousin don't add much interest to the story at all), her father is using her as a shield against a drug lord (her father follows the same story line as her aunt and cousin. She isn't close to him, he has some serious drug/gambling issues - I honestly don't even remember which it was - and causes all sorts of problems when he tries to crawl back into her life to mooch off of her. Again, it does nothing to grab the reader's attention. If anything, it was Elwood's attempt to make readers emphasize with Kit, but she handles everything so poorly with all the matters relating to her family that it's hard to sympathize with her), a group of political rebels need Kit to ignite an interplanetary war (I almost forgot this happened. Another example of the most interesting aspect of the novel being lost in the host of other issues that plague the story. Kit keeps getting kidnapped and drugged, but she's too busy worrying about her dead mom, her deadbeat family, and her love interest to really focus on what should be very disconcerting), and the boy two floors down keeps jacking up her suicide attempts—as if she has a life worth saving (a classic, cliched young adult love at first sight/instalove case for these two unfortunately. Their snarky banter had some potential but was wasted with everything else happening)
When Mom-the-terrorist starts showing up on feeds and causing planet-wide blackouts, everyone looks to Kit for an answer. The rebels want Mom on their side (mom who is alleged dead, by the way). The government needs to stop Mom’s digital virus from spreading before there’s no record of government left (this part wasn't entirely clear to me in the book even. I remember some hacking of video feeds and the like, but did not even realize it was a virus type issue until I got towards the very end). Both sides will do anything, destroy anyone, to make Kit crack. They believe she’s the key to Mom’s agenda and the House’s future. Worst of all, they may be right (this whole plot is so bogged down by poor planning that it's kind of hard to follow and loses most of its momentum to other plots going on in tandem).
Kit’s having dreams she can’t explain, remembering conversations that no longer seem innocent, understanding too much coded subtext in Mom’s universal feed messages. Everyone, from Mom to the rebels, has a vision of Kit’s fate—locked, sealed, and ready to roll. The question is, does Kit have a vision for herself (it seems like she wants to kill herself, which is a vision I guess)?
Tessa Elwood’s final book in the Inherit the Stars series introduces readers to a strong, unique heroine who must chart her own destiny against a minefield of family ambitions and political agendas (I do have to say again that I enjoyed Kit's snark. But I would not necessarily call her strong or unique. More like desperate not to lose her home and weak to her family and her nosy neighbor's cookies).