Inherit the stars

Lately it feels like I’ve come across quite a few books that does'nt measure up to my standards. Tessa Elwood’s Inherit the stars promised a lot of amazingness but sadly didn’t reach its potential and thus falls into the category of Disappointing Books I've Read – which just seems to be growing by the day. I feel like this will be a review full of spoilers so if you’re interested in the book but don’t want to know too much about what’s going to happen, turn your gaze away. Otherwise, here’s why I didn’t like this novel:

Asa lives in a world divided by three Houses; Galton, Westlet and Fane. Asa herself is the youngest daughter of the House of Fane. These Houses are the center of their own worlds, something like a kingdom, but peace between them does not exist. After Asa’s mother betrayed Fane and moved to Galton thirteen years ago, Asa’s father put a lockdown on all of Fane to protect them, but after years pass it leads to starvation and lack of energy resources. In the attempt to fix this, Asa’s father decides to marry Asa’s older sister, Emmie, off to the heir of Westlet in a mutual bond of strength against Galton, threatening to invade and take over both Westlet and Fane. But Asa, thinking she can save her entire family, takes Emmie’s place in the marriage. This is only the beginning of the crumbling Houses, their survival depending on Asa.

This is what I’m promised when I begin the book. Something like royalty, an arranged marriage and a whole world leaning on Asa in the hope that she can save them all. What I got was a lot of politics, which mostly didn’t make sense at all, a childish, naïve protagonist and a mopey, quite male main character. Three worlds that did very well crashing their own futures well before Asa turned up to make things not much more interesting but certainly more crazy.

Asa is sixteen but often acts like she’s ten. She thinks that she can take her sister's place in the irrevocable blood bond marriage with the heir of Westlet without causing too much harm, never thinking further than her own nose in every decision she makes. Early in the book, her other sister, Wren, is critically injured and left in a coma. Asa does everything she can to save Wren but ultimately blames herself for her sister not waking up since it was Asa’s decision to leave a planet in full riot with the injured Wren in search for a qualified medic without finding one. The House of Westlet requires their son to be married with the heir to the House of Fane – which is Wren – but since she’s in a coma and not likely to wake but, Asa’s father decides to pull the plug on her, let Emmie take the place as heir and marry her off instead. Asa spends big portions of the book trying to save an unconscious Wren and most of her decisions is based on her sister, which is probably why she fucks up so many things. Asa, as the youngest, apparently never learned that sometimes you need to see past one person to save all the rest. As awful as that truth is, Asa manages to doom practically everyone in the book by her choice to take Emmie’s place in an attempt to save Wren from being unplugged.

I tried, I really tried to understand Asa but failed every time. She babbles all the time which I, unlike the heir of Westlet, does not find cute. She’s rash and keeps trying to fix things only to make them even worse. She’s too young and too immature and I’m probably way too old for both this book and this character but I’ve read books with sixteen year old protagonists before and Asa looks like a baby compared to them. She’s too much of a child and not strong enough to carry this story forward.

The book starts in the middle of a take-off from previously mentioned planet in a riot with Wren already unconscious in Asa’s arms. After that things slow down and six months passes before Asa hastily is married to the heir of Westlet, Eagle, and then I think the rest of the book spans out across around two weeks. The biggest action scenes came in the beginning, with the rest of the book mostly being about politics that wasn’t very well explained and seemed strange, and the love story evolving around Asa and Eagle. They go from being complete strangers to loving each other in no time, in between not spending too much time actually getting to know each other. Asa is very quick to get feelings for Eagle and he responds in kind in a relationship that felt so fake and so weak it would probably break if you blew some air at it. The story is told from Asa’s eyes so I knew her pretty well, but Eagle was surrounded by question marks. Their relationship didn’t feel real or believable and since that is a big part of what holds up the story, it wasn’t hard for the rest of the book to crumble.

Much like Asa, many characters seemed childish and naïve. The Lady of Westlet acted like a teenager and Asa’s mother quite the same. Asa’s father seems rather stupid for being the sole ruler of what I suspect is an entire galaxy (I’m still not too clear on exactly what the Houses are – just planets or a galaxy? Elwood wasn’t too forward with this information), showing not too much love for Asa. Lady Westlet talks about the importance of poise and power but most of the characters in the various Houses acted like children. Emmie, I feel, has potential, but Elwood constantly wrote her down and made her into something that was only described as 'power' and 'lipstick'. Both Asa’s father and Emmie seemed to lack emotion toward Wren, who was constantly about to be unplugged. No grown-up sets their foot down when things heats up and it feels like they’re just tiptoeing each other while Asa gets ready to fix things she doesn’t entirely understands.

I found no character good enough, all are weak and rather boring, not believable in any way. Eagle (what kind of name is that by the way?) didn’t say very much and made it extremely hard for me to get to know, which only got me more annoyed and bored with the story. No one was interesting and no one was strong enough to carry this story.

Elwood brought in a lot of new words and things without explaining them, leaving me to guess from the words and the few descriptions we get what the thing in question is, how it looks and what it’s used for. The world is full of technical things but I understood very little since it wasn’t explained and I was left confused many times. The politics, as well, like I mentioned before, was odd and pretty boring. On top of all of that, the writing in itself lacked so much. Descriptions, correct sentences, a way to pull me into the story… Instead of chapters Inherit the stars has different parts divided into smaller bits (parts that could’ve gotten more interesting names than “Blood” or “Loss”, by the way, which didn't feel very creative). Sometimes after ending one of these parts and starting a new one, things didn’t flow as smoothly as I expected and I was left raising my eyebrows while wondering about what the heck I was reading since it seemed like I had missed something. Turning back a few pages didn’t clear anything up and I had to accept that the story apparently skipped certain parts without telling me about it. Other times things just happened without the reader finding out how, like Asa suddenly having something but never saying how she acquired it, and I was left even more confused.

All in all, the best part of this book was the title and the cover. The actual content wasn’t good at all and I won’t recommend this to anyone. Too much unnecessary drama and far too little adequate writing. Save your money and buy a better sci-fi book because this didn’t hold up at all.