Review Detail

Young Adult Fiction 1166
A Deadly Heir
Overall rating 
 
3.7
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
3.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
An action-dense sci-fi full of politics and intrigue—with strong crossover appeal for fantasy fans, especially those who enjoy works along the same lines as The Queen Of The Tearling trilogy.

Set nearly two millennia into the future, the story is told in first-person past-tense entirely from the perspective of Hailimi Mecedes Jaya Bristol; a runaway “princess.” It starts out with high action, and the pacing never lets up for too long throughout the “headstrong, reluctant ruler” premise.

Twenty years ago, Hail fled her home planet—and all her royal responsibilities—to hunt her father’s killer. She never found the person responsible, but she did find a taste for the gun-runner life. So when the Indranan Empire hauls her back home, literally kicking and screaming, she’s in no mood to exchange her freedom for the leadership her people so desperately need. But not only can she no longer return to the life and name she’d made for herself, but someone is determined to prevent her from ascending to the throne she never wanted.

Disclaimer: This reader originally screened Behind The Throne for potential crossover appeal to a YA audience. While the tone and content are closer to New Adult, the belated coming-of-age aspects could potentially be appropriate for select mature YA readers. (Abundant strong but in-context language; casual sexual commentary, but no graphic depictions.)

What I Liked:

The Indranan Empire is a true matriarchy—complete with the open regard for males as the lesser of the two sexes. But it isn’t merely the novelty of a female-dominated society that held my attention, it was the plausibility of the way in which it came about. (When one sex proves significantly more prone to the sanity-destroying side effects of space travel, it makes sense that the more impervious half of the species would take over in the realm of judgment calls.) The issue of gender-based discrimination was handled with a subtle and believable keenness, ratcheting up the conflict in all the right places. The author could have easily gone heavy-handed in the reversal on the historical norm, but she didn’t.

Personally, this reader very much enjoyed the distinctly Indian aesthetic and cultural elements, along with the consistently personalized Hindu references. It's refreshing to see a book buck the religiously sterilized mainstream "norm" and add that extra layer of depth to the work. Hail’s character was made all the more convincible—and relatable—by the inclusion of spirituality into her inner struggle.

I also found the Tracker concept intriguing--however inefficient the idea of somehow bonding two militaristic hunters together so thoroughly that the death of one will make the other go insane. It was interesting to have it openly suggested that their close proximity and mental link would commonly result in a sexual relationship as well--regardless of their genders. I would have liked to see more clarification on this partnering process, but that is perhaps being reserved for future books.

What Didn’t Work For Me:

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to track especially well with the emotionally disconnected MC until well past the story’s middle. Initially it seemed like the idea of having killed the guy she was casually sleeping with gave Hail little or no regret. (Her only real attachment seemed to be to her ship, Sophie.) But as the story progressed, it began to sound more and more like she was actually attached to Portis. Attachment eventually progressed to marital-level love, upon ongoing reflection. This unfolded in a way that felt more like an afterthought than a realization.

As much as I like tough women, Hail fell more into the callous range than I generally find sympathetic in a heroine. The potential YA appeal here would be primarily in that Hail’s personal growth seems to have been stunted at the age she ran away from home. For the first half of the book she behaves more like an angst-addled 18-year-old than a 38-year-old. This stubborn immaturity does ease up, but this requires a good deal of patience on the part of readers.

While the plot may drive some readers more than the character arc—and enough questions are left to justify the need for a sequel—there wasn’t much by way of twists or surprises.

Minor Note: The two primary expletives (i.e. "Bugger me" and "Holy cowsh*t") felt somewhat overused, and did little to enhance the book’s futuristic setting.

On the whole, this is a solid debut with a great deal of potential. An advisable try for flexible fantasy enthusiasts or fans of lighter sci-fi.
Report this review Was this review helpful to you? 0 1

Comments

Already have an account? or Create an account
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Movies, mansions, and murder in the Golden Age of Hollywood!...
Kamala and Maya's Big Idea
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Meena Harris debuts with an empowering picture book about two...
Harvey Holds His Own (The Harvey Stories, #2)
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
The West Highland Terrier that brought Harvey Comes Home to...
Everything I Thought I Knew
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
A teenage girl wonders if she’s inherited more than just...
The Morning Flower (The Omte Origins, #2)
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
New York Times bestselling author Amanda Hocking returns to...
The Hunt
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
Death marked her from her very first breath. Being...
Swallowed by a Secret
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
One dead father. One lying mother. ...
Circus of the Dead Book One
 
5.0 (2)
 
0.0 (0)
There are many ways to die at the Circus...
Roaring
 
3.0
 
0.0 (0)
Colt Clemmons is an agent in a specialized division...
Court of Lions
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Court of Lions is the long-awaited second and final...
More Than Just a Pretty Face
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
For fans of Becky Albertalli and Jenny Han, a...
The Adventurers Guild: Night of Dangers
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
After the events at Llethanyl, city of the elves, Zed...
And Then I Turned into a Mermaid (And Then I Turned into a Mermaid, #1)
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
For fans of Emily Windsnap and Maybe A Mermaid, And...
After the Worst Thing Happens
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Left reeling after her thoughtless mistake causes a terrible accident,...
Hirana's War: Book Two in the Eloia Born Series
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Praise for Eloia Born “Loved it! A well-written narrative...
Hans Christian Andersen: The Journey of His Life
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
"If you like, I’ll tell you the story of a...

Latest Member Reviews

 
4.0
"WHAT I LOVED: We think of the glitz, glamorous mega-stars, and classic movies when we think of the Golden Age..."
The Night Country (The Hazel Wood #2)
 
4.0
"Alice Proserpine thought she was mostly back to “normal” life after breaking from her story in the Hinterland, but when..."
Everything I Thought I Knew
 
4.3
"What worked: Intriguing plot of Chloe, a seventeen-year-old super-achiever, who ends up collapsing during her senior year in high school..."
The Adventurers Guild: Night of Dangers
 
5.0
"THE ADVENTURERS GUILD: NIGHT OF DANGERS by Zack Loran Clark and Nick Eliopulos is the culmination of a Middle Grade..."
The Pros of Cons
 
4.0
"WHAT I LOVED: I genuinely can't imagine four different events happening simultaneously in the same complex, but it happens..."
BRB I'm Going to Disneyland
 
4.0
"'BRB: I'm Going to Disneyland' by Courtney Carbone is a cute, quick read. As a novel written in texts, emails,..."
He Must Like You
 
5.0
"'He Must Like You' by Danielle Younge-Ullman is an intensely provocative look at the various ways in which consent, upset,..."
How the Stars Came to Be
 
5.0
"Reviewed for YA Books Central Beautiful in every aspect. The book: This is a story about how the..."
Unscripted
 
5.0
"A book so real it can be u comfortable at times. The story: Zelda doesn’t have a..."
The Dark Tide
 
5.0
"THE DARK TIDE is an enthralling and atmospheric YA fantasy read. We follow Lina, a townsperson, and Eva, the witch..."
Where Dreams Descend
 
4.0
"What worked: Beautifully written tale where a girl performer breaks away from her cage and enters a competition of magicians..."
The Black Kids
 
5.0
"THE BLACK KIDS is a really poignant read that ties history to the present. Ashley is a senior in high..."
What Goes Up
 
3.3
"'What Goes Up' by Christine Heppermann is a quick read, as it is a novel-in-verse, a format that can be..."
They Wish They Were Us
 
4.3
"THEY WISH THEY WERE US is an engaging YA thriller reminiscent of GOSSIP GIRLS. The book follows Jill, who had..."
Roaring
 
3.0
"ROARING takes place in the 1920s- with a twist. Monsters, sirens, minotaurs, basilisks, and more, exist, and they are woven..."
More Than Just a Pretty Face
 
5.0
"MORE THAN JUST A PRETTY FACE is a fantastic YA contemporary romance that follows Danyal during his senior year of..."
You Say It First
 
3.3
"'You Say It First' is easily one of those books you will either love or hate. My feelings fell somewhere..."
Court of Lions (Mirage, #2)
 
5.0
"COURT OF LIONS finishes the MIRAGE duology with aplomb. This YA fantasy series takes us to another planet and the..."
The Unleashed: The Haunted, Book 2
 
4.0
"Creepy, suspenseful paranormal where some friends learn that a summoning might bring back something unexpected and evil. ..."
The Year of the Witching
 
5.0
"Immanuelle lives in the town of Bethel where the Prophet's word is law and the highest honor for a woman..."