Thursday, 25 December 2014

Review: The Other Inheritance by Rebecca Jaycox

"I pretend things are normal and hide the truth from everyone. But they know."

There are many things that I could say about this novel, but there is something I would like to establish straight away: This novel surprised me. All through out the year of 2014, I unfortunately hadn't had the chance to read very many debut novels. The very few that I had read were lacking and had failed to fully capture my attention. When I began reading this novel though, I was pleasantly surprised by the pacing.

Rebecca Jaycox's writing style reminds me greatly of Cassandra Clare; a critically acclaimed and world-renowned storyteller. Her seamless narration was what urged me to continue flipping the pages of this book. As I read through this novel, I often found myself noting that not a single moment felt wasted. Each and every sentence pushed the story forward and the novel was all the more engaging for it. This was a light, enjoyable read with a surprising story line and well structured world building that does not leave readers confused. Mythology and lore is incorporated skillfully, as you read on, you begin to piece together the 3 intriguing realities that Rebecca Jaycox has set this novel in: The Dream, the Real and the Other. Often with fantasy novels, there will always be lulls in which I feel as if there has been too much information thrown at me at once, or that I have grown exhausted of certain aspects of the fantasy world. However, in this novel, I was able to stay completely engrossed for the entirety of the 309 pages. For me, The Other Inheritance was the definition of 'short and sweet.'

As this was a shorter novel, the romance did develop quickly. This, however, was not an issue for me as Rebecca Jaycox's writing style was able to draw me in; making the romance seem naturally developed, although the entirety of the interactions between Asher and Reggie before they became romantically involved spanned over only 150 pages. Still, this small amount of lead up was enough to make me believe that a relationship between the two of them was plausible. Truly a mark of a writer's craft if they are able to make their readers believe the next to impossible.

If I were to commend Rebecca Jaycox on nothing else, I would certainly have to congratulate the author on her respect for her world building. In the Other, issues such as slavery and cruel and unusual punishment are very prominent and are not sugar-coated. Rebecca Jaycox writes these heavier issues in, making them known instead of trying to cover them up to make for a more child-friendly story. It is this lack of euphemistic language that allowed me to become so engrossed in this world. These were real issues, they were affecting the lives of the main characters deeply and they could not be ignored. In fact, if not for this harsh realism, characters such as Asher would have been severely lacking in terms of a proper back story and emotional baggage. The truth of Asher's struggles were what made him such an interesting character, instead of a mere one-dimensional love interest of which seemed to be manufactured by the thousands in young adult novels today.

Characters such as Asher and Reggie; who are entertaining and lovable in their own right; are accompanied by a cast of entertaining side characters. Brwyn being my overall favourite of the bunch. Near the end of the novel, we are able to gain a more in-depth analysis of this character and if this book is turned into a series, I hope to see more of him. Brwyn really brought light to some of the darker and more serious scenes in this novel. The dialogue and interactions between these characters, making witty observations of their world left me grinning like an idiot at my book. Something I had so wished I was alone for. The only real fault I could find with this novel was that I felt, at the end, that I did not get a sufficient amount of time to spend in this world. 

A brilliant debut novel that left me aching for a sequel. However, if Rocking Horse Publishing can deliver narratives of this calibre, then I certainly wouldn't put it past them to deliver.

Overall Rating: 5/5 stars

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