The first SF novel from fantasy author Drayden (Temper) has high ambitions but is cramped and confusing. Centuries after humans abandoned the ravaged Earth to create colonies inside enormous starfaring beasts, teenage matriarch-in-training Seske emerges from stasis to discover the beast her people have chosen to inhabit may not be the safe harbor they’d hoped for. As her increasingly frail mother, Matris, pressures Seske to become the leader their imperiled people need, Seske buckles beneath the burdens of expectation and the price of being Matris’s sole legitimate heir. Her cunning sister, left illegitimate and nameless by their society’s draconian kinship rules, challenges Seske’s claim to the throne at every turn, while Adalla, Seske’s forbidden love, faces a cruel, demanding destiny as a beastworker who will toil all her life to keep the beast alive for those living in it. When Matris falls deathly ill, Seske is thrust into the role of matriarch and protector, ready or not. Complicated subplots (monsters, revolution, love triangles) compete with the main characters and their primary relationships; in the end, all are underdeveloped. Inconsistent characterization and confounding worldbuilding significantly limit the appeal of this disappointing novel. Agent: Jennifer Jackson, Donald Maass Literary. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 06/17/2019 Release date: 10/01/2019 Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror
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