Astrea, a sixteen year old female, has been chosen to be the next leader of the city of Asphodel after she was born on the Spring equinox, the first in one hundred years. Unfortunately she doesn’t believe that she is the chosen one, just the one who was unfortunate enough to be born on that day. And then there is Lexan, born on the Autumn equinox, they are fated to be together, whether they want to or not. As their pairing day approaches they are both being prepared for their lives as future leaders and also, the hidden dangers that are slowly closing in around them.
Astrea is a fiesty red head who has been pushing against her destiny since she was able to and like many around her, she thinks she is unable and unsuitable for the role as First Leader. It is only as the novel progresses and new information comes to light that many start to believe that she can lead them. Personally, I have read a lot of YA books with this plot device (reluctant leader comes into their own and kicks ass) so I already have a good idea where this novel will be leading. What would be a new twist today would be a leader who is ready and prepared only to fall at the last hurdle. That is not to say that Astrea is a 2D character, this is far from the case. She is well developed at sixteen but still has plenty of room to grow later in the series. My only problem was her love interests.
Yet again a teenager has a form of insta-love (a pet hate of mine) and makes rash decisions based from this. Thankfully Thompson stops Astrea from repeating “I love you” to her mysterious boyfriend and instead has her question her feelings showing her to be more developed and guarded with these emotions. Unlike her boyfriend who experiences a serious case of insta-love.
The star sign aspect to the novel was an interesting addition. While I myself do not follow my star sign or its attributes it seems like a plausible idea for choosing a life partner. If it wasn’t using the star signs I would say this is more akin to a science fiction narrative where people are based upon their suitability to one another. And that is one thing that confused me about this novel, the use of the star signs set it in the genre of fantasy yet, the or environment and their past grounds it within science fiction. A combination that seems to go hand in hand.
While this is a good book it does have its niggles. The insta-love was one that grated on me but, I can forgive it for Atrea’a reaction.
There was a lot going on and nothing was being fully explained, as the main characters grappled to try and understand it so did I as a reader. While I can see that this is a set up for future novels some closure or more clarifying information would be preferable.
It was a long novel. At several points I thought that I had reached the end only for it to continue. This isn’t a particularly bad thing, there were just a lot of moments where the action died down and the novel slowed to a point of conclusion.
Nearly all of the characters are relatable, if not likeable. Lexan is a well tuned counterpoint to Astrea’s anger and more willing to sacrifice than she is. Stian (the boyfriend) is the annoying third wheel (despite being her boyfriend) who has most of the answers they seek. While the adults within the novel seem to either be hiding the truth or complacent as to what is happening.
The novel has a lot of promise, I enjoyed it and would recommend it if people asked about it but, there were too many unanswered questions for me to lose myself in it. I hope in the next book we are finally given some answers as to how they are meant to take control of their city.