Somehow I missed that The Argent Star is YA fiction until I recieved a copy from NetGalley (meaning I’m obliged to read it) and started in. The book has several events that require leaps of faith, something I see in YA more than in adult fiction, meaning that things just happen, gadgets just happen to be available and people just happen to be around when you need them.
The basic outline could be fleshed out into a fairly good novel: The Monarchy rules many star systems and has recently rediscovered the planet Novae and selected Ren’s father to be its new ruler. Ren is no dummy and figures this is not as simple and clean as everyone tells her it is, and soon discovers Novae rebels are not so happy with the Monarchy and Ren’s family taking over. There are hints of forerunner people and possible interesting back story elements but The Argent Star doesn’t explore them.
Ren is smart and a likable heroine who has a lot of common sense and the good taste to reject the suitor the Monarchy picked out for her. Unfortunately the plot doesn’t keep up with the characters as we have all sorts of events just happen that eventually set up Ren to negotiate with the Monarchy’s military leader for Novae’s independence.
Overall I think younger teens, say 12-15, would enjoy this, especially girls. Ren is far shrewder than her brother Elian and outwits the Monarchy a few times, making her someone that younger girls will like. The novel isn’t for adults.
I would rate The Argent Star 2 stars if rating for adults, but 3 stars for teens for whom Emerson Fray wrote the novel.