Monday 18 September 2023

A Dark Inheritance - H. F. Askwith

Once I had four brothers. Three of them are dead. I am next.

Felix Ashe is sure of only one thing. In thirty days, on his eighteenth birthday, he will die. He might be the only one convinced of this, but the gruesome deaths of his three brothers before him seem to point to only one thing: a curse, one doomed to stop anyone inheriting his family's incredible fortune.

Felix doesn't care about money, or himself, particularly. It's hard to have a stake in the future when you know you haven't got one. But he does care about his little brother Nick, very much. And when an opportunity to break the curse appears to present itself, it's impossible not to heed its dark call.

Soon long-buried secrets will take Felix to the darkest underbelly of Jazz-Age New York, to the far-flung wilds of the Yorkshire moors and back again. And bound to everything is a deadly secret society who will either be Felix's downfall . . . or his one chance at redemption.

What did I think?

I enjoy reading YA books now and again and I couldn’t resist the striking Art Deco cover of A Dark Inheritance, the debut novel of H. F. Askwith.

This is the story of Felix Ashe who is cursed to die on his 18th birthday.  Felix knows what’s coming because his three older brothers died on their 18th birthdays, but he’s not going to sit around and wait for the curse to claim him…he’s going to try to break it.

I was drawn into the book immediately as the countdown to Felix’s death begins and it really is one heck of a race against time.  Death, grief and anxiety are subjects that are explored within the book but I didn’t find it overly dark as Felix’s attempt to break the curse turns into a good versus evil adventure.  

I could feel the intense love that Felix has for his family and his anxiety is completely understandable; he’s not just worried about his own death, he’s worried about the same fate happening to his little brother.  As a natural worrier, I know firsthand how crippling anxiety can be but there’s a wise and hopeful message in the book: life may be short but the future isn’t yet written.

Thought-provoking and powerful, A Dark Inheritance is a very accomplished debut from H. F. Askwith.  Don’t be put off by it being in the YA genre, as it’s a dark and entertaining read for adults too.

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