Inherit the Stars by Tessa Elwood
Asa's family is in trouble. Tn their quest to secure food and sustainable fuel for their kingdom, Asa's family has accidentally poisoned yet another world and there is no time left before people start starving, right as they are so close to perfecting the technology they need. Asa's family can ally with one of the other houses to obtain supplies but Asa realizes that doing so puts her comatose older sister in danger. So Asa changes the wedding plans and weds House of Westlet's heir Eagle herself, not realizing that this complication will put even more strain on everyone.
I read this book on my kindle and not only was this book a shorter book, or so it felt, but I spent the first day I was reading it paging back to the very beginning to make sure I hadn't missed anything since I felt like I had accidentally picked up the middle book in a series. Inherit the Stars doesn't just drop you in media res, it feels as if it drops you into the end of things as Asa is having to abandon a yet another planet to a plague and her family has literally no hope left. Another thing that made me feel like I had started the story in the wrong place was the odd governing set-up in this story, as far as I can tell there are three families who all have their own little empires of multiple planets and yet none of these families seemed to have been ruling for generations and there's never any mention of people existing outside of these three warring states.
So, the set-up was a bit overly vague but ultimately the plot is pretty simple, it's an arranged marriage between two characters who aren't opposed to being together but are ultimately in this relationship because of what it brings them. Honestly by the end of the story I couldn't tell if Asa and Eagle liked each other romantically at all or if their's was still more of a secret-keepers relationship. Asa feels like such a young teen, with how her first instinct is to keep things a secret than to try and get any help, and Eagle remains closed off through the very end of the story so it was extra hard to tell, it was like watching two people live through a crisis without ever seeing how they would act if there was less stress.
In the end, plain romances aren't really my thing (which seems odd to say considering everything else going on in this story but the relationship was front and center) and the rest of the story felt just messy enough that I can't really recommend it. It's not a trainwreck or anything close, but it's not special either and with so many books out there I personally don't have a reason to read "non-special" books, whether that be a book with new ideas or a really good take on a cliche. Maybe I'll try that other Inherit the Stars book instead, although the premise for that one looked pretty bizarre....