Things We Inherit

A Novel

Fiction - Fantasy - Urban
314 Pages
Reviewed on 06/24/2023
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Emma Megan for Readers' Favorite

Joy Hayes was born to a mother with a drug addiction and a father she never met. Her mother was a sixteen-year-old when she had Joy. Mental illness was rampant on her mother’s side, and the women in her family were incredibly abusive. Thus, Joy witnessed an excess of violence throughout her childhood. At 22, Joy discovers she has a voice inside her head trying to talk to her. When she notices her voice materializing as a thin black mist that comes out of her mouth, she thinks she is going crazy. But the voice proves that it's real and part of her. Joy learns she can do great things and awful things as well. She starts fearing this new power as she can't always control it. Will Joy let her darkness and uncontrollable anger take control over her life? You can find out in Things We Inherit by Draven Aurora.

Things We Inherit is a profoundly sad, brutal, yet empowering story. It contains intense themes that some may find triggering. It cuts deep in portraying generational trauma and its impact on mental health and well-being. Draven Aurora has spun a haunting and darkly riveting novel of abuse, abandonment, neglect, repressed thoughts, sadness, anger, love, and loss. Draven brilliantly captured Joy's imperfect and damaged nature. This heart-wrenching novel will leave you breathless and sear itself into your memory. It deals with wanting justice, acceptance, and affection from others, being stuck in the hurt of the past, growing up poor and traumatized, sexism, and finding the courage to stand up for yourself.

Stephanie Chapman

Draven Aurora's novel The Things We Inherit features Joy Hayes, who discovers that she has a secret power. Joy was sitting at work with a headache and was annoyed when she heard the clock ticking. Angrily, she swore at the clock, and a voice echoed inside her head. A black mist escaped from her mouth, broke the clock, and re-entered her. While she was outside, she dropped her keys down a grate. Keith, a coworker, made a lewd comment about her. After arguing with him, the voice in her head asked her if she wanted help. The black mist had retrieved her keys. As time passed, Joy tested the power, which she named Buttercup. Joy's current life and childhood alternate with each chapter. The story shows where many of her insecurities came from and what led to her decisions in adulthood. What is Buttercup? How powerful is Buttercup?

Draven Aurora's painful story addresses generational trauma. Joy's mother failed to show her any affection and abandoned her together with her two younger siblings. Joy and her sister's life with her grandmother Sarah reinforced Joy's feelings of inadequacy. I felt the same empathy for Tom as she did. Sarah blamed Joy for her mother's addiction and suicide attempt, which destroyed any self-esteem she had left. Her best friend Ethan was a light that brought hope into the story. The playful dialogue they shared and the time they spent together were breaks in the darker periods Joy endured. The harm Buttercup could inflict made it seem demonic. I recommend The Things We Inherit to adult readers who enjoy paranormal stories that include dark topics like suicide, child abuse, and violence.

K.C. Finn

Things We Inherit is a work of fiction in the fantasy, psychological thriller, and interpersonal drama subgenres. It is best suited to mature teen and adult readers owing to themes of trauma, abuse, eating disorders, and the like. Penned by author Draven Aurora, we find ourselves following the difficult life of protagonist Joy Hayes, who has made it into young adulthood despite a slew of childhood traumas and a cancer fight. But just as she tries to get herself together, a voice in her head calling itself Buttercup gives her a taste of a wilder, darker side of life where she can get everything she desires.

Author Draven Aurora has crafted a deeply-involved psychological drama with plenty of dark fantasy twists, and it will certainly please readers seeking a deeply emotional narrative to sink their teeth into. One of the features of this novel that I was immensely impressed with was the author’s commitment to character development, which is best exemplified by Joy herself and her battle as a young woman to know who she truly is. The psychological aspects are woven delicately into every piece of dialogue, action, and the narrative view of how Joy experiences the world, making this a fascinating and poignant journey with a hero we grow to love and root for against all odds. In sharp contrast, Buttercup’s presentation and the theme of dark justice are delivered with a vibrant atmosphere and a well-paced plot that offers an inner demon storyline with a fresh, original approach. Overall, I would certainly recommend Things We Inherit for fantasy and psychological drama fans everywhere.