Laura Summers's Reviews > The Heir of Night

The Heir of Night by Helen Lowe
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Feb 05, 2011

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bookshelves: bcc-received, fantasy, read-in-2011, bcc-reviewed
Read from February 12 to 20, 2011

Reviewed for www.bookchickcity.com (7 out of 10 on the blog)

'The Heir of Night' is the first in a new four part fantasy series. The Derai live on the edge of the world, charged with guarding 'The Wall' against the ancient and terrifying Swarm. A ferocious, demonic race.

The Derai are an uncompromising people, ruled by tough rules and routine. But their task is such a hard one, they dare not deviate from the way of life that has been followed for hundreds of years. For, legend claims that if the House of Night falls, the rest of the world will follow. Victims to the Darkswarm.

Thirteen year old Malian is the Heir of Night, daughter to the Earl of Night and as his only child and successor is destined to rule the Derai after his demise. A daunting task for any child to comprehend, but Malian embraces her future with relish, longing for adventure.

By contrast our other main character is Kalan. Kalan is from a noble warrior family, but when is family discovered he has magic they disowned him, turning him over to be trained as a priest of the Temple of Night. For in the Derai magic and warriors do not mix.

This is a book about destinies, bravery and hard choices. When after years of silence the Darkswarm rise again, it becomes evident that the Derai are no longer strong enough. A lot of the old ways and magics have been lost with time. And suddenly the fate of both a race and the world may potentially rest on the shoulders of two children - Malian and Kalan. But they are surrounded with suspicion, untrained and in terrible danger.

The first few pages take quite a bit of concentration, as there is so much world building and past to take in. It was one of those books where you occasionally have to pause as reread the previous paragraph in order to make sure you have understood it correctly.

I really engaged with the characters. They are complex and intriguing. Take Malian's father as an example, a tough and scrupulous man, strict to the point of brutal. He makes decisions that you can't quite comprehend and yet is softened by his love both Malian and his non Derai girlfriend Rowan.

Those of you that struggle with dream sequences, may struggle with this book as there are a lot of them. As Malian and Kalan discover the ability to enter the dream world and converse with legendary warriors of the past and mythical beings. A lot of the plot moves forward through these passages.

My one big criticism of this novel, is that it very much feels as though it's setting up the rest of the story and subsequent novels. It's about setting the scene and while still enjoyable, did feel slightly incomplete.

VERDICT:

An interesting and promising start to a new fantasy series. With great characters, I really enjoy stories about destinies and look forward to seeing who Malian and Kalan become. I also have teensy hopes of a potential love story there too.
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