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An Heir to Thorns and Steel (Blood Ladders Trilogy, #1)
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An Heir to Thorns and Steel

(Blood Ladders Trilogy #1)

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  161 ratings  ·  30 reviews
Morgan Locke, university student, has been hiding his debilitating illness with fair enough success when two unlikely emissaries arrive bearing the news that he is prince to a nation of creatures out of folklore. Ridiculous! And yet, if magic exists...could it heal him? The ensuing journey will resurrect the forgotten griefs of history, and before it's over, all the world ...more
Kindle Edition, 352 pages
Published June 27th 2015 by Studio MCAH
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Average rating 3.83  · 
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I gave this up at 65%, because I just wasn't up for the cruelty.

I'll be honest: one reason I bought it was because of a review on Amazon by someone who really disliked how the main character had to deal with his chronic illness day after day after day. Well, that's how chronic illness works. It's hard, every day. And if that had been the only, or even the main, source of suffering in the book, I think I would have enjoyed the story. It's a fresh world; the editing is good (just one homonym erro
Kristen Burns
4 Stars

This is a high fantasy story about Morgan, a university student studying folklore and living with a disability that causes daily seizures, among other symptoms. Around the same time that his symptoms start worsening, he discovers the existence of elves, and, if the creatures that showed up in his house are to be believed, he himself might be an elf and a prince. Hoping to find a cure for his illness, he goes with them to the land of the elves. From there, he's given a quest, and he
Aug 06, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
An Heir to Thorns and Steel is an interesting book, though it suffers from being a prelude to a series and from an obvious lack of editing*.
The setting is original, clashing (very american) post-revolutionary politics and fairy tales through Victorian gothic novels and quite a bit of anime. Not an usual mix. The plot, though, as the main character makes sure we know, is pretty folktale-ish. A traditional fantasy, in which our hero is a lost prince, heir to a kingdom of unimaginable magics and, o
Nov 02, 2015 rated it liked it
This book somehow manages to feel like a portal fantasy despite being entirely secondary-world...the university 19th century-ish setting of the first section felt entirely removed from the more feudal setting of the last two thirds or so, and the transition gave me a little bit of whiplash. I'm also not sure that I believe the elves could be totally unknown to humans when their archipelago is not that far away -- there's even trade with the humans!

The fairy-tale plot was interesting enough, thou
Jun 10, 2019 rated it liked it
I listened to narrated version by Philip Battley - he's a very good narrator.

This is my first experience with Hogarth, who apparently has quite a following. She writes well, and clearly, and this story is reasonably unique - a disabled university student in an alternate regency England with magic - who finds out his disability is due to a connection with elves and magic and demons.

The CONSTANT repetition of daily pain, vomiting and seizures of the main character, Morgan Locke, who is otherwise q
Dec 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Like all of Hogarth's books that I've read so far this contained enough unsettling (and occasionally downright horrifying) content that I don't think I could recommend it casually. It's beautifully written though, and I'm eager to read the next one to find out what happens, so if I know someone well enough I will definitely be shoving this book at them.
Scott Ruggels
May 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
What started off feeling like almost a Regency novel, became something else. Not a bad thing. But it introduced a world where people denied the past, to start anew.... until the past started to pick at our characters. Full of amiable characters and witty banter, this is a very non-treaditional fantasy story.
Feb 19, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy, magic
I thought this was okay but not as engaging as the author's sci-fi series.
Jul 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, audio
Well done all around. I enjoyed the fae lore, as well as the strong political feelings of the MC who had to re-examine those feelings and his willingness to do so. It definitely left me wanting to jump right in to the next, which I'm going to do right now.
Jun 26, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: not-my-thing
I finished this after having put it down for many months.

It was not my cup of tea.

The author's work in general is not my cup of tea. I was impressed with the setup and the free sample and honestly bought the book before I realized who had written it, and then when it went... how it went, it was too late.

It's not terrible or anything. The writing is elegant (honestly kind of too elegant after a while; it's like so much thick draped velvet and gets a bit ridiculous) and elements of the plot are in
Nov 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book filled a need I didn't realize I had. I really appreciated being able to read a fantasy in which the protagonist is a scholar and suffers from debilitating pain and illness. When you have a chronic illness, often your world shrinks. Morgan Locke was experiencing that at the start of Heir, and then he received his invitation to the hero's journey. Part of his transformation involved using strengths that he had developed while dealing with his illness. I found that very inspiring.

Aside f
Lost in Words
Sep 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
Angels and demons...and elves?

For those of you whom read this book well, the beginning is agonizing in its slow staging- which I am not convinced was really necessary. Furthermore, in reading you will realize the slow agony is almost as bad as the main character detailing his own pain...repeatedly. If however you can hang in there to get two-thirds through, you will find a fascinating and wholly original magical world with surprising depth. The author mixes wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy
Denae Christine
Oct 02, 2015 rated it it was ok
Raw, gory and vulgar and painful

Grad student researching elves in folklore finds out he is an elf, but elves are more like vampires here, and there are demons trying to tear the world apart and elves are supposed to stop them, except only the king and prince can stop them. However, the king has been missing, and the prince of the elves thinks he is a human grad student. Aha.
Oh, and he is cursed to have pain and seizures and immortality and human-like compassion. What do you know, growing up with
Jul 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A Favorite Series

Fantasy takes off when the very human scholar, Morgan Locke attempts to continue his research into Folklore and Mythology despite crippling seizures. Of course elves, demons, dragons and angels don't really exsist, but represent knowledge imparted through stories. Boy, is he wrong. And maybe Morgan isn't who he thinks either.

Absolutely great start to a series that features a hero on the edge. Hogarth always come up with unique universes and stories as her damaged hero's and her
Rosalind M
May 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
3.75 stars. There are several moment when the characters lapse into conversation that would have been better served by more active interaction rather than a static exchange of philosophies. Also, the "disguise" scene at the inn made me really uncomfortable-- I spent the rest of the book thinking about how needlessly tarnished his reputation would be back home, even though what bystanders believed wasn't true. I wish there had been another choice to move the storyline forward because I couldn't l ...more
J.F.R. Coates
Jul 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I've never really known a main character like Morgan Locke. For one it's quite rare to see a protagonist with such a debilitating illness as his, and this adds a lot of depth to his character.
The world is pretty special too and well thought out (a few inconsistencies perhaps with how widespread knowledge of the elves are).

And can I have a genet? Those things are utterly adorable.
Sep 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book is not a thrill-ride. Nor is it a romance. It is a slow, steady building, like water dripping into a cup. That's not to say there are not moments of horror, of joy, or dread and battle. Just that they all gain momentum until they pull you with them, inexorable to the end.

I cannot wait to read book 2!
K Fray
Aug 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own-ebook
Having spent as much time as I have in Hogarth's Pelted universe, stepping outside of it--no matter how sure I am of her talent--is a little unnerving. The Blood Ladders trilogy is definitely not the Peltedverse, and AN HEIR TO THORNS AND STEEL is book one of Morgan Locke's adventure into worlds he truly never believed to be completely real.

Morgan Locke is a student at Leigh University, studying philosophy and ancient legends. It's a prestigious school, and not one where any type of weakness is
Kara Baylog
Aug 29, 2019 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 11, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: magicians, fantasy
Hogarth is a solid writer, and I've enjoyed her other works a great deal, but this one wasn't quite for me. The disparate elements (vaguely Regency-ish university in a secondary world; vampiric elves in an isolated island chain a shockingly short sea voyage from the Regency university; a slave race of furries; some very odd ... romance?) never quite gelled for me into a coherent whole. Please note! I am not saying one can't take an odd mish-mash of elements and make them work together, but the t ...more
kay adey
Dec 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Teamwork and an Unlikely Hero

The cover artwork initially put me off but I was very glad that I decided to read this book as I found it difficult to put down. The characters are well crafted and it has humour, pathos, excitement, danger and a few twists and turns that come out of nowhere. Already have the second book ready to go.
Jun 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Audiobook - Narrated by Philip Battley

Acquired via Chirp.

A fabulous tale with equally fabulous narration. The fantasy was fresh and no-holds-barred. I liked it so much I also picked up the trilogy in ebook format.

Bethany Kok
This is a difficult book to read. The portrayal of chronic illness is just too accurate, and the underlying mythology is intensely bleak.
Aug 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
maybe 4.5 stars. I wasn't sure what to expect going in, but I really enjoyed this book.
eugene schmitz
Dec 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
First book series I have read by M.C.A. and I must say it was a good experience. The series was interesting and while it started slow, I would suggest reading all three books.
Jun 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I'm so happy to know that all the books in this trilogy are already out!! I literally devoured this one and am reading "By Vow and Royal Bloodshed" right now and I fear I'll be done with this story too soon...they're great! :)) I can't put my kindle down :)
Helen M. Whitchurch
Jul 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
Well done

If this has a fault it is so much preparation for trilogy hurts ability to stand alone. Great author, recommend all works.Very well done viewpoint of person dealing with painful chronic illness, makes hero believable.
Jessica Roberts
Mar 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
It's a unique concept .... Fairies vs. Demons

I really liked the University setting best. Here's to hoping we see more of it in the next books in the series.
Jan 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed the meta level folklorists living folklore aspect of this book as well as the protagonist with a chronic illness.
Aug 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: indie
In which Morgan finds out he's far more of a royalist than he originally planned.
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Daughter of two Cuban political exiles, M.C.A. Hogarth was born a foreigner in the American melting pot and has had a fascination for the gaps in cultures and the bridges that span them ever since. She has been many things—-web database architect, product manager, technical writer and massage therapist—-but is currently a full-time parent, artist, writer and anthropologist to aliens, both human an ...more

Other books in the series

Blood Ladders Trilogy (3 books)
  • By Vow and Royal Bloodshed (Blood Ladders Trilogy Book 2)
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