Friday, October 22, 2010

Book Review: The Heir of Night by Helen Lowe

The Heir of Night by Helen Lowe
Publisher: HarperCollins (Eos)
Publication date: October 2010
ISBN: 9780061734045

Source: ARC provided by editor

The Heir of Night: The Wall of Night Book One

Malian has grown up in the Wall of Night, an impenetrable mountain range that protects the people on her side from the evil Darkswarm.  The Nine Houses of the Derai have been fighting against the Darkswarm since before they came to this world.  As the heir of the House of Night, Malian faces a future leading her people.  But, the bitter schism that is breaking up not only her house, but all of the Derai comes to a head when Darkswarm make their way deep into the heart of her home.  Will Malian have the strength to take up her destiny or will a traitor close to her heart defeat her before she has the chance? 

Things I Liked:
Reading this book was like delving into a complex, gorgeous history of a real people.  In the style of Lord of the Rings and reminiscent of Robin McKinley's fantasy works, this book contains so much depth and leaves you with a sense that even though it is over 400 pages long, the history of its people would fill volumes.  I love the epic fantasy feel of it, not to mention the beautiful way Lowe weaves her words together.  Even for some of the harder to picture fantasy creatures - the images were vivid and realistic.  I loved Malian, as a young girl just coming to understand how much responsibility she has and how hard it will be to bear up under it.  There were so many good things about this book that I can't even begin to name them all.  The many people who play a part in Malian's story are each so interesting, I want to know more about them as well.  I loved the tales of the Derai - Yorindesarinen and other warriors of the past.  It really kept reminding me of just how much I love complex, rich, high fantasy.  And this is that kind of fantasy at its best.  I highly recommend it.  I can't wait for the rest of the series!  Here are some favorite parts:

Most of the tapestry on the rear wall had decayed into shreds or been eaten by moths, but part of the central panel was still intact. The background was darkness, rimmed with fire, but the foreground was occupied by a figure in hacked and riven armour, confronting a creature that was as vast as the tapestry itself.  Its flat, serpentine head loomed out of the surrounding darkness, exuding menace, and its bulk was doom.  The figure of the hero, dwarfed beneath its shadow, looked overmatched and very much alone. p 5 of ARC
The bright figure of Yorindesarinen faded back into memory and Malian was no longer a hero of song and story, but a half-grown girl in grubby clothes.  Frowning, she smoothed her hands over her dark braid.  The hero Yorindesarinen, she thought, would not have been plagued with nurses when she was a girl; she would have been too busy learning hero craft and worm slaying. p 5 of ARC
"Well, I'm just an ordinary person," Malian protested.  "I'm not anyone special, a hero or an enchanter.  I'm just myself." 
"Just yourself," said Yorindesarinen musingly. "That can be a very large thing or a small one, depending on the person.  And what does it mean in your case?  Who are you, my dear? What is the sum of this ordinary self of yours?" p 144-145 of ARC
"Not all hero tales are the same, my Malian."
She paced restlessly, then paused to frown at the tapestry. "Are they not?" she said, speaking over her shoulder. "I thought they were, in their essential parts.  It's real life that twists and turns.  The hero tales are less...complicated." p312
Things I Didn't Like:
It really did take me a while to finish.  Sometimes I would get lost in the details and lose track of what was happening.  This is not a book to skip through lightly, but if you put in the time and effort, you will be rewarded.

Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Blue Sword and The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley
Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier
Thornspell by Helen Lowe

s-factor: none
that I recall

mrg-factor: none

v-factor: ->->->
lots of battles and some terrifying creatures, but it didn't seem graphic

Overall rating: *****

Are you an epic fantasy fan?

If you buy through my Amazon linkage, I will get a very small percentage


  1. I "must" get this book, especially since I really did enjoy Thornspell ...

  2. Oh, yes you should! Then come let me know what you thought.


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