Monday, August 16, 2010

The Heir of Night-Helen Lowe

The Heir of Night
Helen Lowe
Eos, Sep 28 2010, $7.99
ISBN 9780061734045

As the heir to the House of Night, Malian understands the eternal war between her people the Derai and the demonic Darkswarm. High in the frozen mountainous tundra of Haarth is the Wall of Night that has held back the demons, but since the Great Betrayal, the Nine Houses worshipping the nine gods of the Derai are a house divided leaving cracks in the defense.

Malian knows she has the blood oath to her House of Night, but many believe she is the prophesied One-To-Come who will unite the Houses at a time their squabbling will lead to breaches of the wall they defend. Yet in spite of the need for the One, many of the Derai oppose her as do the Darkswarm who want her dead. Exiled from her House, Malian with outcast Priest Kalan of the House of Blood and several locals led by Herald Jehane Mor seek the lost artifacts of legendary Yorindesarinen the Bright who as the Child of Stars died in combat when she killed the Worm of Chaos.

This is a superb coming of age quest fantasy as the heroine knows her calling, but also knows she does not want the responsibility of being the One and her reluctance to leave the shelter of home enables the reader to understand the youthful heroine. . Malian brings the freshness as her shoulders bend under the weight placed on her knowing that the idol she duplicates died in combat. With a deep look at Derai warrior culture of a people who accept honorable death as the norm, the Great Betrayal civil war has left rancor and distrust between the Houses as that went against the value system. Although the trek is somewhat sub-genre conventional, high school aged readers and older fans will enjoy accompanying Malian and her comrades across Haarth.

Harriet Klausner

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