Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Griffin’s Flight -K J Taylor

The Griffin’s Flight
K J Taylor
Ace, Jan 25 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9780441019977

As the victim of de facto racism Arren Cardockson knew first hand being the son of a Northerner slave, his “peers” who rule Cymria would never accept him as their equal in spite of his bonding with Eluna the griffin. Eluna dies while on a mission, but grieving and filled with guilt Arren still bonds with the rogue Dark Griffin. However those who loathed the upstart slave betray him by arranging his death.

Stunningly he returns from the dead though Arren cannot understand how. He knows staying means suicide, but he needs to avenge his death before fleeing the area. With the human-eating Skandar the Dark Griffin helping Arren, he murders those who murdered him. Dubbed the serial killing Mad Northerner, the griffiner-powers who run Cymria hunt for him declaring Arren an outlaw sentenced to immediate death. The rogue pair flees for Arren’s homeland in the northern tundra where he hopes to learn more about his ancestry and a cure for his heartless curse. He meets Skade, who portrays a less than rosy view of his countrymen.

This is a strong complex fantasy thriller that still focuses on one man’s rise and fall as did the previous Fallen Moon saga, The Dark Griffin, but filled with more viewpoints and a vaster deeper look at Cymria. For instance Skade paints a radically different Northern lands in which amoral killers exist like in Cymria. Adding to the sense of soaring over the Taylor landscape is the emotional separation the fully developed protagonist and his equally complete comrade are from the audience affirming his frozen roots yet readers will believe in humans riding griffins. Complicated with several terrific twists that turn the story line and ergo Arren (and the reader) upside down, The Griffin’s Flight is an entertaining plot driven tale.

Harriet Klausner

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